Well, it's official... The Muppets is a smash-hit. In its first five days in United States theaters, the first Muppet feature film in 12 years raked in $42 million, which is a huge grab and already a larger sum of box office receipts than Muppets From Space made in its entire run. This $42 million put The Muppets at a comfortable, absolutely respectable place at Number 2 in the United States box office, coming in behind Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1, which even Disney expected to beat The Muppets. Yes, it's a shame that dancing frogs and singing pigs couldn't beat abs and sparkly vampires, but let's take a look at what we did beat, shall we?
The Muppets beat out new releases Arthur Christmas and Hugo along with already-released Happy Feet 2 and Puss in Boots. For those keeping track, that's an animated Christmas movie with good reviews, an epic, 3D family feature from Martin Scorsese with excellent reviews, the sequel to one of the biggest family films of the past few years, and a spin-off film from one of the most popular family film franchises of the past decade.
I think that it's very fair to say that The Muppets has surpassed everyone's expectations (I know it has surpassed mine) as a film, as a critical darling, as a money-maker, and as a franchise relaunch. I have seen the movie five times, with five very different groups of people, and every time the audience reactions, but during and after the film, intrigue me to no end. I saw kids singing "Mahna Mahna," I heard teenagers humming and singing "Life's a Happy Song," and I saw every single person with a big smile on their face. It just does not get any better than that.
But, the question on everyone's mind, and rightly so, is... What's next? Where do the Muppets go next? What do they do now? What does Disney think? Well... I don't know. Honestly, not a clue. But here's a brief little story from Reuters and Yahoo! with quotes from Dave Hollis, Vice President of Motion Picture Sales and Distribution for Disney, that talks a little bit about how happy Disney is, and how excited they are to make more Muppet stuff:
In second place, audiences welcomed the Muppets back to theaters for the first time in 12 years.
New Disney movie "The Muppets," starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams alongside Kermit, Miss Piggy and their puppet friends, took in a strong $29.5 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters in three days. The five-day holiday weekend haul reached $42 million domestically. Two international markets added $1.6 million.
Disney bought the rights to the Muppets in 2004, and the media, entertainment and consumer-products giant is eager to interest a new generation in the characters.
"It's hard to have anyone argue we didn't bring them back," said Dave Hollis, Disney's executive vice president for motion picture sales and distribution. The movie's performance "exceeded expectations," he said.
The Muppets starred on a weekly television show in the 1970s and early 1980s plus a series of films, the last being 1999's "Muppets from Space."
Critics loved the new Muppets movie, with 98 percent giving it a favorable review, according to aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences awarded an A rating on average, according to exit-polling firm CinemaScore. The movie cost about $45 million to produce.
And, as if all that weren't enough... the critics really can't stop raving about how much they love The Muppets. Rotten Tomatoes has The Muppets ranked at an unbelievable 98% fresh rating, meaning that, of 130 reviews, only three were not singing the praises of The Muppets. It doesn't get better than that. And we realize that you don't have time to read 130 reviews (I don't either, but darn if I haven't tried), so our good friend James Carroll created a gorgeous graphic for us to use that compiles some of the best quotes from some of the best reviews of The Muppets. Check it out below (and click to make it bigger and readable)!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org