One could only imagine the amount of pressure there must be on the children of established Hollywood actors to take up the mantle of entertainment or veer off into pursuing some other passion. But for actor, comedian, and filmmaker Ben Stiller, deciding to become an actor was a no-brainer, especially since he’s gotten the acting bug directly from his father, Jerry Stiller, and his mother, Anne Meara.
However, having a father as a famous Hollywood actor didn’t make his initiation into the entertainment industry any less tasking. Stiller experienced his fair share of rejection before finding any real success, and it would take some time before he would be regarded as a member of the Frat Pack, a group of comedians consisting of Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, The 40 Year Old Virgin’s Steve Carell, Jack Black, Paul Rudd, and Vince Vaughn. But apart from the long list of movies he has starred in, Stiller always wanted to be a producer. So here are 10 of the highest-grossing films produced by Ben Stiller.
9 Megamind – $321.8 Million
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It always seems as though Hollywood’s biggest celebrities, both male and female, can simply lend their voice to a computer-animated film and, if their live-action films suffering to make bank at the box office, they suddenly make a killing! Ben Stiller knows this all too well with the Madagascar film franchise where he plays the lead character, Alex the lion, alongside comedian Chris Rock, which grossed over $2.2 billion to date. He almost did the same with the 2010 computer-animated superhero comedy, Megamind. Although the lead role of the supervillain Megamind was given to fellow Frat Pack member, Will Ferrell, it’s suggested that Stiller was supposed to be cast in his place, as well as Robert Downey Jr. Stiller was instead cast in a minor role in the film, but became the executive producer of the movie, along with his business partner Stuart Cornfeld. The film went on to gross $321.8 million at the box office.
8 Tropic Thunder – $191 Million
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Although Stiller had set his eyes on acting and entertainment from an early age, landing his acting debut at just nine years old, according to Celebrity Net Worth, his true passion was in the production seat. Early in his career, he began producing impressive “mockumentaries” that would catch the attention of established corporations like Saturday Night Live (SNL) and MTV. But in 2008,. he took it a step further by directing and producing the satirical action comedy film, Tropic Thunder, for which he also played the lead character. The film was shot on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i in 2007 and also includes A-list actors such as Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Nick Nolte, comedian Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Matthew McConaughey, as well as various cameo appearances from celebrities like Tyra Banks, Spider-Man’s Tobey McGuire, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jon Voight, and many others. Against a budget of $92 million, it became a box office success grossing $191 million globally.
7 The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty – $187.86 Million
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Ben Stiller yet again wore multiple hats in the 2013 adventure comedy-drama, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, in which he played the lead character, co-producer, and director. The film is actually the second film adaptation of James Thurber’s 1939 short story of the same name and also co-stars actress and comedian Kristen Wiig, who plays the role of Cheryl Melhoff, the co-worker and love interest of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller). Mitty is a negative assets manager at Life magazine and leads a monotonous life while living alone in New York City. Mitty works closely with a photojournalist named Sean O’Connell, played by acting legend Sean Penn, and his mundane life is flipped upside down when he goes on a journey to retrieve a negative roll from Sean that will be used for the publication’s final print. The film grossed $187.86 million at the global box office.
6 Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story – $167.86 Million
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It’s rare that we find Ben Stiller, during any time in his career, playing the role of a villain in a movie. But in the 2004 sports comedy film, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, he does it to perfection alongside fellow actor and comedian Vince Vaughn. Stiller was yet again on the production team while simultaneously playing the role of White Goodman, the arrogant owner of Globo Gym and bitter rival to the Average Joe’s gym next door, owned by Peter LaFleur, played by Vince Vaughn. Recognizing its low gym membership and staffing, Goodman decides to purchase the run down building with plans of demolishing it and erecting a luxury garage for his patrons unless Peter can raise $50,000 in 30 days. When one of Peter’s loyal customers, Gordon, suggests entering a dodgeball competition with a grand prize of $50,000 for the winner, Goodman also decides to form his own dodgeball team. And after getting his attorney, Katherine (Christine Taylor) fired from her job, she vengefully joins Peter’s team. The film grossed $167.79 million against a $20 million budget.
5 Blades Of Glory – $145.59 Million
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Even if Ben Stiller doesn’t show his face in a movie, you’ll know he produced or directed it by the distinct quality of satirical humor laced throughout the entire film. The sports comedy, Blades of Glory, stars Frat Pack comedian Will Ferrell as Chazz Michael Michaels, an adept single skater with a terrible sex addiction problem. His skills are equally matched by that of Jimmy MacElroy, played by Jon Heder, who is an effeminate and sheltered skater adopted by a wealthy man named Darren MacElroy (William Fichtner). Both Chazz and Jimmy tie for gold at the 2002 World Winter Sports Games, which results in an argument that escalates into a fight, causing them to be stripped of their medals and banned from competitive skating forever. But if they hope to skate again, they must compete in pair skating as partners, unwillingly! The film grossed $145.59 million globally.
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4 Why Him? – $117.4 Million
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In the same way that styles make fights in boxing, collaborating comedians make masterpieces in the film industry, and the 2016 buddy comedy film Why Him? was a prime example of the success that can be had when comedian from different ages and eras come together on a movie project. Stiller stay off the screen and on the production team alongside film director, producer, and actor Shawn Levy, and Dan Levine. Superbad’s Jonah Hill was also not only a co-producer but also the director of the movie. The main characters include Hollywood actor James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, and Cedric the Entertainer. The gross earnings at the box office more than doubled its budget spending with a total of $117.4 million worldwide.
3 The Cable Guy – $102.8 Million
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Without a doubt, this is the movie that got Ben Stiller on the map as a force to be reckoned with as an actor and a director. The Cable Guy wasn’t his directorial debut, but it definitely did better than any he did previously. Released in 1996, the film surrounds the overly intrusive personality of a cable installer named Ernie “Chip” Douglas, played by the legend himself – Jim Carrey – into the life of Steven Kovacs, played by Matthew Broderick. After a failed proposal to his girlfriend, Robin Harris (Leslie Mann), Steven moves into an apartment where he bribes Chip into giving him free movie channels. But as the two spend more time together, Chip becomes obsessed with their friendship and even assaults the Robin’s new date, played by comedian Owen Wilson, in order to have her return to Steven. Upon learning of his actions, Steven ends their friendship. But that only marks the beginning of Chip’s vengeance. The film grossed $102.8 million at the box office.
2 Zoolander – $60.7 Million
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Following the success of The Cable Guy in 1996, Stiller’s next directorial project would be the 2001 comedy film, Zoolander. For this movie, he collaborated again with two of his close friends from the Frat Pack, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell. Ben’s father, Jerry Stiller, also made an appearance in the movie as the agent for Derek Zoolander, enacted by Ben Stiller. Other main actors also include Christine Taylor, legendary actor Jon Voight, Vince Vaughn, and David Duchovny. Against a budget of $28 million, the film became a box office success, grossing $60.7 million worldwide and spawning a sequel fifteen years later.
1 Zoolander 2 – $55.3 Million
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One of Stiller’s most recent directorial projects was Zoolander 2 which was released in 2016. Following the success of the first movie installment in 2001, this second film would either be a make or break for Stiller’s franchise. The action-comedy featured many of the same main actors form the first movie, such as Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Resident Evil’s Milla Jovovich, and Ben Stiller himself. But this most recent film included a few other popular Hollywood names such a Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wiig, along with a slew of other cameo appearances from celebrities like singer/songwriter Katy Perry, fashion designer mogul Tommy Hilfiger, Canadian R&B/pop singer Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and even rapper ASAP Rocky. However, despite the prestigious appearances, the movie bombed at the box office, grossing only $55.3 million against a $50 million budget.
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Sources: Celebrity Net Worth, The Guardian, Hollywood In Toto, The New York Times
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