Night at the Museum

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Night at the Museum

Promotional poster
Directed byShawn Levy
Produced by
Screenplay byThomas Lennon
Robert Ben Garant
Based onThe Night at the Museum by
Milan Trenc
Starring
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyGuillermo Navarro
Editing byDon Zimmerman
Studio
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • December 22, 2006 (2006-12-22)
Running time108 minutes
CountryUS
LanguageEnglish
Budget$110 million
Box office$574,480,841[1]
 
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Night at the Museum

Promotional poster
Directed byShawn Levy
Produced by
Screenplay byThomas Lennon
Robert Ben Garant
Based onThe Night at the Museum by
Milan Trenc
Starring
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyGuillermo Navarro
Editing byDon Zimmerman
Studio
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • December 22, 2006 (2006-12-22)
Running time108 minutes
CountryUS
LanguageEnglish
Budget$110 million
Box office$574,480,841[1]

Night at the Museum is a 2006 fantasy adventure-comedy film based on the 1993 children's book The Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc. It follows a divorced father trying to settle down, impress his son, and find his destiny. He applies for a job as a night watchman at New York City's American Museum of Natural History and subsequently discovers that the exhibits, animated by a magical Egyptian artifact, come to life at night.

Released on December 22, 2006 by 20th Century Fox, which presented the 1492 Pictures/21 Laps Entertainment Production in association with Ingenious Film Partners, the film was written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon of Comedy Central's Reno 911! and MTV's The State and produced and directed by Shawn Levy. Also producing for 1492 Pictures were Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan. The cast includes Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Jake Cherry, Ricky Gervais, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, and Robin Williams. A new novelization of the screenplay by Leslie Goldman was published as a film tie-in.

A sequel titled Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was released on May 22, 2009.

Contents

Plot

Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is divorced, unable to keep a stable job, and has failed at many business ventures. His ex-wife (Kim Raver) believes that he is a bad example to their eleven year-old son Nick (Jake Cherry), and Larry fears that Nick respects his future stepfather, bond trader Don (Paul Rudd), more than him.

Cecil (Dick Van Dyke), an elderly night security guard about to retire from the American Museum of Natural History, hires Larry despite his unpromising résumé. Because of recent financial troubles, the museum plans to replace Cecil and his two colleagues Gus (Mickey Rooney) and Reginald (Bill Cobbs) with one guard. They advise Larry to leave some of the lights on and warn him not to let anything "in...or out".

Once night comes, Larry discovers that the exhibits come to life, including a living Tyrannosaurus skeleton nicknamed "Rexy" who behaves like a dog (who fetches one of his ribs); a mischievous capuchin monkey named Dexter (Crystal), which always steals Larry's keys (and also urinates on him and tears up his instruction manual); rival miniature civilizations led by Old West cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Roman general Octavius (Steve Coogan); an Easter Island Moai (Brad Garrett), who calls Larry dum-dum and loves gum-gum; and wax models of the likes of Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), and Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), who makes a habit of chasing Larry wildly through the museum with his Huns.

Roosevelt explains that since an Egyptian artifact—the Golden Tablet of Pharaoh Akhmenrah—came to the museum in 1952, all of the exhibits come to life each night. If the exhibits are outside of the museum during sunrise, however, they turn to dust. Roosevelt helps Larry by restoring order, and he decides to remain as a guard.

On Cecil's advice, Larry studies history to prepare himself better. He also learns from a museum docent, Rebecca Hutman (Carla Gugino), who is writing a dissertation on Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck) but does not feel she knows enough about her subject.

The next night, Larry uses what he has learned to better control the exhibits (helping solve the Neanderthals' quest for fire by tossing them a cigarette lighter; giving the Easter Island head a wad of chewing gum (which causes him to blow a big bubble that pops); tricking Dexter with a set of toy keys; and making a truce between the dioramas). However, things go awry when his attempt at winning over Atilla with cheap magic tricks fails, the dioramas continue fighting despite their agreement with Larry and Dexter is able to steal Larry's keys again and let out all of the animal exhibits. The Neanderthals then set fire to a display and one turns to dust when he leaves the museum at dawn (his ashes are promptly swept up by a street sweeper). This makes the museum director Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) almost fire Larry. Nick in the meanwhile overhears this conversation along with his friends. The same day Larry offers Rebecca a meeting with Sacagawea, but she believes that he is mocking her and the museum, and leaves him.

Larry brings Nick to the museum to show him the exhibits, but none is alive. They investigate and catch Cecil, Gus, and Reginald in the act of stealing the tablet and other valuable objects. Like the exhibits, the guards receive enhanced vitality from the artifact; wishing to retain their health and fund their retirements, the three plan to frame Larry for the thefts, and disabled the tablet to stop the exhibits from interfering. Nick reactivates the tablet, but Cecil locks him and his father in the Egyptian room and flees with the tablet.

Larry releases the Akhmenrah's (Rami Malek) mummy from his sarcophagus. The pharaoh speaks English from many years as an exhibit at Cambridge, and helps Larry and Nick escape. The three find the other exhibits fighting all over the lobby, and Larry convinces them to work together. Although some of the exhibits capture Gus and Reginald without difficulty, Cecil escapes by stagecoach with Larry, Nick, Akmenrah, Jedediah, Octavius, and Atilla the Hun in pursuit in Central Park, where they stop him and regain the tablet. While in a taxicab, Rebecca sees the exhibits return to the museum before sunrise and realizes that Larry was telling the truth; so she enters the museum, and he introduces her to Sacagawea.

Dr. McPhee fires Larry due to the chaos during the night, but rehires him when news reports of the strange events around the museum—such as cave paintings in the museum's subway station, dinosaur footprints in Central Park, and cavemen sightings—raise attendance. Larry, Nick, and the exhibits celebrate, while Cecil, Gus, and Reginald are forced to become museum janitors to evade being sent to jail.

Production

The building featured in the film, which was constructed on a sound stage in Burnaby, British Columbia, is based on the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, external shots of which were used in the movie.[2]

Trainers spent several weeks training Crystal, who plays the troublemaking monkey Dexter, to slap and bite Stiller in the film.

Director Shawn Levy credited Ben Stiller for the ensemble cast: "When actors hear that Ben Stiller is in a movie they want to work with him. It['s] a high-water mark and it absolutely draws actors in and I'm convinced that's a big part of why we got this cast."[3]

Cast

Music

Songs

Ben Stiller claimed that he watched Tom Cruise in the Mission: Impossible films to learn how to imitate his running technique, shown here as Stiller portraying his film character running for dear life from the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton (Rexy).[3]

Reception

Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from movie critics, receiving a 44% rating from noted critics and a 39% "Top Critics" rating, both meaning "rotten" at Rotten Tomatoes and a 48/100 rating on Metacritic, indicating mixed or average reviews.[4] James Berardinelli of Reelviews gave it 2 stars out of 4, and commented on Stiller's performance by stating "It might be fair to give Ben Stiller an 'A' for effort, but to call what he does in this movie "acting" is a misnomer. He does a lot of running around, occasionally falling down or bumping into things."[5] One positive review by William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, gave it a B-, and stated that the film was "Out to impress and delight a family audience with the pageantry of human and natural history, and that's a surprisingly worthy ambition for a Hollywood comedy."[6] However, it received a "fresh" 65% from the RT community.[7] In a case of life imitating art, museum officials at the American Museum of Natural History have credited the film for increasing the number of visitors during the holiday season by almost 20%. According to a museum official, between December 22, 2006, and January 2, 2007, there were 50,000 more visitors than during the same period the prior year.[8]

Box office

Night at the Museum was the highest grossing film in its opening weekend, grossing $30.8 million in 3,685 theaters. For the four-day Christmas holiday weekend, it took in $42.2 million.[1] The movie was also released in IMAX large screen format, often on site at museums of science or natural history such as the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

In its second weekend, Night at the Museum expanded into eighty-three more theaters and took in approximately $37.8 million at the box-office, out-grossing its opening weekend. It maintained its #1 position in its third week, with an additional $24 million. In total, as of Monday, April 30, 2007, the film had grossed $571,069,550: $250,224,440 in the U.S. and Canada, and $320,845,110 in the rest of the world.[9]

DVD release

The film was released on a 2-Disc DVD edition in the United Kingdom on April 2, 2007. It was released on 1-Disc and 2-Disc DVD editions and Blu-ray Disc format on April 24, 2007 elsewhere.

The film became the first non-Disney film to be reviewed by Ultimate Disney, due to the website dealing with other studios besides Disney.[10][11]

References

  1. ^ a b "Night at the Museum (2006)". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=nightatthemuseum.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  2. ^ "MovieLocationsGuide.com". Night at the Museum Filming Locations. http://www.movielocationsguide.com/Night_at_the_Museum/filming_locations. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Sun2Surf.com". Stiller shifts to the Museum. http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=16582. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  4. ^ "RottenTomatoes.com". Night at the Museum (2006). http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/night_at_the_museum/. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  5. ^ "Reelviews.com". Night at the Museum. http://www.reelviews.net/movies/n/night_museum.html. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  6. ^ Arnold, William (December 21, 2006). "SeattlePI.com". Shallow 'Museum' exhibits some appealing qualities. http://www.seattlepi.com/movies/296769_museum22q.html. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  7. ^ "Night at the Museum - Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/night_at_the_museum/reviews_users.php?page=1&critic=approved&sortby=date&name_order=asc&view=#mo. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  8. ^ "msnbc.com". Movie boosts Natural History Museum visits. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16549060/. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
  9. ^ Box Office Mojo - Movie Index, A-Z[dead link]
  10. ^ "UltimateDisney.com". Non-Disney films to be reviewed by Ultimate Disney.. http://www.ultimatedisney.com/archives-0407b.html. Retrieved April 20, 2007.
  11. ^ "UltimateDisney.com". "Night at the Museum" at UltimateDisney.com. http://www.ultimatedisney.com/nightatthemuseum-560.html. Retrieved April 24, 2007.

External links