Columbia Pictures put an end this week to growing speculation surrounding a potential sequel to the 2011 film “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star.”
“Columbia Pictures has no immediate or future plans to produce a ‘Bucky Larson’ sequel,” said Columbia president Doug Rosenblum in a statement released Monday. “Frankly, I’m shocked such speculation even exists given the initial film’s dismal box office performance and universally poor critical reception.”
The original film, which starred such Hollywood notables as Nick Swardson, Christina Ricci and Don Johnson, focused on a buck-toothed and slow-witted small-town man’s quest to follow in his parents’ adult film footsteps. Upon discovering that his now-conservative parents were adult film stars in the 1970s, Larson (Swardson) soon moves from Iowa to Hollywood, ultimately achieving stardom in spite of his unimpressive physical endowments.
Despite a relatively sizable budget of $10 million and distribution to roughly 1,500 screens across the United States, “Bucky” grossed just over $2.3 million domestically. Industry insiders trace that failure to numerous factors, including a poor script, equally poor performances and a historically harsh critical reception, including a rare 0% approval rating from the more than 30 critics whose reviews were shared on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
In his review of the film for the New York Times, noted critic A.O. Scott wrote, “Let me put the matter another way: this may be the worst movie Pauly Shore has ever been in. Think about that.”
Critical responses such as Scott’s apparently did little to discourage speculation about a possible “Bucky” sequel, conjecture that Rosenblum characterizes as “highly impractical.” Beginning in early 2013, posts hinting at a “Bucky” sequel began appearing on numerous online forums, including the popular entertainment and social networking service Reddit, where so-called “Larsonists” stoked seemingly unfounded rumors and even started a petition aimed at taking advantage of U.S. President Barack Obama’s online petition program. That program, started in 2011 as a means to provide Americans a chance to drum up support for their causes, now requires President Obama to officially respond to any petition that gains 100,000 signatures or more. The Larsonist petition, which began in March 2013 and implores President Obama to incentivize or even pressure Columbia Pictures into producing a “Bucky” sequel, has thus far gained just 11 signatures, three of which appear to be duplicates.
That the petition was even produced surprises longtime industry insider Jack Merrick, who admits to harboring suspicions about the petition’s authors.
“I’ve been in this business for more than 50 years, and it’s been a long time since I put my ear to the ground and heard any buzz about a Happy Madison picture,” Merrick said, citing the Adam Sandler-owned production company responsible for producing “Bucky.” “I read the petition and it’s just as ill-conceived and poorly written as ‘Bucky Larson’ was, so you don’t need to be Neil deGrasse Tyson to put two and two together and figure out who’s behind that request.”
Merrick’s skepticism of the Larsonist petition is not an aberration, as many Reddit users also chimed in to question if the petition was a legitimate appeal for presidential action or merely another of the many jokes told at the wildly unpopular film’s expense.
“This petition’s a hoax, right?” asked Reddit user BilboShaggins69. “If not, is there a petition to get Obama to destroy all copies of this piece of shit? And if so, where do I sign?”