Night at the Museum

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Night at the Museum
Night at the Museum poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shawn Levy
Produced by
Screenplay by Thomas Lennon
Robert Ben Garant
Based on The Night at the Museum 
by Milan Trenc
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Guillermo Navarro
Edited by Don Zimmerman
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • December 22, 2006 (2006-12-22)
Running time
108 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $110 million
Box office $574.5 million[1]

Night at the Museum is a 2006 American fantasy-comedy film based on the 1993 children's book of the same name by Milan Trenc. It 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 as Larry Daley. 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, the film is a 1492 Pictures/21 Laps Entertainment Production, in association with Ingenious Film Partners. It was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia and Santa Clarita, California as well as New York City. A novelization of the screenplay, by Leslie Goldman, was published as a film tie-in. The first installment in the Night at the Museum trilogy, the film was a box office success despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, grossing over $574 million.

Plot

Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is a divorced man who has been 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 ten-year-old son Nick (Jake Cherry), and Larry fears that Nick respects his future stepfather, bond trader Don (Paul Rudd), more than him.

Cecil Fredricks (Dick Van Dyke), an elderly night security guard about to retire from the American Museum of Natural History, hires Larry despite his unpromising résumé. The museum, which is rapidly losing money, plans to replace Cecil and two colleagues Gus (Mickey Rooney) and Reginald (Bill Cobbs) with one guard. Cecil gives Larry an instruction booklet on how to handle museum security, and advises Larry to leave some of the lights on and warn him not to let anything "in...or out".

Once night falls, Larry discovers that the exhibits come to life, including a living Tyrannosaurus skeleton nicknamed "Rexy" who behaves like a dog; a mischievous capuchin monkey named Dexter (Crystal) which steals Larry's keys and tears up his instruction booklet; rival miniature civilizations led by Old West cowboy Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Roman general Octavius (Steve Coogan); limb-ripping Attila the Hun; an Easter Island Moai (Brad Garrett) obsessed with "gum-gum" who addresses Larry as Dum-Dum; and a wax model of Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams).

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 the museum during sunrise, however, they turn to dust. Roosevelt helps Larry by restoring order, but only for one night, and Larry decides to remain as a night guard.

When Larry tells Cecil about how Dexter tore up his instructions, Cecil advises him to study history to prepare himself for his nightly duties. He also learns history 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. However, things go wrong and four Neanderthals set fire to a display and some other things. One of the Neanderthal turns to dust when he leaves the museum at dawn. The next morning, museum director Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) almost fires Larry after what happened to the Neanderthal exhibit. He offers Rebecca a meeting with Sacagawea, but she believes that he is mocking her and the museum.

Larry brings Nick to the museum to show him the exhibits, but none of them are alive. They find Cecil, Gus, and Reginald stealing the tablet and other valuable objects. Like the exhibits, the guards receive enhanced vitality from the artifact; wishing to retain their youth, health and to fund their retirements, the three plan to frame Larry for the thefts. They disable the tablet to stop the exhibits from interfering. Nick reactivates the artifact, but Cecil locks him and his father in the Egyptian room and flees with the tablet. Larry releases Akhmenrah's mummy (Rami Malek) 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; Larry confronts Attila, realizing his behavior came from being hurt a long time ago, and convinces them to work together.

The exhibits capture Gus and Reginald without difficulty, but Cecil escapes by stagecoach with Larry, Nick, Akmenrah, Jed, Octavius, Rexy, and Atilla the Hun in pursuit in Central Park, where they stop him and regain the tablet. Jed and Octavius are presumably killed when their remote-controlled Hummer crashes, but they somehow survive. Rebecca sees the exhibits return to the museum before sunrise and realizes that Larry was telling the truth; he introduces her to Sacagawea.

Dr. McPhee fires Larry after seeing 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. He rehires him after he sees that these events raised attendance. Larry, Nick, and the exhibits celebrate.

During the credits, it was shown that Cecil, Gus and Reginald weren't handed over to the authorities and are now working as janitors at the museum.

Cast

Humans

Exhibits

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.

Robin Williams' Theodore Roosevelt costume closely resembles that of John Wayne's character in The Shootist.[3]

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."[4]

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).[4]
  • "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.

Score

Alan Silvestri replaced John Ottman as score composer.[5] 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
Released December 19, 2006 (2006-12-19)
Recorded 2006
Genre Film score
Length 53:19
Label Varese Sarabande
Tracklist

Varese Sarabande released a soundtrack album of the score on December 19, 2006.[6]

All songs written and composed by Alan Silvestri. 

Night at the Museum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
No. Title Length
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
16. "Sunrise"   00:42
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

Release

Night at the Museum had its premiere in New York City on December 17, 2006, in South Korea on December 21, 2006, on December 22, 2006 in 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.[7]

The film was released under the title of "Noche en el museo" in Spain, "Una notte al museo" in Italy, "La nuit au musée" in France, "Ночь в музее" in Russia and "Uma Noite no Museu" in Brazil.[7]

Box office

At the end of its box office run, Night at the Museum earned a gross of $250,863,268 in North America and $323,617,573 in other territories for a worldwide total of $574,480,841, against a budget of $110 million.[1] It is also the highest-grossing film worldwide of the trilogy as well as in North America and other territories.[8]

It was the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend, grossing $30.8 million plating in 3,685 theaters, with a $8,258 per-theater average. 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 83 more theaters and took in approximately $36.7 million at the box-office, out-grossing its opening weekend. It maintained the #1 position in its third week, with an additional $23.7 million.[9]

During its opening weekend of December 15, 2006, the film grossed a figure of estimated $5,049,169, with the highest debut coming from South Korea ($5.04 million).[10] 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.[11]

Critical reaction

The film received mixed reviews from movie critics, receiving a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 131 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3/10. The site's consensus reads, "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".[12] On Metacritic, the film a 48/100 rating, based on 28 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[13] 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."[14] 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."[15] 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.[16] CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[17]

Home media

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 (now known as DVDizzy.com), due to the website dealing with other studios besides Disney.[18][19]

As of 6 December 2009, the film has sold 9,191,694 DVDs and grossed $153,566,058 in DVD sales.[20]

Awards

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA 2007
Award Category Result
Saturn Award Best Fantasy Film Nominated
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards 2007
Award Category Nominee Result
ASCAP Award Top Box Office Films Alan Silvestri Won
Casting Society of America, USA 2007
Award Category Nominee Result
Artios Best Feature Film Casting - Comedy Ilene Starger
Coreen Mayrs (Vancouver casting)
Heike Brandstatter (Vancouver casting)
Won
Kids' Choice Awards, USA 2007
Award Category Result
Blimp Award Favorite Movie Nominated
MTV Movie Awards 2007
Award Category Nominee Result
MTV Movie Award Best Comedic Performance Ben Stiller Nominated
National Movie Awards, UK 2007
Award Category Result
National Movie Award Best Comedy Nominated
Teen Choice Awards 2007
Award Category Nominee Result
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Comedy and Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Ben Stiller Nominated
World Stunt Awards 2007
Award Category Nominee Lead Character Result
Taurus Award Hardest Hit Greg Fitzpatrick The lead character is hit by a dinosaur's tail and is thrown onto a flight of stairs. He then slides down the stairs face first. Nominated
Young Artist Awards 2007
Award Category Nominee Result
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Actor Age Ten or Younger Jake Cherry Nominated

Sequels

The first installment in the trilogy, Night at the Museum was followed by a sequel titled Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,[21] which was released on May 22, 2009 in North America. The third and final installment, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, was released on December 19, 2014 in North America.[22]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Night at the Museum (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 5, 2009. 
  2. ^ "MovieLocationsGuide.com". Night at the Museum Filming Locations. Retrieved January 8, 2007. 
  3. ^ Classic Movies. "John Wayne: one last shot before the final farewell". Telegraph. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Sun2Surf.com". Stiller shifts to the Museum. Retrieved January 8, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Night at the Museum Soundtrack". amazon.com. Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Night at the Museum [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Night at the Museum Release". imdb.com. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Night at the Museum Showdown". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Night at the Museum domestic weekend". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Night at the Museum Foreign Weekly". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  11. ^ "NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM foreign market". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Night at the Museum". rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Night at the Museum". metacritic.com. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Reelviews.com". Night at the Museum. Retrieved January 7, 2007. 
  15. ^ Arnold, William (December 21, 2006). "SeattlePI.com". Shallow 'Museum' exhibits some appealing qualities. Retrieved January 7, 2007. 
  16. ^ "msnbc.com". Movie boosts Natural History Museum visits. Retrieved September 11, 2007. 
  17. ^ "Cinemascore". cinemascore.com/. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  18. ^ "UltimateDisney.com". Non-Disney films to be reviewed by Ultimate Disney. Retrieved April 20, 2007. 
  19. ^ "UltimateDisney.com". "Night at the Museum" at UltimateDisney.com. Retrieved April 24, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Night ath the Museum". the-numbers.com. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian". imdb.com. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb". comingsoon.net. Retrieved February 11, 2015. 

External links