Here's Why Will Ferrell Turned Down An Elf Sequel

"Elf" is nothing short of a Christmas miracle. It's rare that a new holiday comedy becomes a modern classic, but the film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Will Ferrell is so beloved that it now runs for 24 hours every single holiday season, following in the footsteps of "A Christmas Story." That kind of love has many fans wanting to see a sequel, no matter how much it threatens to sully the charm of the original. Thankfully, Will Ferrell doesn't want to ruin the magic that comes from "Elf," and he turned down a huge paycheck to make a half-hearted follow-up for one very good reason.

Will Ferrell Didn't Want an Easy Paycheck

"Elf" became a hit with both critics and audiences, making over $220 million in its initial theatrical run. Another $3 million has been added in repertory screenings around the holidays over the past few years, and it's a holiday favorite on cable throughout November and December. So it's no surprise that New Line Cinema wanted to get a sequel off the ground. 

Back in 2013, there was said to be a sequel in the works called "Elf 2: Buddy Saves Christmas." Though Jon Favreau was interested in the possibility, Will Ferrell was reluctant to get anyone's hopes up. Shortly after that news surfaced, the former "Saturday Night Live" cast member appeared on "Watch What Happens Live" and said, "I just think it would look slightly pathetic if I tried to squeeze back in the elf tights: Buddy the middle-aged elf."

However, Ferrell has gotten a little more specific when it comes to his reason for turning down the chance to star in a "Elf" sequel. The "Talladega Nights" star could have landed himself a $29 million paycheck to star in the sequel but he couldn't help but feel like it tread too much of the same territory as the first one. In a recent profile, Ferrell told The Hollywood Reporter:

"I would have had to promote the movie from an honest place, which would've been, like, 'Oh no, it's not good. I just couldn't turn down that much money.' And I thought, 'Can I actually say those words? I don't think I can, so I guess I can't do the movie.'"

It takes real integrity to turn down that big a paycheck, especially when you're basically making the same movie again. But look at what happened with "The Santa Clause" and "Home Alone." Diminishing returns and worse movies followed their predecessors. Ferrell is all too familiar with fan expectations and "disappointing" follow-ups, thanks to "Anchorman: The Legend Continues." Though I'd personally disagree with the masses and find the sequel to be rather satisfying, many would argue the absurd sequel to "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" was too little too late after a 10-year wait . That would undoubtedly be the fate of "Elf 2" nearly 20 years later. So we'll just have to wait for the next great holiday comedy. Sit down, "Home Sweet Home Alone."