Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

March 26, 2014

What the hell is that thing?

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Kim Hollis: Muppets Most Wanted, a follow-up to the popular franchise reboot The Muppets, earned $17 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?

Edwin Davies: It's a bit less than I would have expected, given that the first film was so warmly received and did pretty well considering how moribund the Muppets name had become prior to its release. I think that the ads this time around weren't quite as funny as the ones for the first film were, and the idea of the Muppets engaging in a caper is a little harder to sell than the "getting the band back together" plot of the first one, but the key thing that held it back, I feel, is the human element. Jason Segel isn't exactly the biggest draw, but he's one of the stars of a successful long-running TV show and established a certain amount of credibility with audience by writing the script for the first one, and Amy Adams had existing Disney musical form from starring in Enchanted. I think they brought a lot of charm and recognition for audiences who might not be too familiar with The Muppets, who on their own probably aren't that appealing outside of nostalgia. Swapping them out for Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ty Burrell, whatever their other merits, probably didn't help the appeal of the film overall.


Brett Ballard-Beach: There is one important thing to bring up when discussing the grosses of the Muppets movies: the first one in 1979 did phenomenally well, grossing $65 million ($216 million adjusted for inflation!) slowly and surely. It did so well in fact that I don't think there is any point in measuring the success/failure of any of the other films against that benchmark. The 2011 reboot did respectably ($88 million) by playing on the nostalgia, but nowhere near as successful as say a Star Trek (2009) to Star Trek (1979) comparison All of the others wind up somewhere in the broad spectrum of decent (The Great Muppet Caper did $34 million in 1981 dollars) to terrible (Muppets from Space did $16 million in 1999 dollars). Muppets Most Wanted will be disappointing at worst. Was it perhaps handicapped by the phenomenal The Lego Movie and the moderate success of Mr. Peabody & Sherman? Maybe, but the truth may be a little more discomfiting: the Muppets have a breakout smash every 30+ years. Somehow I don't think Disney will be pulling a Star Wars/Marvel year-a-movie philosophy with the universe of Kermit, Piggy, and Fozzie. It ain't easy makin' green.

Jason Barney: This is a pretty bad opening and there are a couple of reasons why. First, it can't help but be compared against the recent success of the 2011 movie, and the positive response to that film may have set the bar a little high. Second, on some level I think people saw the Jason Segel and Amy Adams version because they were curious to see if a group of puppets could compete in the market of animation. It had been so long, many fans thought the product was gone. That pushed interest, to a certain extent. Now its three years later, and puppets are being brought out to compete against animation again? Don't get me wrong, I think Disney or whoever else can do this, but the creative direction they decided to go also limited interest. My son is still young enough where this is something we could have seen this weekend, but we didn't even consider it.

If you look at the numbers, this is a terrible opening. A $50 million budget isn't that high, but this opening is extremely low.

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