The answer: $69 million. The question: How much did it cost to produce the 2015 hit comedy "Daddy's Home"? Answer number two: $242 million. Question number 2: How much did it earn globally? No more questions as to why Paramount decided to release a sequel.


The only real question is: What do you do to try to make the sequel a success? Well, you could follow the Sylvester Stallone "Expendables" model and amp up the casting. Perhaps bring in a known box office draw to the cast. That is exactly what director Sean Anders did for his second helping of this paternal comedy.


Anders struggled to adapt a sequel for "Horrible Bosses" by adding Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine to the original ensemble and the result was "Eh". But this time he's taking a bit of a strategic gamble by adding one cast member who is beloved and another who was [fairly recently] scorned by many; John LIthgow and Mel Gibson.

Gibson was, of course a box office darling until a racist and sexist laced drunken rant got him in trouble with women, Jews, blacks and pretty much everyone else who wasn't a straight white male. The result was his next movie [post-rant], "The Beaver"... though very good, was a financial bust. Nobody went to see it. He took 2 years off and appeared in "Machete Kills" - a film that should have made money and it too tanked. His next film was "Expendable 3" which turned out to be the worse performing of the "Expendables" series (at least domestically). It too bombed.


So now he is cast with one of the most bankable current actors in Hollywood, Mark Walhberg and the very bankable Will Ferrell. Now the question is: Which will prevail, the bankability of Wahlberg/Ferrell or the scorn for Mel Gibson?


Wahlberg returns as the macho co-dad Dusty Mayron along side the over sensitive co-dad Brad Whitaker (Ferrell). It turns out, that after the first episode, the two can co-exist with the children Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) and Megan (Scarlett Estevez). Dusty is having only moderate success with his step-daughter Adrianna (Didi Costine) but is doing well with his new wife Karen (Alessandra Ambrosio). He then gets the startling news that his estranged dad is coming to visit for Christmas at the same time Brad's dad (Lithgow) will be visiting. This could spell potential disaster as the two grandpas are on opposite ends of the macho spectrum.

The story finds the entire family staying at a magnificent Air BnB provided by Dusty's dad, a former astronaut. Much like the first, most of the story revolves around the influence upon the children. Dylan is starting to become attracted to girls and the Whitakers are trying to teach him how to handle never ending rejection by girls. Naturally the Mayrons approach is more the wham-bam-thank you maam method.


There are several instances of similar life lessons that each faction try to teach, but ironically the two grandpas have more in common than they thought. Both are estranged from their own romantic relationships and both believe in closely guarding the household thermostat from the children.


But most of the funniest moments are set up by Gibson and his extreme machismo. His character is nearly in-your-face sexist and flaunting his animal magnetism by picking up random women at will. Machoism seems to win out.


Ferrell and Lithgow compliment each other perfectly although I couldn't help but wonder how funny it would have been if the grandpa's were assigned differently - with Gibson as Ferrell's dad and Lithgow as Wahlberg's father. John Cena returns as Karen's ex and baby daddy of Adrianna. His characters falls to the wayside.


There are clearly more laugh-out-loud moments in this sequel than the original, it will just be a matter of putting people in the theater seats.


"Daddy's Home 2" is actually funnier than the first as the characters are better developed and not just in a constant competition. Mel Gibson and John Lithgow have a blast in reprising their familiar but contrasting personaes.   -- GEOFF BURTON