Ron Burgundy's dog, as everyone surely knows, is a miniature Buddha covered in hair. What would that lovable pooch say if we rubbed his belly and asked him to predict the chances of a sequel to "Anchorman," the 2004 Will Ferrell-starring comedy about '70s-era San Diego's most dashing local broadcaster? Talk of "Anchorman 2" has not exactly been the stuff of hard news, but as MTV News has exclusively learned, the project is not only a reality but was all set to ramp up until it hit a budgetary snag. Burgundy's doggy might now respond, "Who knows?"
[movie id="238438"]"Anchorman"[/movie] director and co-writer Adam McKay told us that all the major castmembers are set to return -- including Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate and David Koechner -- and that he and Ferrell had a timeline set up in which to write the script in the fall and shoot it early in 2011. But the film is now far from a sure thing at this point, as they've been unable to agree to a budget with Paramount.
"We had an idea and we contacted Steve and Paul and Koechner and Christina and checked in with everyone and they were all game for it," McKay said. "The stage we're at now is talking to Paramount and trying to get the money to do it. It's a tricky movie because everyone went and did really well after it, so everyone's prices went up and everyone's time got a little more valuable. But at the same time, graciously, Steve and Paul and everyone agreed to cut their price to come and do it, which you don't see very often in Hollywood -- and cut their price substantially. But even with that, it's just a budgetary thing with Paramount in terms of how much they'll give us to make it."
The sticking point is that "Anchorman" did well -- but with an $85 million domestic haul, not extraordinarily well at the box office. Where the movie's popularity took off was on DVD and cable. With the economy still in a pinch and the DVD market slumping, studios are hesitant to fork over big bucks for uncertain box-office returns and a reliance on DVD sales. But as McKay points out, there's a history in Hollywood of so-so first films yielding big returns during a sequel.
" 'Austin Powers' didn't make a ton of movie in its first go-round and then it caught fire in the next one," he said. "We're hoping they'll look more at that sort of projection."
Without an agreement on a budget in place, McKay is unsure if they'll be able to stick to their planned schedule. "We'd write it in the fall and start getting ready by February," McKay said, going on to note that he's no longer sure if that will happen.
If and when "Anchorman 2" does move forward, however, McKay and Ferrell plan to stick to their original idea of setting the film in the '80s -- albeit with a mysterious twist.
"That's loosely what the idea is," McKay said of the '80s plot. "That's more the frame of it. We have this other, bigger, crazier idea that's really more what it's about, which I can't say. Our thinking was there's just no way the second one is going to be as good as the first, because the first one is the first one. So our idea is if we're going to do a second one, we better go for it and try some insane stuff and we'll be enjoying it and that way it can't be half bad."
Are you looking forward to a sequel to "Anchorman"? Let us know in the comments below!
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more -- updated around the clock -- visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.