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Is there a reason why Disney dislikes releasing Muppet DVD's?

Discussion in 'Muppet Merchandise' started by beaker, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    That's what everybody was saying in 2011 when THE MUPPETS (2011) came out... then again last year when MMW came out.
  2. Nailwraps

    Nailwraps New Member

    Third time's the charm.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  3. WalterLinz

    WalterLinz Well-Known Member

    Lol I dunnooo...:fanatic:
  4. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    2011 Muppets movie was an anomaly, as I just get the feeling the public by and large, cept for some older college geeks, are not big into the Muppets. In 2003 I quipped how Brian Henson's Farscape at the time had a much larger fanbase than the Muppets. I still maintain actual Muppet fans are rather underground. Contrast this with how virtually every household in America has Disneyana merchandise.

    It makes me sad. I envisioned a day when the Muppets were back on tv, popularity, merchandise, etc...and despite two movies and a lot of marketing muscle...it feels worse than the EM.TV owned era. Much worse. Things don't feel like they are on the right track

    Can anyone speculate as to why the Muppets aren't very popular?
  5. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Rocky and Bulwinkle as well as Courage and other classic cartoons you've mentioned do not have the lineage, legacy or prolific nature of The Muppets and Jim Henson productions, not by a long mile. There could literally be a 24 hour jim henson/sesame/muppet channel and they'd never run out of things to show...yet, we have gotten hardly any dvd releases in the last 5 years.
  6. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Lionsgate is the BEST thing to happen to the Muppets/Jim Henson DVD releases, like ever.
  7. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    For the record I am not a Disney hater. Used to be during the original Muppet Disney buy era, but I like most of you am wildly excited about Marvel, Star Wars and original CG fair like Wreck it Ralph and Big Hero 6.

    I'm just concerned as a Muppet fan of nearly four decades what the legacy or gameplan will be. I can't explain why MMW bombed, given I loved it a thousand times more than the 2011 movie. But it just feels like when it comes to dvds, Disney just seems content on re-releasing the old movies(and not the ones Columbia owns, haha) forever
  8. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    I have to object entirely to the thought that the Muppets are underground. They are certainly not a first tier property as they were in the early 80's, but they are not some completely niche property either. Not in the least!

    Physical products are a hard sell for any property. How many affordable Mickey Mouse figures do you see in local shops? How many Mickey Mouse binders and notebooks do you see at Walgreens? There's basically a trickle of Mickey greeting cards and maybe some wrapping paper for this singular icon of the Walt Disney Company. Fans can't expect for Disney to treat the Muppets any better than the Mouse - or even half as good right now. But that's not because they're "underground" or niche. They just aren't quite popular enough.

    And that's the rub. If they were underground, Disney would give up and just exploit them for niche venues like Hot Topic, but they don't. Most people I've met still voice their affection toward the Muppets. In fact, except for some of the cynical millennials, everyone loves the Muppets! So are they underground? No. Are they particularly popular right now? No. The truth is that they're kind of middling in the public consciousness and as a fan I'm uncomfortable with that.

    Many fans seem to have a black or white view of things - something is either a remarkable success or a complete flop. Most things live in that middle space. That's kind of where the Muppets are now. They're quite above ground. They're just not quite in the right place yet, but I have faith in them.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Which is pretty annoying. Mainstream love of Muppets boils down to. "Oh, I remember those guys!" and "Hey! They were in a Family Guy Cutscene! I wonder what happened to them." Yet not "Oh, they made another movie. Let's go see it and buy some merchandise." Instead we got 2011- "oh cool! They have a new movie! They made a comeback." 2014 was more like "you mean to tell me comeback means they're making more than one movie? *&^% That! We're totally sick of you already! Hollywood is out of ideas! Where's the imaginary indie film I wouldn't actually go see that didn't get made because this thing exists?" So apparently, movie goers love a comeback, just not when they actually stay back.

    As for the DVD's, and this is the trillionth time I said this, if it's music rights, it's because some greedy old music owners who would rather make more money off of changing the lyrics of a song to sell laxitives against the original artist's wishes. If it's Disney wembling about with the release, it's their fault and their fault only. They had the chance to release S4 a half a decade ago, but kept putting it off for no good reason. Then they just didn't. I don't see who benefits from that at all.
  10. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    A recent Google search led me to a blog article from last year that discussed last year's MMW attendance. So many of the posts cited the 2011 film being the "real" Muppets because they seemed more "sincere." That is just bonkers-insane to me. Those must be the most casual of Muppet fans. The Muppets aren't supposed to be cynical, but they're not overly syrupy or sincere either. They're basically slightly naive, fuzzy anarchists led by their own self-interests and the humor comes when their personalities are juxtaposed to the human world and/or one another. They're not really all about getting along and hugging. I swear if I saw the Swedish Chef hug one more chicken in Segel's film, I was gonna lose it! While I did like that picture, those were softer, gentler characters. They didn't really show their full-fledged Mupppetyness until they kidnapped Jack Black. They didn't do it out of malice. They just didn't understand why it was wrong. Again, naive self-interest. Ha! MMW has that in spades.

    I still maintain the weak numbers reflected the anemic 2014 general box office. Sure, there were some smash hits scattered throughout, but there were more fizzles and disappointments. People didn't go because they didn't see the need to go. Kids and families already had the 2011 film on home video and teens had little reason to shell out another twelve bucks to go see a movie that would hit cable and Netflix soon enough. That was the mood of most movies last year. Let's be honest. Movies only hit theaters for about a month, then their shelved for another three before hitting the home entertainment marketplace. I know some reviewers cited a shift in tone (one I think was needed) but the truth is that the Muppets had no real reason to be back in theaters quite yet - and if they did, it should have been a year earlier and closer to the 2011 release date.

    There's still much love for the classic Muppets. Sure, Beaker, Animal and the Swedish Chef get a lot of love from these novice fans, but it's not for the Family Guy versions of them. I don't think it's for the 2011 version of those characters either. It used to be rare for audiences to have to pay a premium to see these characters. They used to be piped-in via television or in basic cable reruns. Movies were a rare thing. With the absence of reruns on television and the web segments hidden away in the Drive On area of the Disney site (they might as well just be in the Disney vault itself) there's little traction. The ad campaign was great. Maybe some potential audience members filled up on that before the main course.
  11. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    It really is annoying what the average person think of the muppets which is cute and cuddly. People saw like one muppet movie, probably MCC, and thought they were sweet little things that have adorable little lives. This image will never be erased, as long as the muppets are puppets, they will be seen as kids stuff. This is the sad truth for the franchise.
  12. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Which is something Jim himself worked so hard on. Proving that they could be for everyone,and not just kids.
    jvcarroll likes this.
  13. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I really like The Muppets, I really do. But the idiotic reaction from critics and audiences slamming this picture for not being the same emotionally manipulative, celebrity driven piece makes me not like it as much. A Wacky romp through Europe is far more Muppety than the last film, and closer to what they are about. I could have seen that film being made by Jim and the rest (with different results, of course). But you know. Audiences want pathos except when they don't. They want a light hearted Superman and serious Muppets for some reason. Anything that doesn't fit their fickle mold of what's hip gets automatically snarked all over because that's all entertainment blogs are. Snark snark snark. And not even quality MST3K snark.

    The fact that there's a comedy ghetto in a comedy group is baffling. Then there's always the "we want something original" crowd, which are usually a bunch of snobs that want more indie films that they're never going to see unless they hit cable on a rainy day.

    Other than that, it's nice Disney still has plans for the characters somehow and is not taking the film's just a little over budget making back internationally where they screwed up anyway into account. Of course they're going to have a crapload of Marvel, Frozen, Star Wars, and Pixar, since that's what they'd do even if MMW was a major success. In three of those cases, they spent a crapload to acquire them, and the other case, they had the biggest hit with a female slanted film since forever.
    Duke Remington and jvcarroll like this.
  14. Muppet Master

    Muppet Master Well-Known Member

    It's not like much money was lost, even when MFS bombed extremely hard, the muppets were all over the place, so if this was not really a flop, then I doubt we would not see anymore new material with them even if it is just late night or talk show appearances.
  15. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Can I just say that I hate it when today's viewing public bases their interest on something from yesteryears simply because of a FAMILY GUY cut scene? If there's one kind of YT comment that's more annyoing and spammy than, "FIRST!" it's, "FAMILY GUY BROUGHT ME HERE!"
    Once again, the problem in and of itself is sequels! Remember a few years ago we were complaining about 3D becoming an overused gimmick that people were getting sick of? That's what's become of sequels today: every single freakin' movie in this day and age gets one or more sequels, it's tired, it's overused, and it's gimmick -- the movie industry is clearly just wanting to further cash in on a certain movie's success by cranking out sequels. It's not like it was back ten or even twenty years ago, when a sequel was something to genuinely look forward to, because then, sequels really were about continuing the story into new, uncharted territory, and further developing the characters; now, sequels are more or less studios just wanting to milk franchises for more than their worth. Do we honestly need TOY STORY 4 at this point, after TOY STORY 3 wrapped up the story nicely? As far as MMW is concerned, it came out during a time when people are sick of sequels. We, as Muppet Freaks, are natually delighted to see Disney put more effort into the Muppets after they sat on them for almost a decade, but the thing of it is, Muppet Freaks are only a small percentage of the general public, and again, the majority of the general public is sick of sequels... go to any discussion thread for a sequel movie, and sift through all of the topics and threads that ask, "Why did this need to get made?" Even if MMW didn't actually acknowledge the sequel hook (which I think itself was a mistake, because Muppet movies aren't suposed to sequel each other, they're stand-alone features each one), the fact that there's another Muppet movie so shortly after one just came out is going to get backlash from people who are sick and tired of seeing the same movies get sequeled over and over again.
  16. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I agree with you...some might make the comparison to Looney Tunes, though LT doesn't have much in the way of newer shorts or projects. It's probably for the best Sesame completely detached to it's own thing, as already we see so many Sesame products/shirts/etc sold for both teens and adults as well as toddlers...to the point the public still conflate Sesame with TMS characters.

    That is a good point, about specific Mickey and Minnie Mouse merchandise being hard to come by these days(compared to the massive, massive glut of Hello Kitty, Adventure Time, Minecraft, Angry Birds, etc) I just remember we were told by Disney reps that there wouldn't be much merch for the 2011 but if it did well, we'd get the floodgates. But hardly anything worth noting came out after the success of the 2011 film. Hot Topic, like Spencers, sadly is definitely not niche; instead serving up only the most popular of geek franchises(these days being Doctor Who, My Little Pony, Adventure Time, Minecraft, etc) Yet one would think Disney, even in their own parks, would release some sort of merchandise. I wish Disney had a subsidiary they could at least put out new dvds or a channel they could run the old specials and TMS.

    I said this well over a decade ago on here...yes, everyone "loves" the Muppets and people have their "favorite" character. Virtually everyone in America knows who they are, but actual fans/collectors are still underground unless there's other evidence to the contrary. I mean franchises with wayyy smaller visibility and profile have a ton of widely available merchandise, so obviously Disney has zero confidence in the ability to move Muppet merch in stores or at their own parks.
  17. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Thinking about that, yeah, it seems like Sesame Workshop has put out classic material more than Disney has put out pre-2004 Muppet material. Besides the movies, we've gotten three seasons of The Muppet Show and each DVD set had an older special and some additional smaller old content). Meanwhile, we've gotten three volumes of Old School, Best of Sesame Street Spoofs, and the 40th anniversary DVDs, plus a number of single-disc children's-market (as opposed to collectors-market) DVDs that feature a good amount of classic clips (some of the best include A Celebration of Me, Grover!, C is for Cookie Monster, Silly Storytime, Fairy Tale Fun, Best of Friends, and the Play with Me Sesame releases, plus a few that only have one or two classic clips), in addition to other companies releasing the classic specials Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting and A Special Sesame Street Christmas. Sure, the amount of releases with zero classic content greatly outnumbers the ones that do, and there have been a good number of releases with zero classic content that very well could have (especially in the past year... If only M is for Mystery and Learning Rocks weren't releases of full episodes, we might have gotten some Sherlock Hemlock and maybe Little Chrissy and Little Jerry clips released, though they could have put those on as bonus features, and Elmo's Super Numbers would have been a great opportunity to include classic number segments). And in addition to all that, Sesame Workshop has put many classic clips on Hulu and YouTube, as well as it's own wesbite and full classic episodes on iTunes and Netflix. Disney hasn't even done that (Disney did start an official Muppet YouTube channel, but there's no classic Muppet material there, most of it is stuff that premiered online).
  18. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Nostalgia is for selling one higher end item and t-shirts to people who lost interest and only got back to causal because they saw Kermit die in a skit in Robot Chicken. You know, cuz that's like how they end 90% of their skits. Childish thing dies. And that's much more of a draw than the actual franchise doing an actual thing.

    Which is why I hate the film going public. This whole "OOoh! I'm too good for a sequel" fake elitism. It's no win! Something's either a sequel, remake, or copycat (either intentional or not), and when they actually have a movie that has a decent hook, the hook is considered stupid. If I hear "Hollywood is out of ideas" one more time, I'll lose it. Yeah, it sucks that movies are made with Franchises in mind, and only like a third of them deserve it, but face it. Unless you're going to see The Skeleton Twins or a movie that's bound to get nominated for an Oscar before it actual does, it's just wannabe elitism. And you know, snarkysnarksnarksnark snark because smart!

    How many films did Star Trek have that no one really liked until some clown picked apart Into Darkness, and everyone has to hate it to sound smart? And did anyone actually like the Superman movies beyond the original second one until someone ripped apart Man of Steel? And now you get all this defense from the horrible third film no one in their right mind liked.

    Sure, I'm talking about film school grads who best they got was a blog, and wanna be film admirers that worship bad films from their 80's Childhood. What about the general public. The ones that whine and moan about unoriginality yet went to see Grown Ups 2: Adam Sandler Poops in a Thing because they found Pacific Rim too alienating? Seriously. I'm hugely happy Guardians of the Galaxy found an audience, when by all means we should have had elitists going "WOT?! Another Supered Hero movie instead of the plight of a people we wouldn't have heard of or cared about if it wasn't a documentary?" and the general public "Tawkin' Raccoon an' Tree? Tha's stupit! Where's a fat guy fartin' in this?"

    Yeah. I know it sucks CGI pasted kid's movies keep getting made because Chipmunks was an unexpected success. But why take that out on The Muppets, when they've always had movies made? I guess they're happy with their Robot Chicken Cutscenes and one youtube video.
    Duke Remington and mr3urious like this.
  19. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    That's what I was saying previously: each of the Muppet movies were their own, one-off, stand-alone feature - they weren't connected to each other via a plot thread, or a hook, or anything, they each had their own self-contained story. I think that's just about the only problem with MMW is that it was a sequel - it continued where THE MUPPETS (2011) left off, and didn't hide the fact (nor were they shy about the Tom Hanks making TOY STORY 4 joke). I mean, sure, it's just my opinion, but I think MMW would have been a whole lot better had they not done the whole, "We're Doin' a Sequel," bit.
  20. jvcarroll

    jvcarroll Well-Known Member

    I meet Muppet fans all the time. Nobody hides it and it's not underground. I accompanied a friend to a popular local bar last night and a relatively young guy entered with two girls on either arm while he was wearing a new four-character Muppet shirt. That's one of many, many examples. Maybe San Francisco and Los Angeles are different than other places in California, but we certainly have our share of Muppets and fans. Yaaaaaaaaaay! :) (flailing Kermit arms)
    Duke Remington likes this.

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