With hits like the ‘Night at the Museum’ series and the ‘Madagascar’ franchise, Ben Stiller has seen his share of box-office successes. However, not every film has been a home run. Today, we delve into some of Stiller’s lesser accomplishments — films that didn’t hit the mark either critically, commercially, or both.
5. Fresh Horses
One of Stiller’s earliest film roles was in ‘Fresh Horses,’ where he played a relatively minor character. The film failed to impress critics — holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on just six reviews and is rated 5.0 on IMDb. Michael Wilmington, writing for the Los Angeles Times, mentioned that the ‘movie refuses to jell,’ despite praising the film’s dialogue and cinematography. On the financial front, the movie made only $6,640,346 domestically, which was insufficient to recoup its $14 million budget.
4. Black And White
Before he became a household name, Stiller took on a role in ‘Black And White,’ a film that also featured Jared Leto and Robert Downey Jr. Despite its star-studded cast, the film received almost universally negative reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it sits at a 38% approval rating based on 82 reviews, and its Metacritic score is a lackluster 47%. On the other hand, the film’s IMDb rating is 5.0. In the United States, the film made a mere $5,241,315 during its four-week release.
Released in 2004, ‘Envy’ paired Stiller with Jack Black. Unfortunately, the collaboration didn’t pay off. The film is rated 4.8 on IMDb, has an 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 117 reviews, and has a Metacritic score of 31. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of ‘D.’ The film was also a financial disappointment, failing to resonate with box-office audiences. Additionally, Stiller was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actor for his role in this film.
2. Zoolander 2
After the moderate success of ‘Zoolander’ in 2001, Stiller reprised his role 15 years later in ‘Zoolander 2.’ The sequel, however, failed to replicate the charm of the original and received negative reviews across the board. It holds a 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 232 reviews, is rated 6.5 on IMDb, and has a Metacritic score of 34. On the financial front, the film had a budget of $50 million and grossed only $56.7 million worldwide. In a 2022 interview with Esquire, Stiller himself expressed relief that the film didn’t succeed, as it allowed him to focus on other projects.
1. The Marc Pease Experience
Released in 2009, ‘The Marc Pease Experience’ was a box-office disaster, grossing only $390,584 worldwide. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an 18% approval rating based on 11 reviews, and on IMDb, it has a 4.0 rating. The A.V. Club’s Nathan Rabin said the film was ‘a regrettable little nothing.’