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The Muppets is a 2011 American musical comedy film, the first Muppets theatrical release in twelve years.[7] The film is directed by James Bobin, written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, produced by Jason Segel, Martin G. Baker, David Furnish, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, and John Scotti, and stars Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, and Rashida Jones.

In the film, Walter, a devoted Muppet fan, his brother Gary, and Gary's girlfriend Mary help Kermit the Frog reunite the Muppets. They must raise $10 million to save the Muppet Theater from Tex Richman, a businessman who plans to demolish the studio to drill for oil.

The Muppets was first announced in March 2008, with principal photography commencing in September 2010. The film premiered at the 2011 Savannah Film Festival and was released by Walt Disney Pictures in North America on November 23, 2011. The film was a commercial success, grossing $158 million worldwide against a $45 million budget, becoming the highest-grossing film of the franchise to date (not accounting for inflation, otherwise, the highest-grossing Muppet film is The Muppet Movie).[6][8][9] The Muppets garnered positive critical consensus with much praise going to its characterization, humor and soundtrack. The film won Best Original Song for Bret McKenzie's "Man or Muppet" at the 84th Academy Awards, as well as earning nominations at the 66th BAFTA Awards, 55th Grammy Awards and 17th Critic's Choice Awards.

Following the critical and commercial success of the film, Walt Disney Pictures announced a semi-sequel, Muppets Most Wanted, which began filming at Pinewood Studios in January 2013 and will be released on March 21, 2014.[10]


Walter lives with his human brother Gary in Smalltown. The pair are avid fans of The Muppets, having watched The Muppet Show throughout their youth. Now adults, Gary plans a vacation to Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Mary, to celebrate their tenth anniversary, inviting Walter along so he can tour the Muppet Studios. Mary feels that Gary's devotion to Walter is detracting from their relationship.

Arriving in Los Angeles, the three visit the abandoned Muppet Studios. During the tour, Walter sneaks into Kermit the Frog's office and discovers Statler and Waldorf selling the theater to an oil magnate named Tex Richman and his henchmen Bobo the Bear and Uncle Deadly. Waldorf explains that if the Muppets can raise $10 million by the time the original contract expires, they can repurchase the theater. After Statler and Waldorf leave the office, Walter overhears Richman revealing his plans to destroy the Muppet Theater and drill for oil underneath.

The group find Kermit the Frog informing him that he must organize a telethon to raise the money, which appears initially difficult as the Muppets have gone their separate ways since The Muppet Show ended its run. After Walter convinces him to try, Kermit and the three set off to reunite the group by car. Kermit dissuades Fozzie Bear from continuing to perform in Reno with the Moopets, a group of uncouth Muppet impersonators. Meanwhile, Gonzo has become a plumbing magnate, and despite his initial objection, decides to destroy his business and join them. Animal is recovered from a celebrity anger-management clinic, but is warned by his sponsor Jack Black to avoid drums. The other primary Muppets are located and rejoin through a montage. Later in Paris, the group finds Miss Piggy working as an editor for "plus-sized" fashion at Vogue Paris. Unable to convince Miss Piggy to return, the group replaces her with Moopet counterpart Miss Poogy.

The Muppets pitch their telethon idea to several television networks, but are rejected. Due to the sudden cancellation of Punch Teacher, CDE executive Veronica gives the Muppets a two-hour slot in the network's schedule on the condition that they find a celebrity guest. The Muppets refurbish the theater, but their first rehearsal is unsuccessful and Kermit is unable to contact a celebrity guest. Miss Piggy returns, forces Poogy out, and selects Pepe the King Prawn as her partner after refusing to work with Kermit. Kermit inspires Walter to find his talent and perform in the telethon. Meanwhile, Mary goes sightseeing alone.

Declining Kermit's plea to return their studio, Richman reveals that the Muppets will also lose their trademark names, which he plans to entitle to the Moopets. Unsuccessful, Kermit returns home and Miss Piggy enlists the remaining Muppets to kidnap Black as a celebrity guest. Meanwhile, after discovering that an upset Mary has left for Smalltown, Gary realizes that he must improve his relationship with Mary and follows her back home to reconcile, while Walter discovers he was meant to be join the Muppets. Meanwhile, the telethon begins and gradually attracts a large audience, with the Muppets raising donations with support from celebrity callers and Black serving as the unwilling, yet hilarious host. During the show, Richman cuts the theater's power supply, however Gary and Mary, having returned, manage to restore it. Richman then attempts to destroy the theater's television transmitter, but a regretful Uncle Deadly stops Richman, after realizing that he too is a Muppet. Kermit and Miss Piggy finally conciliate and the Muppets perform "The Rainbow Connection" as their final act.

However, the telethon runs short as the $10 million has yet to be collected. Having found his talent, Walter gathers the courage to perform a whistling act, which is unanimously praised by the audience. Richman, refusing to lose, disables the telephone lines and evicts the Muppets from the theater, after the latter fall short of their monetary goal. Kermit gathers the group in the lobby and delivers a speech, suggesting that they will restart their career together as a family. Exiting the theater, the Muppets are greeted by a vast gathering of supporters on Hollywood Boulevard. With Gary's encouragement, Walter greets the crowd and is accepted by the Muppets as a new member. At the end of the film, Gary proposes to Mary, Richman gives the Muppet Theater and rights back to the Muppets after suffering a head injury, and Kermit and Miss Piggy have time in private.


Cameo guest starsEdit

Muppet performersEdit

Main article: List of Muppets

Additional performers in minor roles include Tyler Bunch, Bruce Lanoil, Michelan Sisti, Alice Dinnean, Karen Prell, and Rashida Jones.[27][28]

Archival recordings of Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson and Richard Hunt can be heard in the film through The Muppet Show segments in the opening flashbacks. In his final Muppets performance, Jerry Nelson reprised his role from The Muppet Show as the announcer of The Muppet Telethon.



In 2008, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller pitched a concept for a Muppets film to Walt Disney Studios Executive Vice President of Production Karen Falk, and they were offered a deal to develop their script. The news became public in March 2008 when Variety first reported that Disney had signed a deal with Segel and Stoller, with Segel and Stoller writing the script and Stoller directing.[29][30] In June 2008, Jason Segel announced that he had turned in the first draft of his script and was hopeful that the film would live up to previous Muppets movies.[31][32][33] Later in 2008, Stoller noted that he and Segel had written an "old school Muppets movie, where the Muppets have to put on a show to save the studio." In this same interview, Stoller also confirmed that they would get as many cameos and guest stars as possible, and that Jason Segel would play a ventriloquist.[34]

Originally, the film was titled The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time!!!, and an early leak of the script suggested that it would feature celebrity cameos by Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, Steve Carell, George Clooney, Jack Black, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mel Brooks, Matt Damon, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Rachael Ray, Bob Saget, Lisa Lampanelli, Jeff Ross, and Charles Grodin.[35] Another former title of the film was The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made!, after an unused script written by Jerry Juhl back in 1985.[36] Although early reports indicated that Stoller would direct the film,[29][37] in January 2010 it was announced that James Bobin would direct the movie.[38][39][40] In February 2010, additional details about the plot surfaced, indicating that the film would be about a villain that wanted to drill for oil underneath the old Muppet Theater, and that the only way to stop him would be to put on a show that draws ten million viewers.[41][42] Reports from the summer of 2010 revealed that the production team had met with the creative heads at Pixar to fine tune the script.[43] During the summer of 2010, it was announced that the film would be released on Christmas 2011, but in December 2010, the release date was moved to Thanksgiving 2011.[2][44]

In October 2010, it was confirmed that Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, and Rashida Jones would also be starring in the film.[45][46][47] Over the next few months, several guest cameo announcements emerged, including, but not limited to Emily Blunt, Ricky Gervais, Zack Galifianakis, Billy Crystal, Jack Black, Alan Arkin, and Dave Grohl.[43][48][49] However, Gervais, Crystal and several other cameos including Beth Broderick,[14] Kathy Griffin,[50] Ed Helms,[22] Sterling Knight,[51] Mila Kunis,[52] Ben Stiller,[53] Eric Stonestreet,[22] Wanda Sykes[15] Lady Gaga,[54] Katy Perry and Danny Trejo[14][22] were completely omitted from the film due to time constraints (Though Gervais can be seen in the musical finale). Jim Parsons' cameo was kept as a secret by producers despite rumors that leaked on the Internet regarding his role in the film.[55] In a March 2009 interview on The Late Late Show, Segel revealed that he had asked host Craig Ferguson to appear in the film, and at the time, he (Ferguson) had been the only person that had agreed.[56] Ferguson was ultimately not given a role, for which he chastised Segel in a November 2011 interview.[57] A cameo was written for the Sesame Street Muppet Elmo, but was rejected by Disney's attorneys and representatives from Sesame Workshop.[58][59]

During the summer of 2010, Flight of the Conchords co-star Bret McKenzie flew to Los Angeles to serve as the music supervisor for The Muppets.[16][60]


Filming for The Muppets started in late 2010, with the first set photos emerging in December 2010.[61][62] The November 12, 2010, issue of Entertainment Weekly featured a spread about The Muppets, including a summary of the film's concept, quotes from Segel and Bobin, the first images of Walter, and new photos of the Muppets with Jason Segel.[40][63]

Hollywood Boulevard was closed for two nights in January 2011 to film a reprise of "Life's a Happy Song", the final musical number for the movie.[12][33][64] According to /Film, the shoot involved Amy Adams, Jason Segel, and hundreds of extras performing an elaborate musical number outside the El Capitan Theatre.[64] The Los Angeles Times also noted that other musical numbers would appear in the film, including Kermit singing his signature song, "Rainbow Connection",[11] which he played on the same banjo that he used when he performed the song in The Muppet Movie.[12]

Universal Studios' Soundstage 28, most famous for containing the Paris Opera House set from 1925 Phantom of the Opera film, served as interiors for The Muppet Theater, with the Opera House being used as part of the theater set. Scenes set in Smalltown were filmed at Disney's Golden Oak Ranch,[65] whereas the fictional "Muppet Studios" were filmed at various locations including the El Capitan Theatre (with a digitally changed marquee), the Jim Henson Company Lot and the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank.[12]

Other filming locations included Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, the outside of Wheatland, CA, Pink Palace Mansion in Bel Air, the Crossroads of the World, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and the City National Plaza (acting as the interior of Richman Oil's headquarters) in downtown Los Angeles.[12] Scooter's scene in the Muppet reunion montage was filmed at Google's Zurich headquarters in Switzerland.

Although principal photography was completed on February 11, 2011,[66] on April 26, 2011, a second unit film crew traveled to Reno, Nevada to film some exterior shots, including a scene in the Bonanza Casino parking lot with some Muppet characters, and a small shot looking into the casino.[67]

The film required extensive blue-screen shots and matte backgrounds. In the scene where Walter is dancing atop a dresser, the puppeteers performed Walter's choreography while wearing blue costumes against a blue screen.[68] The end result had the puppeteers completely gone from the final shot. Look Effects were responsible for those visual effects shots, whereas Legacy Effects designed the mechanics for '80s Robot.[68]


Main article: The Muppets (soundtrack)

The film's score was composed by Christophe Beck with songs by Bret McKenzie. An original soundtrack was released on November 22, 2011, followed by a Spanish version of the soundtrack released as Los Muppets: Banda Sonora Original de Walt Disney Records on December 6, 2011.[69] McKenzie won an Academy Award for the song "Man or Muppet" he wrote for The Muppets, beating out "Real in Rio" from Rio. Although it was the fourth Muppet film to receive an Academy Award nomination, this was the first time a Muppet film had won an Academy Award and the first Muppet film nominated for Best Original Song since 1981's The Great Muppet Caper and the first time a Muppet film in general had been nominated for any kind of Academy Award since 1984's The Muppets Take Manhattan.

Release Edit

Marketing Edit

File:Green with Envy poster.jpg

In May 2011, Kermit the Frog attended the world premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides at Disneyland to promote the upcoming Muppets release.[70][71][72] A spoof romantic comedy trailer for the movie was attached to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and it was later released online under the faux name Green With Envy.[73][74] Additional spoof trailers parodied The Hangover Part II (called The Fuzzy Pack), Green Lantern (called Being Green), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (called The Pig with the Froggy Tattoo), Paranormal Activity (called Abnormal Activity), Happy Feet Two (called Dancing on Happy Feet), Puss in Boots (called Fuss in Boots) and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (called Breaking Prawn).[70][75][76][77][78] In November 2011, Brooks Brothers announced that it had designed a custom wardrobe for Kermit the Frog for the movie.

On August 23, 2011, Walt Disney Records released Muppets: The Green Album, a tribute album of popular Muppet songs performed by multiple contemporary artists, as part of the film's promotion.[79] Walt Disney Records also re-released the 2006 Christmas album on November 1, 2011.[80] The Muppets also performed "Life's a Happy Song" on the November 15, 2011 episode of the American version of Dancing with the Stars.[81] In addition, the soundtrack of the film was released on November 21, 2011, two days before the film's release date.[82]

Jason Segel hosted Saturday Night Live on November 19, 2011, with The Muppets as guests. Kermit appeared on the Weekend Update segment, doing a "Really!?!" segment.

The Muppets were guest stars on WWE Monday Night RAW and interacted with several WWE Superstars including Jack Swagger, Hornswoggle and Sheamus. They also joined Olly Murs on stage during the UK version of The X Factor on November 27, 2011, to perform his new single "Dance With Me Tonight" and promote their new film.

An iPhone app called Tap Tap Muppets was released for iPhone the day prior to the film's release. The app features six new musical numbers and three classic Muppet songs which are "The Muppet Show Theme," "Rainbow Connection," and "Mah Nà Mah Nà."

Theatrical run Edit

The Muppets premiered at the 2011 Savannah Film Festival,[83] and held its world premiere of on November 12, 2011, at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.[84] The film was released in the United States on November 23, 2011 and in the United Kingdom on February 10, 2012.[2][29][75][85][86] Originally, the film was set to be released in the United States on Christmas 2011, but it was later moved to Thanksgiving 2011.[2][44] It was also the opening gala at the 2012 Glasgow Youth Film Festival.

Segel and Adams appeared at CinemaCon in March 2011, to promote the project, showcasing several clips from the film.[33][87] Clips from the film were also shown at Suffolk University in April 2011 during a Q&A with David Hoberman, Muppeteer Steve Whitmire and Kermit the Frog.[88] Although there had been some speculation that the cast will appear at Comic-Con,[89] no official announcement was made.

Home mediaEdit

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released The Muppets on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital download on March 20, 2012, the same day The Muppets received a collective star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The release was produced in four different physical packages: a three-disc combo pack (Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital copy) with soundtrack download ("The Wocka Wocka Value Pack); a two-disc combo pack (Blu-ray and DVD); a one-disc DVD with soundtrack download; and a one-disc DVD without soundtrack download. The film was released digitally in high definition and standard definition. The two-disc edition's supplementary features include bloopers, deleted and extended scenes, "Muppet Intermission", "Scratching the Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney's The Muppets", the fully intact version of "Let's Talk About Me", "A Little Screen Test on the Way to the Read Through," and an audio commentary with Jason Segel, James Bobin, and Nicholas Stoller. The three-disc combo pack also includes the theatrical spoof trailers (including exclusive, unreleased parody trailers of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Fast Five) and a digital download of the soundtrack, while still including the same features as the two-disc combo pack.[31][90]

The Muppets debuted at #1 in Blu-ray and DVD sales in the United States according to Nielsen's sales chart.[91]


Box officeEdit

The Muppets was a box office success, accumulating an income gross nearly quadruple its $45 million budget. It grossed $6.5 million on its opening day and came in at #2 behind The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1.[92] The following day, Thanksgiving Day, the film grossed $5.8 million for a two-day total of $12.5 million.[93] From Friday to Sunday, The Muppets grossed $29.2 million, while holding onto the No. 2 spot. Overall, the film grossed $41.5 million in five days, during which, it out-grossed every previous film in the Muppets series, excluding The Muppet Movie.[94][95] The film closed on April 5, 2012, having grossed $88,631,237 in North America, along with $69,800,000 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $158,431,237,[96] becoming the highest-grossing film in the Muppets series and the first film in the series to gross over $100 million worldwide (unadjusted for inflation).[6][8]

Critical receptionEdit

The Muppets received critical acclaim.[97][98][99][100][101] Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 96% of 204 critics have given the film a positive review, a "Certified Fresh" score, with a rating average of 8 out of 10,[9] and is the highest rated film in the Muppets series. Metacritic gave the film a score of 75/100 based on 37 "generally favorable reviews."[102] CinemaScore audiences gave The Muppets a grade A rating on an A+ to F scale.[103]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four, praising the revitalized Muppets and their distinctive personalities.[104] Justin Chang of Variety called it "an unexpected treat," noting that the film effortlessly blends "wised-up, self-reflective humor with old-fashioned let's-put-on-a-show pizzazz." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said it was "A mostly winning return for childhood favorites from a prior century [that] looks to accomplish its goal of pleasing old fans and winning new ones." Joshua Tyler of called it "One of the best movies you'll see this year." The Boston Globe gave it three out of four stars and said, "The result is refreshing on every level, a piece of nostalgia so old it's new again, and a breather from Hollywood's 3-D digital onslaught in favor of fur and fuzz."[105] Christopher Kelly of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram stated that the film was "much more than just an affectionate reimagining of familiar Muppets routines, [but it] is rooted in real emotions and characters," and that "they remain as committed as ever to doing what Muppets do best: putting on a grand show."[106]

Pre-release criticismEdit

Prior to the film's release, it was rumored that some Muppet performers were anxious about the film having seen the trailer. Semi-retired Muppet performer Frank Oz had spoken critically of the film, citing his disapproval of the script and thought that the early version was disrespectful towards the characters.[107]

In a July 2012 interview after the film's release, Oz seemed to soften and clarify his stance, saying,

I thought the film was really sweet and fun, a little too safe, a little retro. I prefer more cutting edge in the Muppets. But the main thing is everybody got back to appreciating The Muppets…it brought people back to The Muppets. Although they never really left, it's always been a kind of subculture, it's always been there in our popular culture a little bit. So I'm happy that people are happy.
In the statement, Oz was more critical of the "Disney process" but much less harsh about the film itself than had previously been reported.[108]


Year Award Category Result Recipient
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards[109][110] Best Comedy Nominated
Best Song Won "Life's a Happy Song" – Bret McKenzie
Nominated "Man or Muppet" – Bret McKenzie
"Pictures in My Head" – Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis and Chen Neeman
The Dorian Awards (Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association)[111] Campy (Intentional or Not) Film of the Year Won
Georgia Film Critics Association Awards[112] Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller
Best Original Song Won "Man or Muppet" – Bret McKenzie
Golden Tomato Awards[113] Best Reviewed Kids/Family Film
Houston Film Critics Society[114] Best Song "Life's a Happy Song" – Bret McKenzie
Indiana Film Journalists Association Awards[115] Best Film Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society[116] Best Live Action Family Film Won
Best Original Song "Life's a Happy Song" – Bret McKenzie
Satellite Awards[117] Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Nominated
Original Song "Man or Muppet" – Bret McKenzie
"Life's a Happy Song" – Bret McKenzie
Sierra Awards[118] Best Song Won "Man or Muppet" – Bret McKenzie
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards[119] Best Comedy Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller and Jim Henson
Best Music
Utah Film Critics Association Awards[120] Best Adapted Screenplay Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller
Women Film Critics Circle Awards[121] Best Family Film
2012 84th Academy Awards[122] Best Original Song Won "Man or Muppet" – Bret McKenzie
59th Golden Reel Awards[123] Best Sound Editing: Music in a Musical Feature Film Lisa Jaime and Richard Ford[124]
Kids' Choice Awards[125] Favorite Movie Nominated
Favorite Movie Actress Amy Adams
38th Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film
Kerrang! Awards 2012 Best Film
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Comedy
2013 55th Annual Grammy Awards Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media Original soundtrack
Best Song Written for Visual Media "Man or Muppet" - Bret McKenzie
66th British Academy Film Awards BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer James Bobin


Main article: Muppets Most Wanted

In March 2012, after the critical and commercial success of the film, Walt Disney Pictures secured a deal with James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller to direct and write, respectively, a new installment.[1][126][127] On March 4, Jason Segel stated that he would have no involvement in the sequel.[128] On April 24, the Walt Disney Studios officially announced that the sequel was in development with a release date of March 21, 2014.[10][129] The cast includes Ricky Gervais,[130] Ty Burrell,[131] and Tina Fey.[132] David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will return to produce the film, as well as Bret McKenzie returning to write music for the film.[133]


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External linksEdit

Preceded by
"We Belong Together" from
Toy Story 3
Academy Award for Best Original Song
"Man or Muppet"

Succeeded by
"Skyfall" from

Template:The Muppets