“Free screening of Anchorman 2 this Tuesday!” As a film fan, hearing someone scream that outside a movie theater is like being invited to the ultimate event. As a film journalist, it’s the opposite, because you can’t attend. (Test screenings are typically closed to press.) Last week, I was in Burbank, CA attending a press screening of the awesome horror film You’re Next when I heard someone say those beautiful words. I didn’t follow up because I’d be stopped at the door. But lots of other people went to the show, and today we have our first reactions to Adam McKay‘s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
Those reactions are decidedly mixed but, with a film from this team, that’s nothing to be worried about just yet. Test screenings are literally used as part of the filmmaking process. McKay and producer Judd Apatow use audience reactions to early versions of the film to fine tune jokes, insert alternate line readings and change the pacing of the film. So things that didn’t work in Burbank, CA could very well be changed. Read some reactions below.
Here are a selection of tweets that people in the screening posted ranging from very excited to very dismissive.
So anchorman 2 made the original anchorman look stupid. That's all I'm saying.
— Dan Okopnyi (@d1rtydan) August 21, 2013
Just came back from a test screening of "Anchorman 2". Can't say anything spoilery but all ill say is: "it's pretty damn funny!
— Johnny D! (@TheRealJohnny_D) August 21, 2013
Just saw Anchorman 2! Outlandish and hilarious!! And… Judd Apatow was there http://t.co/qr3ZOu9U7T
— David Lee Jensen (@davidleejensen) August 21, 2013
Caught a screening of Anchorman 2. The series stays classy.
— Mike Effenberger (@meffenber) August 21, 2013
Anchorman 2 was everything I expected and more. Definitely lives up to the first one with way more surprises.
— Tomas Gonzalez (@Tamasbean) August 21, 2013
Anchorman 2 pre screening… So many black jokes ????
— Kevin Tiqui (@Ktiqs) August 21, 2013
I just saw a screening of Anchorman 2 and i'll tell you they did not screw it up. Just as outrageous and riotously funny as the first.
— Albert Malafronte (@albiedamned) August 21, 2013
— Terrence Edmonds (@TerrenceEdmonds) August 21, 2013
Anchorman 2- funniest movie ever.
— wumbo (@posedtortilla) August 21, 2013
A few things to remember about all of this. First up, like I said, any film by McKay or Apatow is likely to play fast and loose with the test screening process and follow-up editing. Both men were in attendance and will probably start recutting the film today to screen it again next week. That’s just how it works. Plus, production ended in May and the film isn’t out until December. There’s still plenty of time to fine-tune.
Second, these reactions are from random people on Twitter. Their opinions or levels of tolerance for certain kinds of humor are wildly unpredictable. That doesn’t make them any less valid, just harder to trust without context.
Those things said, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is probably right where it wants to be. Funny to most, offensive to others, and terrible to a few. Sounds like the first film in a lot of ways and this one still has four months left of work.