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Back To Square One?(The Muppets' 60th Anniversary)

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by beaker, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Earlier in the year I penned a thread called "Disney is Doing everything Right".

    Well...as we head into the SIXTY year anniversary of the Muppets, it now feels like
    we're back to square one.

    - As we head into the holiday retail season, despite two newer Muppet films there will
    be virtually no Muppet merchandise in stores.

    - No new Muppet projects have even been hinted at(no planned specials, movies, certainly not the tv show)

    - Rumors persist of Muppet Vision 3d closing for good soon to make way for Frozen 3D
    (the dream of Muppet expansion in a Disney park seems dead)

    - Disappointing Muppets Most Wanted box office seems to have scared off Disney from
    pushing forward with any major Muppet plans for now

    Then again, the blockbuster box office and critic review response for 2011's The Muppets didn't exactly bring us much new merchandise or any closer to a new tv series, tv specials or new Muppet tv show home releases.

    So my questions to you:

    1. What now? What can we expect from Disney?
    2. What would you like to see for the 60th anniversary of the Muppets?

    Given it's the 60th annv. of Disneyland, I'm guessing most the celebration
    marketing will be going toward that.
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The thing that bugs me about it is this.

    The movie had poor timing, let's face it. But they fluffed the international campaign completely. Most movies that flop in the US manage to make back their budget or become minor hits on the global scale. Look at The Edge of Tomorrow, which did well everywhere but here because it wasn't an emotionally manipulative cancer flick based on yet another crappy YA novel. Planes 2 also flopped in the US, but because they released it on a global scale it managed to double its low budget. Even then, barely.

    I get that Frozen was a hit, it spoke to people, and it was Disney's most profitable film in years that wasn't Marvel related. Planes wasn't. NO ONE likes Planes, I never see kids flocking over to Planes merchandise, no one talks about Planes except to say how much it sucks. Cars made legit money both times and its toyetic nature makes sure it continues to be a money making venture on the merchandise alone. But NO ONE likes Planes. They have to merge Planes and Cars to sell the Planes stuff. And guess what Disney keeps shoving down our throats? Planes!

    I don't expect Disney to do much with the Muppets after a disappointing actually made back it's budget and change and is probably continuing to make money on home video. What needs to be understood is that any family film not Frozen or Lego (or Squirrel Nut Heist garbage) has underperformed this year, and quite a bit of these films, ones with bigger budgets, failed to crack the 17 million opening mark. More families are waiting for Netflix and Redbox. The entire box office take for the year is significantly down, and it took until August for a film to crack 300 million domestically (Iron Man 4 finished over 400 mil).
  3. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    What they have done with every older franchise in history. Market and feature the projects that are considered their best work. Nickelodeon had the right idea rerunning Muppet Show. That is main reason why kids of my generation were familiar with the show at all.

    Or, you go the Looney Tunes route, by introducing new characters that had the same spirit (Tiny Toon and Animaniacs). Both proved very successful with audiences. The Muppets essentially already did this with Bear in the Big Blue House.

    What has rarely worked are attempts at modernizing old characters. Those attempts are typically the butt of punchlines for any franchise.

    The Muppets (2011) worked because it tapped into audience nostalgia, and their frustration at the current state of entertainment.
    Mr Sweetums likes this.
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Time has been very kind to Tiny Toons. You realize that it was met with a LOT of vitriol and venom from classic LT fans. I'm glad it found an older audience when it did, though. But some LT fans won't accept anything past the fifties (and with the stuff they made in the 60's, you just can't blame them).

    But anyway, the BIGGEST problem was that they spent all this time marketing the Muppets to older audiences that they forgot to do anything more kid friendly. Slapping them on Go-gurt wasn't getting the kids excited for them (though those ones did manage to sell briskly). And I agree, they should have released the rest of the series on DVD by now, and if they still don't want to, there's always Netflix. Dinosaurs is on Netflix right now, but those are all ones released on DVD.
  5. Rugratskid

    Rugratskid Well-Known Member

    Honestly... I've never liked Disney owning the Muppets permanently; I would have been fine with Disney owning the rights for a few years, and then The Muppets go back to the Jim Henson company; that way, Disney made them popular, but they are still with their original owners. I don't have a problem with Sesame Workshop, because Sesame Street was something totally different from The Muppets. For some reason, having The Muppets and Fraggle Rock owned by different people really bothers me. Maybe it's just the fact that the Fraggles get very little attention, but hey, that's just me.

    If I'm gonna be fully truthful, I'm kinda sick of The Muppets...

    Before someone starts yelling at me, let me explain. The Muppets always take the spotlight; I know they were the biggest of Jim's creations (with Sesame Street not far behind), but we need to give his other things a chance to shine. It shouldn't ALWAYS be The Muppets; I could rant more about it, but I won't. :p
    Mr Sweetums likes this.
  6. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Little Muppet Monsters was sort of like that, with the stars being new monster characters, and the Muppets playing supporting roles (and primarily featured in animated segments). The Jim Henson Hour and Muppets Tonight also had a lot more focus on the new characters than on established characters, and those shows didn't last long.

    I didn't realize that Tiny Toons had so much dislike. I liked the show, but preferred the classic Looney Tunes (and Animaniacs) over it. And I am a big fan of the late-1960s Looney Tunes.

    Well, Fraggle Rock has gotten a lot more attention from Henson since selling the Muppets. At least every episode of Fraggle Rock is on DVD by now. Of course Fraggle Rock has the advantage of only using original songs as opposed to covers that would need to be cleared.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  7. Muppet fan 123

    Muppet fan 123 Well-Known Member

    Everybody needs to relax. I'm bummed that's it taking so darn long for Disney to finally come out an say something about the future of the Muppets, but I'm sure this isn't the end.

    I was pretty concerned about it as well, but to be honest, the Muppets are still something that Disney is invested in. They're interested in making the Muppets great again, and I think they would be interested in new Muppety things. I think it's safe to say that there's no new movie on the horizon for the next 2-3 years, but this is also coming off the fact that Disney's future is much more large scale and a much more profitable one (Star Wars, Marvel, Frozen etc).

    There were rumors of a Muppet TV show in the works *as reported by Collider.com in an interview with Nick Stroller). I wouldn't be surprised if Disney actually does this. I think they'll want more Muppet stuff, but as far as theatrical films, they're more interested in Marvel Phase Three and the new Star Wars films.
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Here's what Henson would have done with the Muppets. Years and years of looking for scripts followed by years and years of saying one of them is in production followed by years and years of waiting for nothing to happen. At the very least, we would have seen one not that great TV special that we couldn't get excited about. Worst case scenario, they would have made the movie under Weinstine. And again, follow the Fraggle Rock movie story for reasons that was a bad idea.

    I'm grateful Disney actually tried and am hugely disappointed that it freaked the crap out that it only made 20 million over the budget internationally (poor babies) that it's all but tossing the franchise aside. I agree a movie in the future may be a stretch (but raucous family comedy crap like Alexander and the etc etc Day will continue to get made), but there's still venues for the characters. The internet and comics worked great for them before TM's release, they can surely do that again.

    Then again, we're talking about the same company that's just tossed Phineas and Ferb aside, considering how much money that thing has made in merchandising over the years. It was the show that brought back Disney TV Animation after years of crap identical tweenybopper shows (that it still has, but no longer floods the market). And Gravity Falls and Wander over Yonder are cult hits that would see better ratings if they weren't on the channel no one gets.
    Duke Remington and Mr Sweetums like this.
  9. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    That doesn't mean the idea isn't sound. ;)
  10. muppetperson

    muppetperson Well-Known Member

    What you have just said proves ownership doesn't necessarily alter anything. You mentioned that Fraggle Rock isn't getting much attention under the Jim Henson Company, so the same can happen with The Muppets.
    I guess Disney are just giving the Muppets a breather so people don't get sick of them.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  11. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Disney is far from done with the Muppets. They just finished a web siries,and in 2015 they will be doinn inserts for Disney Junoir. There is also a new video game for the Ps Via called Muppet Movie Adventures. So even though it's not a lot they are doing things with the Muppets.
    Duke Remington and Muppet Master like this.
  12. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    One thing I'd like to see for the 60th anniversary is a special web series focusing on minor/supporting characters. Maybe call it "Meet the Minor Muppets". It could be like a cross between Pepe's Profiles and Disney Drive On, have Walter hang out with the more obscure characters (since Peter Linz doesn't have any other major Muppet characters, then Walter can interract with anyone and they wouldn't have to worry about whether the character has the same performer). Maybe he could interview them, or maybe just interact with them.

    Or maybe to make it more of a celebration, a webseries focusing on secondary and lesser characters, and also provide clips from past appearances of these characters (that would have made a good companion piece for The Muppets Character Encyclopedia). There's plenty of recently-rebuilt characters who could be used.

    Or there could be a comic book mini-series like this. Maybe make it more like the recent Fraggle Rock comics than Muppet comics and have each issue feature three stories each, focusing on different characters. With it as a comic book, they wouldn't have to discriminate against characters in need of being rebuilt or in need of a suitable performer.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  13. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    I hate to dissagree but even still Disney is still trying to find a right place for the Muppets and they are still trying to reintroduce character s llike Rowlf and Scoote.So they really don't havve time to focus on minor Muppets.
    beaker likes this.
  14. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Sometimes it feels like, besides the (still) underground Muppet online fanbase(us, tough pigs, etc) that Disney are the only other Muppet diehard obsessive fans. It just feels like the public by and large doesn't seem as into them as Disney higher ups and us.

    Yeah please do not get me wrong. Disney is the largest entertainment company on the planet. They, for better or worse OWN all the major franchises on the planet(Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, Disney animation, etc) and have to allocate spotlight and time for those. I'm guessing Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar will take up 100% of their attention and time in 2015. BUT...BUT I say this. It's proven time and time again people within Disney in the last few years have the obsessive fan drive we do for the Muppets. I mean we have gotten two major theatrical films that both had the full unwielding Disney might behind them.
    It's been light to non existent on merchandise, but even I was taken aback by how far the Diz is willing to go to promote Muppet films.

    My question is "what now?" Are they looking toward finally doing a new TV show? TV Specials? Etc?

    I LOVED Muppets Drive, despite it being only six episodes. I thought it was a more nuanced Walter driven fun little show. I'd like to see more of those as I feel Muppets always work in episodic online form(quite the opposite, I think the Muppets are VERY ILL SUITED and terrible on Disney Channel teen shows)

    I have faith for 2015 and beyond. Just, I am left with this existential question of where do they go from here?
  15. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    I kind of agree with that, and kind of don't. Sure the general public may not "like" the Muppets,but I think the main reason for that is they are not out and about like with Star Wars and others. Putting a movie out every three yearsor so with very little merchidse will not keep the Muppets popular.
  16. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Like I always say. Disney doesn't just release big name films every year. There's always a quiet family film or two somewhere in the shuffle that costs little, makes little, and doesn't interfere with Pixar or Marvel films. The Muppets would be a great spot for that. It shouldn't be treated as a Lone Ranger/John Carter level of loss since even MMW made 20 mil back internationally and just almost back its budget domestic. Bad timing screwed the movie, sure, but Disney has lost larger amounts of money before. Even some of those got second chances on DVD.

    I'll admit I'm very disappointed in the merchandising, but we actually got some. I still fail to see why they didn't make smaller, cheaper bean bags of characters instead of large dolls, but that seems to be everything they're doing now. Not even with big Hero 6. You'd think small Baymax plushes would be obvious, but... Meanwhile, let's look at it this way. Considering how FR is marketed under Henson we'd probably only see high scale merchandise no one could afford that never comes out. Sucks we're not in the 2002 merchandising blitz where we were actually complaining about how much stuff was coming out and how cheap everything that wasn't Palisades was. Now if we see a crappy dollar magnet set at target, it's huge news.
    dwayne1115 likes this.
  17. muppetlover123

    muppetlover123 Well-Known Member

    Im wondering the exact same thing which is what is next for them
  18. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    The muppets need to get back to TV. That is really the only way to get them popular, put TMS reruns on TV and all that to get them popular, and put TMS on Netflix since that is all anyone ever watches anymore. Better yet, make a new muppet series, probably on ABC, make it a family show, and a sitcom, put it on Tuesdays or Wednesdays if a spot clears up for it, see how big the muppets are when you do not have to pay for them, the ratings would be large.
    CensoredAlso and cahuenga like this.
  19. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I find it hard to believe that the Muppets aren't doing anything much lately. Especially if anyone here has posted on the "Sesame Street" or "Henson People" threads we know that Steve isn't performing Ernie this season and the most likely reason for that is because he's busy working for Disney, so based on the information that you just gave we have other Muppet projects coming and hopefully will be seeing more in the future.

    Right. After two successful movies Disney may just be figuring out how to top that. We just need to give them time.

    Well, they tried that with MT! only they aired that on Fridays and later on Saturdays, but that didn't go over to well. I sort of wish we had a Clifford smilie so I can illustrate my point.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  20. Mr Sweetums

    Mr Sweetums Well-Known Member

    I think the best thing the Muppets could do at the moment is take over the internet with viral videos, lots and lots of viral videos. Pigs in Space, Swedish Chef Kitchen, Muppet Labs, Fozzie's jokes, Gonzo's stunts, vet's hospital, Electric Mayhem songs basically they need to bring TMS online. Also and this is probably the fan in me talking but a Muppet 60 Year Celebration TV special would be incredible, along the same lines as the TV special celebrating 30 years... actually I'm going to watch this now, it's been a very long time since I have.

    Hopefully then they can have their own TV show once they've built up a bigger fanbase with their viral videos and figure out what works and what doesn't. Once they have a tv show then you give them another movie with a lot of merchandise, i want to walk into the Disney Store and purchase Sam the Eagle, Sweetums and Lew Zealand merchandise. :attitude::grr::fishy:

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