The disparity of commercial and critical acclaim between The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted is pretty striking. The first scored 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and raked in $165 million worldwide; the follow-up dropped to 79% on RT, and only $70 million worldwide. Box-office-wise, that’s a drastic drop-off for what should have been a surefire hit, and it’s likely stopped the Muppets cold when it comes to their theatrical adventures. But no one keep the Muppets down, so when will we see them again?
At the press day for Neighbors, Steve spoke with director Nicholas Stoller, and their conversation turned to The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted, both of which Stoller co-wrote. During the interview, Stoller talked about not knowing why Muppets Most Wanted flopped, but more importantly, he talked about the possibility of bring the Muppets back to television. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
It’s sometimes tough for someone who worked on a film to figure out (or at least publicly admit) why that film didn’t connect with audiences. Stoller pitched a few theories about why Muppets Most Wanted underperformed at the box office, but couldn’t say for sure:
NICHOLAS STOLLER: Yeah, everyone was really surprised, myself included, because I love the way it came out, and I love the movie. Because honestly James and I set out to do something, which was to do kind of a great Muppet caper movie. And I literally have no idea. It was a more crowded marketplace than we realized. I think Peabody & Sherman stuck around for a little longer than we thought it would. Who knows? It’s too bad, but my hope is that it kind of lives on.
That leads to the obvious question of whether or not the Muppets will live on television:
STOLLER: I know they’re working on something to get them back on TV. I have no idea where it’s at, but I definitely think so. I mean, they’re such rich characters, and it’s very easy to pitch on stories for them, and think of ideas for them. They don’t feel used up…I think there’s a big opportunity for that kind of variety show. You could do it partially live. There are all these things you could do with Muppets that you can’t do with a lot of other things.
It’s a nice idea for sure, but Stoller says he isn’t involved. “I know the puppeteers have been working on something,” Stoller says, “or the people in charge of the Muppets.”
Here’s Stoller talking about The Muppets. Look for more with Stoller soon.