Next Friday, for one week, Paramount is set to release a new, longer version of last December's Anchorman 2 with hundreds of new jokes. The approach is described as "the movie equivalent of blood replacement therapy."
Because of the film's largely improvisational style and production, director Adam McKay told The New York Times, "We started talking and realized, we can replace every single joke in the movie with another joke." That is, by McKay's calculation, 763 new punchlines or 95 percent new material thanks to a myriad of alternate takes.
The new cut of the film has earned an R rating, as opposed to the original's PG-13, making it more mature or less mature depending on your perspective. It will also be twenty minutes longer than the previous cut's two-hour running time, and has thus been named Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Super-Sized R-Rated Version.
Ferrell spoke about the release last night on The Tonight Show:
Originally the movie was four hours long, and they played around with the idea of splitting it into two movies. But that didn't really work so we just had a second editor working the whole time with alternative jokes. It's the same movie, it's 20 minutes longer, there's a musical number we had to cut from the original one, little treats like that."
While the theatrical release is new, the alternate film idea is not. The original Anchorman also had its own companion, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy!, cobbled together from alternate takes and a subplot that was entirely excised from the final film. It even had a bit part from Amy Poehler, who finally made it into the sequel proper.