The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland
|The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gary Halvorson|
|Produced by||Kevin Clash
Martin G. Baker
|Written by||Mitchell Kriegman
Vanessa L. Williams
|Music by||John Debney|
|Edited by||Alan Baumgarten
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland is a 1999 American musical fantasy-comedy film directed by Gary Halvorson. It is the second theatrical feature-length film based on the popular U.S. children's series Sesame Street. Produced by Jim Henson Pictures in association with the Children's Television Workshop and released by Columbia Pictures on March 12, 1999, the film co-stars Mandy Patinkin and Vanessa L. Williams. CTW could not use Kermit the Frog due to being in production of Muppets from Space. The film was shot in Wilmington, North Carolina at EUE/Screen Gems. This is one of the few Sesame Street productions directly produced by The Jim Henson Company (The other ones being the 1974 television special, Out to Lunch and the 1989 television special, Sesame Street… 20 Years & Still Counting). It is also the only Sesame Street production to be owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Elmo is playing with his blanket in his house. After he bumps his blanket on a juice cup and after drying off his blanket at the laundromat, Elmo sees Zoe feeling depressed because her father cannot take her to the zoo, so he decides to make Zoe happy again by imitating certain zoo animals (a lion, a monkey, and a pig). When Zoe sees his blanket, Elmo refuses to share, resulting in a tug-of-war that has Elmo's blanket ripped slightly. Elmo is furious and declares that he and Zoe are no longer friends. Suddenly, Telly Monster inadvertently takes away the blanket while rollerskating out of control. They go around Finders Keepers and knock over a tray of drinks Ruthie is carrying. Telly hits Cookie Monster at the revolving door of Furry Arms hotel. The blanket accidentally lands in the hands of Oscar the Grouch, who drops it in his trashcan after sneezing on it. Elmo drops into the bottom of Oscar's trash can, where he finds the blanket nailed to a door. But they are both teleported to Grouchland USA, a world filled with Grouches where a greedy man named Huxley (Mandy Patinkin) steals anything he can grab including Elmo's blanket. Elmo is determined to find his blanket and begins a journey through Grouchland. He asks a kind girl named Grizzy to help in his quest, but she later abandons him when Elmo discovers that Huxley's house is on the top of the faraway Mount Pickanose.
Meanwhile, the Sesame Street residents are informed of Elmo's absence and go to Grouchland to find him, with help from Oscar. When Big Bird and Zoe find a Grouch Police Officer and Big Bird asks him for help, the entire group ends up arrested as the Grouch Police Officer informs them that it is against Grouchland's laws to ask a police officer for help and that they have the right to scream their heads off.
Meanwhile, Huxley's sidekick Bug and the Pesties trap Elmo in a tunnel using a trap door. However, he gets out with the help of fireflies. Then, he meets the Queen of Trash (Vanessa L. Williams) in a garbage dump area. He leaves her dump by giving the queen 100 raspberries in 30 seconds. Elmo succeeds and continues walking to Huxley's house. He is then chased by a humongous chicken named "Tiny", but gets away. When night comes, he stops at a rock to rest, discouraged.
When Grizzy learns of the Sesame Street friends being arrested, she tells them of Elmo's location in Huxley's house. Oscar the Grouch is convinced to help set things right as well as admitting that Elmo is his friend. He then convinces the Grouch Police Officer and all the of Grouches of Grouchland that even though Grouches hate cooperation, just for once they have to take a stand against Huxley from stealing any more of their stuff. Taking light to this problem, the Grouch Police Officer releases the Sesame Street residents and aids them to go to Huxley's house to fight for their trash and rescue Elmo.
A caterpillar wakes up Elmo the next morning on the rock. He gives Elmo advice to look inside his body and he'll see that he'll be brave. He then makes it to Huxley's before he could make Elmo's blanket his blanket. However, Huxley prevents Elmo from escaping by grabbing him with a claw and deciding to label them "MINE". Just as Elmo is about to face the fate of never seeing his friends again, the Sesame Street and the Grouchland citizens appear in time to rescue Elmo and the Pesties flee. Bug takes Elmo's blanket from Huxley and turns against him as Elmo catapults a basket over his shoulders. Bug then gives Elmo his blanket back. Elmo is hailed a hero by the Sesame Street and Grouchland citizens and Huxley tries to change his mind about his selfishness. Elmo, happy to get his blanket back, goes with his friends back to his own world and apologizes to Zoe for not sharing his blanket and hurting her feelings. Elmo says goodbye to the audience when Ernie and Bert head home as the film ends.
Humans of Sesame Street
- Alison Bartlett-O'Reilly as Gina
- Ruth Buzzi as Ruthie
- Emilio Delgado as Luis
- Loretta Long as Susan
- Sonia Manzano as Maria
- Bob McGrath as Bob
- Roscoe Orman as Gordon
- Kevin Clash as Pestie, Grouch Jailer, Grouch Taxicab Driver
- Fran Brill as Zoe, Pestie, Prairie Dawn
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo as Grizzy, Pestie
- Dave Goelz as Humongous Chicken
- Steve Whitmire as Ernie, Stuckweed, Sharon Groan, Football Stenchman, Bad Humor Man, Parrot
- Frank Oz as Bert, Grover, Cookie Monster
- Jerry Nelson as Count von Count, Pestie, Grouch Mayor, Grouch Police Officer, Voice of Mr. Johnson
- Caroll Spinney as Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch
- Martin P. Robinson as Laundromat Manager, Pestie, Telly Monster
- Matt Vogel as Big Bird (puppetry in some scenes)
- David Rudman as Baby Bear, Alarm Clock Bird, Fat Blue Anything Muppet, Caterpillar, Pestie, Collander Stenchman, Grouch Ice Cream Customer, Puppeteer of Mr. Johnson, Various Grouches
- Joey Mazzarino as Bug
- Carmen Osbahr as Rosita
The film has a 77% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film's consensus states, "This fun and moral tale entertains both first-time Sesame Street watchers and seasoned veterans." On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film holds a 59/100, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Box office controversy
In spite of being released during a time when Elmo was becoming a phenomenally popular Muppet character (mainly thanks to Tickle Me Elmo), Elmo in Grouchland was a box office bomb, being the only family film playing in most theaters at the time of its release. Sony had planned a very scaled-back release, opening in an only a slightly-wide release making it difficult to make its money back. The film opened at #8, with a weekend gross of $3,255,033 from 1,210 theaters, averaging $2,690 per venue. In total, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland earned back less than half its $26 million budget, grossing $11,683,047 during its two-and-a-half-month theatrical run. It is currently the lowest-grossing Muppet film to date.
The movie was released on VHS and DVD on December 21, 1999.
The film inspired a trilogy of children's books, published in 1999: Happy Grouchy Day, The Grouchiest Lovey and Unwelcome to Grouchland. The book series was written by Suzanne Weyn and illustrated by Tom Brannon.
- Official website
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland at the Internet Movie Database
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland at the TCM Movie Database
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland at AllMovie
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland on Muppet Wiki, an external wiki
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland at Box Office Mojo
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland at Metacritic