Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
is a comedy film
which was released on July 9
. It was written
by Will Ferrell
and Adam McKay
. The film is a tongue-in-cheek
take on the culture of the 1970s, particularly the then-new Action News
television-program format. It portrays a San Diego
TV station where one female reporter (Christina Applegate
) struggles to become the first "Anchorwoman".
The film made USD $28.4 million in its opening weekend, and $90.5 million worldwide in its total theatrical run. A companion film assembled from outtakes and abandoned subplots, titled Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, was released straight-to-DVD in late 2004. In 2008, it was confirmed that a sequel to Anchorman is in the planning stages.
Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell
) is San Diego's finest anchorman
. He works along with his friends and co-reporters Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd
), who works as the lead field reporter, sports
reporter Champion "Champ" Kind (David Koechner
), and weatherman
Brick Tamland (Steve Carell
) at Channel 4 News. After a successful day of work, the team is notified their show has reached No. 1 in San Diego ratings, leading them to throw a wild party
(even though Garth Holiday (Chris Parnell
), Ron's assistant, asked them not to). During the party Ron sees a woman and attempts to seduce her but fails miserably.
The next day, Channel 4's news director, Ed Harken (Fred Willard), is forced by the network that owns the station to bring a female worker onto the team. He hires Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), a news reporter from Asheville, North Carolina, who turns out to be the woman Ron tried to woo at the party the previous night. Brick, Champ and Brian attempt to seduce Veronica using inept and arrogant flirting, but they all fail. Ron ends up asking her out under the guise of helping out a new co-worker, which she accepts. During their date, Ron starts playing the jazz flute in his friend Tino's (Fred Armisen) club. After a change of heart, Veronica sleeps with Ron after their wildly successful date.
The next day, despite agreeing with Veronica to keep the relationship discreet, Ron loudly announces dating Veronica and having sex with her. After being told that Lin-Wong, a famous panda at the San Diego zoo is pregnant, the news team has a confrontation with Wes Mantooth (Vince Vaughn) and his news team, who are second in the most recent ratings.
The next day as Ron is heading to work, he throws a burrito out his car window and hits a motorcyclist (Jack Black) in the head, distracting the biker enough to cause him to crash his bike. Furious, the motorcyclist retaliates by punting Ron's dog Baxter off a bridge. A horribly saddened and incoherent Ron calls Brian from a payphone to tell him about Baxter, while Brian tells Ron to rush to the studio to prevent Ed from putting Veronica on the air as Ron's replacement. Despite Ron's efforts to arrive early, they put Veronica on the air and she becomes famous.
After Ron arrives, he has an argument with Veronica about the situation and they break up. The next day, Veronica is made co-anchor, much to Ron's displeasure.
To ease Ron's pain, he and his news team agree to buy new suits. While walking in search of the suit store, the team is confronted yet again by Wes Mantooth and his team and the two newsteams decide to have a brawl. However, just as they prepare to fight, more news teams arrive, from Channel 2, from the Spanish-language channel, and from public television. Despite a decision to ban any touching of hair during the fight, things escalate quickly (including one man being set on fire, and Brick killing a rival reporter with a trident). After the fight the team returns to the studio to hide from the cops who arrive at the scene.
While in a restaurant celebrating Veronica's big debut, one of Veronica's friends tells her Ron will read anything that's written on the teleprompter, no matter what it is. So Veronica sneaks into the station and changes the words in Ron's teleprompter. The next day, instead of Ron delivering his signature "You stay classy, San Diego," Ron closes the broadcast with "Go fuck yourself, San Diego." After hearing this, an angry mob gathers outside the studio and Ed is forced to fire Ron (who is oblivious until shown video of what he just said). Veronica sees she has gone too far and attempts to apologize, but Ron dismisses her, calling her a "heartless bitch demon" while being led through the mob by security.
Three months later Ron is unemployed, has no friends and is a slovenly drunk, while Veronica has become extremely famous. When Lin-Wong the panda is about to give birth, all the news teams head for the zoo to cover the story, but in an attempt to sabotage her, the public news anchor (Tim Robbins) pushes Veronica into the Kodiak bear cage, where any noise would infuriate the sleeping bears. When Ed can't find Veronica, he calls the bar where Ron spends most of his time and reluctantly asks him to return. Ron then summons the rest of his team by blowing the "News Horn", though it turns out they were all standing a foot away playing pool.
Once at the zoo, the team finds Veronica, and Ron jumps into the cage to save her; this attracts everyone else in the zoo to watch. The Channel 4 news team jumps in to help Ron but is easily defeated. Just as the leader of the bears is about to rip Ron and Veronica apart, Baxter (who was seen to emerge from a river in Milwaukee when Ron blew the horn), shows up and convinces the bear to leave Ron and the team alone.
After Ron and Veronica reconcile, it's shown that in years to come, Brian becomes the host of a FOX Network reality show named "Intercourse Island", Brick is George W. Bush's top political advisor, Champ is a commentator for the NFL before sexually harassing Terry Bradshaw, and Ron and Veronica are co-anchors for "World News".
- Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy: A five-time (local) Emmy Award-winning journalist, he is the main anchor for the KVWN Channel Four News Team from 1964 to 1977. Always confident and well-dressed, he is nevertheless ignorant, egotistical, misogynistic, and narcissistic, but also remains the rock for the entire group. He develops an infatuation with newcomer Veronica Corningstone, initially having trouble wooing her with tried and true measures that allegedly won him many bimbo-type women in the past. He has a great fondness for a good glass of scotch whisky, poetry, and his best friend/pet dog Baxter, and plays a mean jazz flute. He refers to his fists as Jack Johnson and Tom O'Leary, calls his arms "guns", and is most definitely not afraid to resort to fisticuffs.
- Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone: From Asheville, North Carolina, she is hired to comply with newly instituted "diversity standards". Corningstone has a strong ambition to become a network anchor and desires to be taken seriously in the male-dominated newsroom culture. While being generally firm, but kind, she can, at times, be a little arrogant—as seen when she rates a cat fashion show she is supposed to report on as "grade-A baloney." Burgundy develops an infatuation for her, culminating in a love affair, which provides most of the conflict in the movie. At the end of the movie she becomes co-anchor with Ron for the first world-wide news network. Amy Poehler (of Saturday Night Live fame) was originally cast as Veronica before Applegate showed interest.
- Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana: Fantana is the stylish one of the group and is a lustful field reporter for the Channel Four News Team. He is arrogant and narcissistic and absurdly overestimates his personal qualities. He has a nickname for his penis, "the Octagon" and he also nicknamed his testes, "James Westfall" and "Dr. Kenneth Noisewater". At the end of the film, it is explained that he goes on to host the Fox Network's Intercourse Island. Adam McKay comments on the DVD that though Fantana fancies himself as something of a ladies' man, he has in fact never slept with a woman.
- David Koechner as Champion 'Champ' Kind: The sportscaster for the Channel Four News Team who seems to have hidden feelings for Ron Burgundy (despite stating that Burgundy "sounds like a gay" in a demeaning fashion when talking about Corningstone's feelings). These feelings and his homosexuality are more overt in the alternate film, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie. He is the most chauvinistic member of the news team. At the end of the film, it is revealed that Kind, whose signature catchphrase is "Whammy!", ends up becoming an NFL commentator, but gets fired after being accused of sexual harassment by Terry Bradshaw. John C. Reilly was originally slated to play Champ but had to drop out due to work on The Aviator.
- Steve Carell as Brick Tamland: The mentally-challenged weatherman for Channel Four News. He has a habit of stating unrequested or irrelevant information. Tamland is not bright, but good hearted and loyal. At one point in the movie, Brick wonders what love is and upon questioning he admits to loving several objects in the room such as the carpet and a lamp. During the battle scene, Brick starts with a hand grenade (he is not shown using it, only holding it out while yelling) and eventually ends up killing a man with a trident. After the battle, Ron advises Brick that he is "probably wanted for murder" and to "find a safe house or a relative close by" where he can "lay low for a while". He is polite and rarely late (which are the main reasons he is employed and well-liked), and enjoys a nice pair of slacks and eating ice cream. He says that later a doctor will tell him his I.Q. is 48, technically making him mentally retarded. Co-star Paul Rudd commented in rehearsals found on the DVD that the thought that Brick may be mentally retarded would "never phase them", and that the other members of the news team would never berate or become annoyed with Brick because of his stupidity, but they would merely correct him if he made a mistake. He once held a celebrity golf tournament, but when asked whether he would hold it again, he remarked "No, too many people died last year."
- Fred Willard as Ed Harken: The news director of the Channel Four News station. His youngest son, Chris, who does not appear in this film but does appear in Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, is apparently very ill-behaved. It is revealed that Chris (played by Justin Long) goes to a Catholic school and has shot a bow and arrow into a crowd while on LSD, was caught reading German pornography in school, and took the marching band hostage with a gun.
- Chris Parnell as Garth Holladay: Ed's assistant at the Channel Four News station. Ron Burgundy was his hero, before he used foul language during a news broadcast. He is frequently ignored by the news team, even though his main job at the station appears to be keeping them out of trouble.
- Vince Vaughn as Wes Mantooth: The lead anchor of the competing KQHS Channel Nine Evening News Team is Burgundy's chief rival. It is revealed early on that Mantooth is extremely sensitive about insults directed towards his mother, Dorothy Mantooth, whom he regards as a "saint." Mantooth is consistently irritated by his being second in the ratings, causing him to ultimately initiate an anchorman battle against Burgundy and three other news teams. He ultimately pulls Burgundy from a ladder out of the bear pit, explaining that while he hates him he nonetheless respects him as a journalist.
- Luke Wilson as Frank Vitchard: A competing news anchor whose station, Channel 2, is third in the ratings. During the movie, he gets one arm chopped off in the anchorman battle by the lead anchor of the Public news team, and his other arm ripped off by a Kodiak Bear near the end of the film (which he deems "ri-goddamn-diculous").
- Baxter: Ron's beloved dog. Burgundy's relationship with Baxter is almost one of equality, despite one party being a dog. He has the uncanny ability to communicate with his master in English; in a scene Baxter barks at Ron, and Ron replies, "you know I don't speak Spanish, in English please." Later in the movie, Baxter is punted off the towering San Diego-Coronado Bridge during an encounter between Ron and a biker (Jack Black) whom Ron hit with a burrito. Eventually, Baxter comes back at the end of the movie and saves Ron and Veronica from the bears at the zoo by speaking to them about their cousin, Katow-jo, who he met in his time in the wilderness.
- Ben Stiller appears as Arturo Mendez (Spanish language channel news anchor), Luke Wilson appears as Frank Vitchard (Channel 2 anchor), Tim Robbins appears uncredited as the Public News anchor, Danny Trejo appears as a bartender and Jack Black plays the role of a motorcyclist whom Ron Burgundy hits with a burrito. Several of these cameos come from members of the group of actors known as the Frat Pack. Anchorman contains more Frat Pack members than any other movie, with six making appearances. The only member not making an appearance is Owen Wilson who was originally considered for the role of Public News anchor, but couldn't appear due to other commitments.
- Neil Flynn, who plays the role of "Janitor" on the TV show Scrubs, also makes a cameo appearance in one of the deleted scenes as a police officer helping Ron to look for Baxter's body.
- Seth Rogen makes an appearance as Veronica's camera man.
- Jerry Stiller can be seen very briefly, from a distance, sitting alone at the far end of the bar in the very beginning of the "Rocky's Bar Grill & Fine Dining" scene.
The opening and closing scenes are narrated by legendary Chicago CBS
news mega-anchorman Bill Kurtis
. Bill Kurtis is the winner of twenty Emmys.
is apparently set in San Diego, the real San Diego appears only in brief aerial shots. According to the official production notes and "making of" documentary (both included on the DVD), Anchorman
was actually filmed in Los Angeles
, and Long Beach
on sets which were dressed to look like San Diego in the 1970s. Notably, Los Angeles, Glendale, and Long Beach are in the studio zone
, while San Diego is not.
was released on July 9
in 3,091 theaters and grossed USD
$28.4 million in its opening weekend. It went on to gross $85.3 million in North American and $5.3 million in the rest of the world for a worldwide total of $90.6 million, well above its $26 million budget.
The film was generally well-received by critics with a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 63 metascore at Metacritic.
In the unrated version of Anchorman, there are some scenes that were not shown in the theaters. Some of these found their way into Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie. They are:
- The scene that Ron has an erection in the office in front of Veronica is extended in the unrated version with Ron masturbating.
- A scene where Ron imagines that he and Veronica are married and shows them making out in front of their children.
- A scene showing Ron, on the air talking how he is proud of his 'mane' of pubic hair.
- An alternate conversation after the party, where Champ Kind talks about shitting a live squirrel. Then Brick Tamland tells Champ apologetically that he ate his chocolate squirrel.
- The extended version of Ron being dragged out of the station into an angry mob after saying the word fuck on the news. He says "fuck" many more times in this extended version. (excerpt: "Don't you know I would never say fuck? I would never fuckin' say that, ever! Fuck!")
- Ron goes to Tino's (the restaurant where Ron took Veronica out and played jazz flute) after the "fuck" incident and the owner of the restaurant forces him to eat "cat poop" before Tino brings him a steak. Ron eats some of the cat feces but is making such a scene that he is disturbing other restaurant patrons.
The Lost Film
The film Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie
, was released straight to DVD in 2004, which includes alternate scenes containing much of the original plot. The "alternate film" was never released in theaters due to negative responses from test audiences, a common complaint being the inclusion of a terrorism-related subplot.
On May 5, 2008, online sources have reported that the director of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
, Adam McKay, announced that he and star Will Ferrell are currently developing an Anchorman
sequel. According to McKay, the second Anchorman
would be released after Channel 3 Billion
, another movie by McKay that is described as "a science fiction/Brazil type comedy". The sequel, set to start production in a couple of years, is so far a go, as long as every member of the original cast is able to return. Steve Carell
confirmed, in a recent interview with MTV
, that he would reprise his role as Brick Tamland
if the opportunity arose. In an interview with ITV1's London Tonight in August 2008, Ferrell confirmed plans for a sequel but indicated it could take some time to happen.