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Will There Be A Meet The Parents 4?

What do you get when you combine the off-the-wall comedy of Ben Stiller with the comically serious Robert De Niro? You get Meet the Parents. The movie won several awards, including an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance, and was successful enough to receive two sequels, Meet the Fockers and Little Fockers. But why did the filmmakers stop at just three? Stiller and De Niro are still extremely popular, as are their movies.

Moreover, since Meet the Parents released in 2000 and Little Fockers came out in 2010, we've reached a point where many viewers who watched the first movie had to live through the nightmare of meeting their spouse's parents and have children who are old enough to date. Imagine a hypothetical Meet the Parents 4, in which the Fockers are the parents who must meet their children's significant others. The messages and themes of the initial movie would come full circle, but will that ever come to pass? The answer is a resounding "maybe" ... sliding toward "no."

Thanks to Little Fockers, probably not

Universal Pictures made Meet the Fockers because Meet the Parents grossed over $330 million against a $55 million budget. Similarly, the company green-lit Little Fockers because the first sequel was even more lucrative, earning over $522 million vs. an $80 million budget. Comparatively, Little Fockers only brought in over $310 million against a $100 million budget. While Little Fockers was technically profitable, it served as a great example of the law of diminishing returns. Could the franchise continue to offset development costs if a fourth film was made? Probably, but filmmakers might not want to risk it after seeing audience reactions. 

Film critics assaulted Little Fockers with a barrage of bad reviews, many of which agreed the film's characters had worn out their welcome (via Rotten Tomatoes). To make matters worse, as Fox News reported Little Fockers helped Jessica Alba earn a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress. While a shrinking profit margin, poor reviews, and Razzie on their own don't preclude the possibility of a Meet the Parents 4, all three combined under the Little Fockers' roof could easily scare away any potential producers, no matter the quality of a proposed script.

Ben Stiller is suffering from sequelitis

Meet the Parents isn't the only Ben Stiller comedy to receive a sequel: he's also starred in the Night at the Museum and Zoolander franchises. While these movies have extremely different tones and plots, they have one thing in common aside from Stiller: the sequels aren't as good as the originals. Each entry in the Night at the Museum trilogy received roughly around the same reviews, but subsequent movies earned less money than the previous one. This might not sound bad, but Zoolander is where things become decidedly coffin-shaped.

While the original Zoolander was generally well-received by critics, it only won a Teen Choice Award for Choice Hissy Fit. The sequel, Zoolander 2, won numerous awards, mostly Razzies. As the BBC reports, the film won Worst Supporting Actress, Worst Picture, Worst Actor, and two Worst Supporting Actor awards, but that wasn't the end of its ridicule. Zoolander 2 also won Worst Film of the Year from the Hawaii Film Critics Society and Worst Picture from the Houston Film Critics Society Awards.

Given this pattern, it's pretty clear Ben Stiller has bad luck with sequels. To make matters worse, his other beloved comedy, Dodgeball, has a rumored sequel that just keeps ducking and diving under dedicated production. At the end of the day, the odds suggest Meet the Parents 4 would suffer the same fate as Stiller's other follow-ups.

But another Fockers movie is not out of the question

While the outlook for a potential Meet the Parents 4 is dismal, it is far from impossible. But don't take our word for it. In 2020, Meet the Parents' stars reunited on Today to reminisce about how the film and its individual scenes came to life. Many laughs were had, and Hoda Kotb eventually asked if the actors would like to come back for one final Fockers film. Ben Stiller said he's "always open" to the opportunity to work alongside that particular set of co-stars, and Robert De Niro revealed that once upon a time, "There was some talk about it." Like Stiller, he would be "game" for a sequel.

As for Teri Polo, who plays Pam Focker in the franchise, she's just "riding the coattails," as she put it. If Stiller and De Niro want to make Meet the Parents 4, she would ostensibly be on board with the project. While this enthusiasm does not guarantee one more sequel, if the movie was green-lit, we could expect the cast to return for one final ride in the Byrnes family RV.