The Muppets are in the process of making a new film, which is exciting news for all. This New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/business/10muppets.html?_r=4&smid=tw-nytimes&seid=auto) describes the making of the film and what is expected from it — both in terms of content and cast, and box office success. It describes the Wishbone-esque “The Muppets Christmas Carol” and “Muppet Treasure Island” as failures — measured in the context of box office numbers — and says that the new movie hopes to avoid this fate.
Unlike earlier generations of Muppets fans I grew up on this type of Muppets movie. For me the show is a little bit awkward mostly because the celebrity cameos are not very timeless. If you weren’t alive when the celebrity on the show was cool and popular then their performance is lost on you. Today I can appreciate Jason Mraz on Sesame Street but in 20 years people won’t get why this video is so incredible.
“The Muppets Christmas Carol” may have “bombed” at the box office but was very successful when spread sheets are left out of the consideration. I have seen “The Muppets Christmas Carol” more times than I can count. “The Muppets Christmas Carol” was my first encounter with the Muppets and is what they will always mean to me. It includes some of the best things about the Muppets like their musical numbers, characters and witty dialogue. Gonzo being Charles Dickens doesn’t make him any less real or interesting. “Muppet Treasure Island” is a clever and witty film.
It doesn’t matter how many people saw these movies the Muppets should be proud of these productions. Movies should be judged based on how good they are and how well they can engage audiences rather than based on how many seats they fill. The Muppets may have pettered out at the end of the ’80s but they still live in the hearts and minds of many and this is where the true success of a movie should be measured.
I hope that the new movie is everything it is hyped up to be. This time it will feature celebrities I know and jokes I understand — I am excited to see Emily Blunt as a secretary in the Muppet Wears Prada portion. The article is right that this movie has a lot of pressure on it, this is the Muppets after all. There are many fans — like myself — who will see it out of nostalgia, there are others who will go out of curiosity and then there are those who just won’t find the time to go to the theatre. I will judge this movie based on whether it is interesting, funny and memorable not based on box office success and so should the Muppets Studio.