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Night at the Museum

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Night at the Museum
Theatrical release poster
Directed byShawn Levy
Written by
Based onThe Night at the Museum
by Milan Trenc
Produced by
CinematographyGuillermo Navarro
Edited byDon Zimmerman
Music byAlan Silvestri
Distributed by20th Century Fox[1]
Release dates
  • December 17, 2006 (2006-12-17) (New York City)
  • December 22, 2006 (2006-12-22) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom[1]
  • United States[1]
Budget$110 million[3]
Box office$574.5 million[4]

Night at the Museum is a 2006 American fantasy comedy film directed by Shawn Levy and written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. It is based on the 1993 children's book of the same name by Croatian illustrator Milan Trenc. The film had an ensemble cast of Ben Stiller in the lead role, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, and Robin Williams. It tells the story of a divorced father who 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, the tablet of Akhmenrah, come to life at night. 20th Century Fox released the film on December 22, 2006, and it grossed $574.5 million worldwide, becoming the fifth highest-grossing film of 2006, but received mixed reviews from critics.

Two sequels were released, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian in 2009, and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb in 2014. An animated sequel, Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again, was released on December 9, 2022, for the streaming service Disney+.


In New York City, Larry Daley is a divorced aspiring inventor bouncing between jobs and apartments. His former wife Erica is sympathetic to his situation, but considers him a bad example to their ten-year-old son Nick, an elementary schooler who considers quitting ice hockey and plans to become a bond trader like his mother's fiancé Don when he grows up; while Larry worries that Nick admires Don instead of him, especially after Nick decides to invite Don to Career Day at his school. Larry is hired as the night security guard at the Museum of Natural History, replacing retiring guard Cecil Fredericks and his colleagues Gus and Reginald. Cecil gives Larry a special instructions manual, warning him not to "let anything in... or out".

On his first night, Larry discovers that the museum's exhibits come to life after sunset, including: "Rexy", a playful Tyrannosaurus skeleton; Dexter, a mischievous stuffed capuchin monkey who destroys Larry's manual, along with other taxidermied animals, and later takes his keys; rival miniature civilisations depicting the Old West, Ancient Rome, and Ancient Maya; a chewing gum-loving Easter Island Moai; wax models of Attila the Hun, American Civil War soldiers, and pyromaniacal Neanderthals, as well as Sacagawea, who is encased in glass and cannot hear anyone or anything from outside of it. A horse-mounted Teddy Roosevelt rescues Larry from feuding miniature leaders Jedediah and Octavius, and explains that ever since an ancient Egyptian artifact – the Golden Tablet of Pharaoh Ahkmenrah – arrived in 1952, the exhibits come to life each night, but would turn to dust if left outside the museum at sunrise. As Teddy helps restore order, Larry learns that Teddy is in love with Sacagawea but is too shy to speak to her.

Cecil, Reginald, and Gus check on Larry, who has decided to quit, but Nick and Don stop by to congratulate him on his new job. Larry decides to stay for his son's sake, and Cecil advises reading up on history. Larry is better able to control the exhibits, but is forced to extinguish a fire that the Neanderthals' had caused in their own display, while Dexter steals Larry's keys again and unlocks a window, allowing a Neanderthal to jump out the window and escape onto the street, upon seeing a group of homeless people using a fire pit. Frustrated, Larry again decides to quit, and is unable to save the escaped Neanderthal from disintegrating from the rising sun, while his remains are swept up by a street sweeper. Nick witnesses museum director Dr. McPhee fire Larry over the damaged Neanderthal exhibit, though Larry convinces him to reconsider. Rebecca Hutman, a museum guide and historian writing her dissertation on Sacagawea, believes Larry is mocking her when he tells her the museum's nighttime secret.

Larry brings Nick to the museum but nothing comes to life, and they discover Cecil, Gus and Reginald stealing the tablet and have deactivated it to stop the exhibits from interferring. Like the exhibits, the elderly guards receive enhanced vitality from the tablet, and have plotted to steal it along with other valuable artifacts to fund their retirement and frame Larry for their thievery. Nick reactivates the tablet, bringing the museum back to life and a chase ensues throughout the museum, but the chase is halted when Cecil snatches the tablet away and locks Nick and Larry in the Egyptian room. Larry releases Ahkmenrah's mummy from his sarcophagus, and the pharaoh helps Larry and Nick escape. They find the other exhibits fighting amongst themselves, and Larry convinces them to unite to catch the guards and recover the tablet.

Gus and Reginald are captured, while Cecil escapes in a Pony Express stagecoach. Teddy pushes Sacagawea out of Cecil's path and is sliced in half, but he is still alive. Larry pursues Cecil into Central Park, stopping him and regaining the tablet. Teddy finally bonds with Sacagawea as she repairs him. Rebecca sees the exhibits returning to the museum. She realises the truth, and Larry introduces her to Sacagawea. The next day, McPhee attempts to fire Larry after news reports about the night's strange events – such as The Neanderthals leaving cave paintings in the museum's subway station, and Rexy's dinosaur tracks in Central Park – but the publicity boosts museum attendance. Larry is rehired and celebrates that night with a party, with Nick, Rebecca and the exhibits in attendance.

Cecil, Gus and Reginald are forced to work as museum janitors as punishment for their crimes, and they clean up after the party.





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.[5]

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."[6]



  • "Friday Night" - performed by McFly; not featured in American version of the film, but heard in some international cuts, used during the end credits. It can be heard on the American DVD on the Spanish dub.
  • "September" - performed by Earth, Wind and Fire; used before the end credits where everyone in the museum is partying.
  • "Weapon of Choice" - performed by Fatboy Slim; used in the scene where Larry returns to the museum for his second night and is preparing for the chaos.
  • "Tonight" - performed by Keke Palmer featuring Cham; used for the end credits.
  • An instrumental version of "Mandy" by Barry Manilow is used when Larry is standing in the elevator, while escaping from Attila the Hun.
  • "Ezekiel Saw Them Dry Bones" is the tune Larry whistles as he passes the empty T. rex exhibit on his first night.
  • "Camptown Races" by Stephen Foster is sung by the townspeople of the American West miniature diorama. This is a period-correct song.


Alan Silvestri replaced John Ottman as score composer.[7] Silvestri's score was used for the teaser trailer of Horton Hears a Who!

Night at the Museum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by
Alan Silvestri
ReleasedDecember 19, 2006 (2006-12-19)
GenreFilm score
LabelVarèse Sarabande

Track list[edit]

Varèse Sarabande released a soundtrack album of the score on December 19, 2006.[8]

All tracks are written by Alan Silvestri

Night at the Museum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
1."Night at the Museum"02:35
2."One of Those Days"00:49
3."An Ordinary Guy?"01:27
4."Tour of the Museum"02:35
5."Civil War Soldiers"04:08
6."Out of Africa"01:07
7."Meet Dexter"01:27
8."Mayan Warriors"00:57
9."Where's Rexy?"00:48
10."West from Africa"01:49
11."The Iron Horse"01:06
12."Saved by Teddy"01:57
13."Tablet of Akmenrah"00:37
14."Tracking, Dear Boy"01:08
15."Some Men Are Born Great"00:50
17."Study Up on History"02:15
18."Teddy Likes Sacagawea"01:53
19."Tearing Limbs"01:45
20."Caveman on Fire"00:43
21."Outrun the Sun"00:58
22."Show You What I Do"02:55
23."Tablet's Gone"02:45
24."Theodore Roosevelt at Your Service"01:11
25."This Is Your Moment"02:10
26."Rally the Troops"01:07
27."Tree Take Down"01:21
28."Cecil's Escape"01:26
29."Stage Coach"02:28
30."Teddy in Two"01:18
31."Cab Ride"00:50
32."Big Fan"01:03
33."Heroes Return"00:54
34."A Great Man"00:57
35."Full House"01:21
Total length:53:19


Night at the Museum had its premiere in New York City on December 17, 2006. It was later released on December 22, 2006, in the United States, December 26, 2006, in UK, January 12, 2007, in Brazil, on February 14, 2007, in China and on March 17, 2007, in Japan.[9]


Box office[edit]

At the end of its box office run, Night at the Museum earned a gross of $250.9 million in the US and Canada and $323.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $574.5 million.[4] It was the fifth highest-grossing film of 2006 and also the highest-grossing film worldwide of the trilogy.[10]

It was the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend, grossing $30.8 million and playing in 3,685 theaters, with a $8,258 per-theater average. For the four-day Christmas holiday weekend, it took in $42.2 million.[4] 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 83 more theaters for a total of 3,768, and took in approximately $36.7 million, out-grossing its opening weekend. It maintained the top position in its third week, with an additional $23.7 million.[11] Night at the Museum is the second highest-grossing film of 2006 in the United States and Canada, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.[12]

During its international opening weekend of December 22, 2006, the film grossed a figure of an estimated $5 million, with the highest debut coming from South Korea ($5.04 million).[13] The biggest market in the other territories were the UK, Japan, South Korea, and Germany, where it grossed $40.8 million, $30 million, $25.7 million, $22.9 million.[14]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Night at the Museum has an approval rating of 43% based on 138 reviews and an average rating of 5.2/10. The site's critical consensus read, "Parents might call this either a spectacle-filled adventure or a shallow and vapid CG-fest, depending on whether they choose to embrace this on the same level as their kids."[15] As of October 2020, on Metacritic, the film had a score of 48 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[16] According to CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[17]

Justin Chang of Variety magazine wrote: "This rambunctious, "Jumanji"-style extravaganza is a gallery of special effects in search of a story; rarely has so much production value yielded so little in terms of audience engagement."[18] 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."[19] 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."[20]

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 7, 2007, there were 50,000 more visitors than during the same period the prior year.[21]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on a 2-Disc DVD edition in the United Kingdom on April 23, 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 (now known as DVDizzy.com), due to the website dealing with other studios besides Disney.[22][23]

As of December 6, 2009, the film has sold 9,191,694 DVDs and grossed $153,566,058 in DVD sales.[24]


Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film Nominated
ASCAP Award Top Box Office Films Alan Silvestri Won
Artios Best Feature Film Casting - Comedy Ilene Starger
Coreen Mayrs (Vancouver casting)
Heike Brandstatter (Vancouver casting)
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Nominated [25]
MTV Movie Award Best Comedic Performance Ben Stiller Nominated
National Movie Award Best Comedy Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Comedy and Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Ben Stiller Nominated
Taurus Award Hardest Hit Greg Fitzpatrick Nominated [26]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Actor Age Ten or Younger Jake Cherry Nominated [27]


Night at the Museum was followed by a sequel titled Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,[28] which was released on May 22, 2009, in North America. A third film, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, was released on December 19, 2014, in North America.[29]

In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter stated that the Alibaba Pictures Group intended to remake the film.[30] On August 6, 2019, following the purchase of 21st Century Fox and its assets by The Walt Disney Company, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that a fully animated sequel to Night at the Museum is in development. The project will be released as a Disney+ exclusive film, as a co-production between Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and 20th Century Studios.[31] Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again was released on December 9, 2022.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Night at the Museum (2006)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Archived from the original on July 17, 2019. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Night at the Museum (2006)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on November 20, 2020. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  3. ^ "Night at the Museum (2006)". Archived from the original on April 20, 2020. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Night at the Museum (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  5. ^ "MovieLocationsGuide.com". Night at the Museum Filming Locations. Archived from the original on December 16, 2006. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  6. ^ Dawson, Angela (January 5, 2007). "Stiller shifts to the Museum". Sun2Surf.com. Archived from the original on May 5, 2009. Retrieved October 21, 2022.
  7. ^ "Night at the Museum Soundtrack". amazon.com. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  8. ^ "Night at the Museum [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". allmusic.com. Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  9. ^ "Night at the Museum Release". imdb.com. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  10. ^ "Night at the Museum Showdown". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  11. ^ "Night at the Museum domestic weekend". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  12. ^ "2006 DOMESTIC GROSSES". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Archived from the original on February 1, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  13. ^ "Night at the Museum Foreign Weekly". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  14. ^ "NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM foreign market". boxofficemojo.com. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  15. ^ "Night at the Museum". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on December 9, 2022. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  16. ^ "Night at the Museum". Metacritic. Archived from the original on October 16, 2020. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  17. ^ "Cinemascore". cinemascore.com/. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  18. ^ Chang, Justin (December 21, 2006). "Night at the Museum". Variety. Archived from the original on July 14, 2023. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  19. ^ "Reelviews.com". Night at the Museum. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  20. ^ Arnold, William (December 21, 2006). "SeattlePI.com". Shallow 'Museum' exhibits some appealing qualities. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  21. ^ "msnbc.com". Movie boosts Natural History Museum visits. January 10, 2007. Archived from the original on February 11, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
  22. ^ "UltimateDisney.com". Non-Disney films to be reviewed by Ultimate Disney. Archived from the original on May 14, 2007. Retrieved April 20, 2007.
  23. ^ "UltimateDisney.com". "Night at the Museum" at UltimateDisney.com. Archived from the original on April 27, 2007. Retrieved April 24, 2007.
  24. ^ "Night at the Museum". the-numbers.com. Archived from the original on February 11, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  25. ^ "2007 Host Nominee Release". Nickelodeon. February 7, 2007. Archived from the original on March 20, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  26. ^ "Taurus World Stunt Awards - Hardest Hit". World Stunt Awards. Archived from the original on May 23, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  27. ^ "28th Annual Young Artist Awards Nominations". Young Artist Association. Archived from the original on June 27, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  28. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian". imdb.com. Archived from the original on August 10, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  29. ^ "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb". comingsoon.net. Archived from the original on February 11, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  30. ^ Rebecca Sun and Patrick Brzeski (April 25, 2016). "China's Alibaba Pictures to Remake 'Night at the Museum'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 27, 2016. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  31. ^ "Disney is rebooting Movies from the past". The Hindu. August 7, 2019. Archived from the original on May 10, 2022. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  32. ^ Mishra, Shrishty (November 3, 2022). "First 'Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again' Image Teases Nick Daley's Animated Return". Collider. Archived from the original on November 3, 2022. Retrieved May 14, 2023.

External links[edit]