Night at the Museum
|Night at the Museum|
|Directed by||Shawn Levy|
|Screenplay by||Thomas Lennon
Robert Ben Garant
|Based on||The Night at the Museum
by Milan Trenc
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Editing by||Don Zimmerman|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Running time||108 minutes|
Night at the Museum is a 2006 American fantasy adventure-comedy film based on the 1993 children's book of the same name 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 film stars Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Jake Cherry, Ricky Gervais, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, and Robin Williams. A novelization of the screenplay by Leslie Goldman was published as a film tie-in.
The first film in the film series, Night at the Museum was followed by a sequel titled Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, which was released on May 22, 2009, and a third film, Night at the Museum 3, which will be released on December 19, 2014.
Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is a divorced father living in Brooklyn, NY in need of immediate employment after many failed business ventures. He resents that his son Nick (Jake Cherry) wants to be a bond trader like his step-father Don (Paul Rudd) and has given up his dream of being a professional hockey player. Larry's ex-wife Erica (Kim Raver) feels that Larry is a bad influence on their son. After reviewing Larry's unpromising resume, Debbie, an employment counselor (played by Stiller's real-life mother Anne Meara), sends him to the American Museum of Natural History where there is an opening for a nighttime security guard position. Larry learns from the head security guard Cecil Fredericks (Dick Van Dyke) that because of recent financial troubles, the museum plans to replace Cecil and two veteran guards Gus (Mickey Rooney) and Reginald (Bill Cobbs) with a single guard.
Once Larry accepts the position, he discovers that the museum exhibits come to life at dusk, including a Tyrannosaurus skeleton who behaves like a dog and fetches one of his ribs, Neanderthals trying to make fire, and a gum-loving Easter Island Moai (Brad Garrett). After being chased through the museum by the Huns and their leader Attila, Larry encounters Dexter (Crystal), a fun-loving but mischievous capuchin monkey who steals Larry's museum keys and tears up his instruction manual. When Dexter bites Larry and urinates on him Larry finally snaps and decides not to return the following night. After he attempts to break up a fight between the Ancient Roman and Wild West dioramas, led by Octavius (Steve Coogan) and Jedidiah (Owen Wilson) respectively, Larry is informed by Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams) 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. Roosevelt also explains that if any exhibits are outside of the museum at sunrise they turn to dust, and promises to help Larry by restoring order. After promising Nick a tour of the museum, Larry decides to stay on as the new night guard. However, he has trouble explaining to museum director Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) why some of the miniature figurines have been misplaced.
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). The incident with the Neanderthal display causes Dr. McPhee to tell Larry not to return, but Larry begs for one more chance. 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 are 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 Attila 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 for their crimes. As an epilogue Larry uses his invention the snapper to shut off his flashlight.
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.
Trainers spent several weeks training Crystal, who plays the troublemaking monkey Dexter, to slap and bite Stiller in the film.
Robin Williams' Theodore Roosevelt costume closely resembles that of John Wanye's character in The Shootist. 
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."
- Ben Stiller as Larry Daley
- Carla Gugino as Rebecca Hutman
- Robin Williams as Theodore Roosevelt
- Jake Cherry as Nicky Daley, Larry's son
- Dick Van Dyke as Cecil Fredericks
- Mickey Rooney as Gus
- Bill Cobbs as Reginald
- Owen Wilson as Jedediah (Uncredited)
- Steve Coogan as Octavius
- Patrick Gallagher as Attila the Hun
- Rami Malek as Ahkmenrah
- Mizuo Peck as Sacagawea
- Ricky Gervais as Dr. McPhee, Larry's boss.
- Kim Raver as Erica Daley
- Paul Rudd as Don
- Crystal the Monkey as Dexter
- Pierfrancesco Favino as Christopher Columbus
- Brad Garrett as The Easter Island Head (voice)
- Anne Meara-Stiller as Debbie
- Martin Christopher as Meriwether Lewis
- Martin Sims as William Clark
- Ian Campbell as Painter
- Charlie Murphy as Taxi Driver
- Civil War guys
- Woolly Mammoth
- African Elephant
- Tyrannosaurus Rex
- "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 and Cham; used for the end credits (U.S. theatrical version only).
- "Eye of the Tiger" - performed by Ben Stiller; used in the scene where Larry is bored and messes around with the telephone at the front desk beatboxing the music.
- 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. Silvestri's score was used for the teaser trailer of Horton Hears A Who!
The film received mixed reviews from movie critics, receiving a 44% rating from critics, meaning "rotten" at Rotten Tomatoes and a 48/100 rating on Metacritic, indicating mixed or average reviews. 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." 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." 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.
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. 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.
- "Night at the Museum (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
- "MovieLocationsGuide.com". Night at the Museum Filming Locations. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
- "Sun2Surf.com". Stiller shifts to the Museum. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
- "RottenTomatoes.com". Night at the Museum (2006). Retrieved January 7, 2007.
- "Reelviews.com". Night at the Museum. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
- Arnold, William (December 21, 2006). "SeattlePI.com". Shallow 'Museum' exhibits some appealing qualities. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
- "msnbc.com". Movie boosts Natural History Museum visits. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
- Box Office Mojo - Movie Index, A-Z[dead link]
- "UltimateDisney.com". Non-Disney films to be reviewed by Ultimate Disney. Retrieved April 20, 2007.
- "UltimateDisney.com". "Night at the Museum" at UltimateDisney.com. Retrieved April 24, 2007.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Night at the Museum|
- Night at the Museum at the Internet Movie Database
- Night at the Museum at allmovie
- Night at the Museum at Box Office Mojo
- Night at the Museum at Metacritic
- Night at the Museum at Rotten Tomatoes
- Night At The Museum Review on Variety.com
- Independentfilm.com video interview with Mizuo Peck who played Sacagawea