Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

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Night at the Museum:
Battle of the Smithsonian
Night at the Museum 2 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shawn Levy
Produced by
Written by
Based on Characters created by
Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon and The Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography John Schwartzman
Edited by
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • May 22, 2009 (2009-05-22)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 million[1]
Box office $413.1 million[1]

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is a 2009 American adventure fantasy comedy film written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, produced (with Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan) and directed by Shawn Levy, and starring Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria, Christopher Guest, Alain Chabat, and Robin Williams. It is the second installment in the Night at the Museum trilogy, and a sequel to the 2006 film Night at the Museum. It is also the last Night at the Museum film to feature Jake Cherry as Nick Daley. The film was released theatrically on May 22, 2009 by 20th Century Fox. Like its predecessor, it received mixed critical reception and a box office success by grossing over $413 million on a $150 million budget.


Larry Daley, former night guard at the American Museum of Natural History, now runs his own direct response television company that sells inventions based on his experiences. He returns to the museum, discovering most of the exhibits will be moved to the Federal Archives at the Smithsonian Institute and replaced with holographic information providers. The Tablet of Akmenrah is to remain in the museum, leaving most of the exhibits without the ability to come to life at night. After the exhibits are moved, Larry receives a phone call from the cowboy Jedediah that Dexter the monkey stole the Tablet and took it to the Smithsonian. Larry travels to Washington, DC, navigating his way to the archives with help from his son Nick while posing as a night guard.

Larry finds his friends trapped in their shipping container under attack from Akmenrah’s evil older brother Kahmunrah, accidentally activating the tablet and bringing the exhibits in the Smithsonian to life. Kahmunrah reveals his plans to use the tablet’s powers to conquer the world. Larry escapes, aided by General George A. Custer, who is captured, and then the adventurous Amelia Earhart, who becomes his travelling companion around the museum. The two evade Kahmunrah’s men, trapping them in the V-J Day in Times Square. Kahmunrah enlists fellow historical leaders, Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Al Capone to help capture Larry and retrieve the tablet. Jedediah tries to help but is placed in an hourglass. Kahmunrah is unable to open the Gate of the Underworld with the tablet, sending Larry and Amelia off to translate it or Jedediah dies.

While searching for someone in the museum who can help, Larry and Amelia end up falling in love. They travel to the National Air and Space Museum, briefly encountering the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. Inside the museum, Larry grounds all of the aircraft and rockets from taking off, before a group of Albert Einstein bobbleheads inform him that the combination is the value of pi. Napoleon, Ivan, and Capone’s troops arrive, prompting Larry and Amelia to escape using the Wright Flyer. They crash the plane into the Smithsonian, where Kahmunrah uses the acquired combination to summon an army of bird-headed warriors. Lincoln crashes in through the window, frightening the warriors back into the Underworld.

Amelia gathers an army of allies including Larry’s friends and Custer, leading to a climactic battle. Larry obtains the tablet, banishing Kahmunrah back to the Underworld. Amelia flies Larry and the New York exhibits back home, giving Larry a final kiss before taking off in her plane, knowing she will become dust before reaching the Smithsonian. Larry sells his company, donating the money to the museum to renovate it, and the exhibits remain, capable of moving about in the day under the pretense of being animatronics. Larry is rehired as night guard and aids a woman who resembles Amelia.


Owen Wilson, Amy Adams and Ben Stiller at a panel for the film in May 2009.


  • Ben Stiller as Larry Daley, a former security guard turned CEO of Daley Devices.
  • Ricky Gervais as Dr. McPhee, the curator at the Museum of Natural History.
  • Jake Cherry as Nicky Daley, the son of Larry Daley.
  • Amy Adams as Tess, a young woman at the end of the movie who looks like Amelia Earhart.



Exhibits at the Smithsonian[edit]



Writers Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon confirmed to Dark Horizons that they were writing a sequel to Night at the Museum, originally with the tentative title Another Night at the Museum. The writers said that "there'll be existing characters and plenty of new ones."

20th Century Fox announced that the sequel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, would be released during Memorial Day weekend in 2009. Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Patrick Gallagher, Jake Cherry, Rami Malek, Mizuo Peck, Brad Garrett and Robin Williams would return for the sequel, with Shawn Levy returning as director.

The film was mostly filmed in Vancouver with some scenes filmed in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C..[2] A scene was shot at the Lincoln Memorial on the night of May 21, 2008. Scenes were also shot at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on the August 18 and 20, 2008.

The trailer was released with Bedtime Stories, Yes Man and Marley & Me in December 2008. The trailer accompanied the film Bride Wars in January, The Pink Panther 2 in February, and Dragonball Evolution in April 2009. The film was also promoted as an opening skit on American Idol, where a replica of the Idol judge seats are being held at the real Smithsonian Institution.

An alternate ending included on the DVD and Blu-ray releases featured the return of Dick Van Dyke as Cecil Fredericks, Bill Cobbs as Reginald, and Mickey Rooney as Gus.

Night at the Museum label on the Wright Flyer exhibit in the National Air and Space Museum.

Filmmakers loaned the Smithsonian Institution props used in the movie which were displayed in the Smithsonian Castle including the pile of artifacts featured in the film.[3] The Smithsonian also made a brochure available online and at museum visitor service desks outlining where to find artifacts.[4]

As of 2009, numerous artifacts which inspired the movie were on display at Smithsonian Museums along the National Mall. Many of the artifacts are labeled with "Night at the Museum" logos.[4]

  1. Able the space monkey
  2. Lunar rover
  3. Lunar Module
  4. 1903 Wright Flyer
  5. Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega
  6. Medal belonging to Tuskegee Airmen
  7. Supermarine Spitfire
  8. F-104 Starfighter
  1. Messerschmitt 262
  1. Gigantic octopus
  2. Moai
  3. Tyrannosaurus
  1. Oscar the Grouch puppet
  2. George Armstrong Custer's fringed jacket
  3. Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves
  4. Theodore Roosevelt's chaps
  5. Archie Bunker's chair from the television sitcom All in the Family
  6. Theodore Roosevelt's teddy bear
  7. Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz

Gift shops at the Smithsonian also sell a replica of the Einstein Bobble-head, created specifically as a tie-in to the movie.


Alan Silvestri returned to score the sequel.[5][6]

Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by Alan Silvestri
Released 19 May 2009 (2009-05-19)
Recorded 2008
Genre Film score
Length 49:51
Label Varese Sarabande

Track listing[edit]

Varese Sarabande issued the score on May 19, 2009.[7]

All tracks written by Alan Silvestri. 

Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
No. Title Length
1. "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian"   02:38
2. "Daley Devices"   00:36
3. "This Night is Their Last"   04:35
4. "To Washington"   00:37
5. "Getting Past Security"   01:49
6. "Finding Jed and the Others"   03:16
7. "I Have Come Back to Life"   01:04
8. "The Tablet"   03:25
9. "I Smell Adventure"   04:31
10. "He Doesn't Have All Night"   01:46
11. "The Adventure Continues"   03:25
12. "Octavius Attacks"   01:22
13. "Entering the Air & Space Museum"   01:32
14. "Escape in Wright Flyer"   03:29
15. "Got the Combination"   02:19
16. "Gate to the Underworld"   01:02
17. "I Ride the Squirrel"   01:25
18. "On Your Toes"   01:54
19. "The Battle"   01:44
20. "Divide the House"   01:28
21. "Victory is Ours"   01:19
22. "Goodbye"   02:43
23. "Museum Open Late"   02:02
Total length:
Sample credits[8]


A trailer of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was released on December 19, 2008.[9] The film premiered on May 14, 2009 in Washington, D.C.. The film released in UK on May 20, 2009, on May 22, 2009 in United States, and in Japan on August 12, 2009.[10]

The film was released under the title of "Noche en el museo 2" in Spain, "Ночь в музее 2" in Russia, "Una notte al museo 2 - La Fuga" in Italy.[10]

Box office[edit]

At the end of its box office run, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian earned a gross of $177,243,721 in North America and $235,862,449 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $413,106,170 against a budget of $150 million.[1]

On Friday, May 22, 2009, its opening day, the film's estimated gross was $15,568,708, for second day the film grossed $20,086,972 and for third day the gross was $18,517,606 coming in ahead of Terminator Salvation (which released on Thursday) in 4,096 theaters at #1, reaching up to $54.1 million, with a $13,226 per-theater average over the Memorial Day weekend.[11] By comparison, Night at the Museum reached up to $30 million on its opening weekend in December 2006. For its second weekend, the film grossed $24.35 million, for third weekend $14.6 million.[12]

For the opening weekend of May 22, 2009 the film grossed $49,036,322 while playing in theaters of 56 territories; the film debuted in UK ($6.6 million), Russia ($5.23 million) and France ($5.05 million).[13] The largest market in other territories being UK, Japan, Germany, Australia and France where the film grossed $32.8 million, $21.49 million, $18.78 million, $14.03 million and $13.3 million.[14]

Critical reaction[edit]

Like its predecessor, the sequel has received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 44% "rotten" approval rating, based on 163 reviews, with an average score of 5.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian is busy enough to keep the kids interested but the slapstick goes overboard and the special effects (however well executed) throw the production into mania".[15] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, gave the film an average score of 42% based on 31 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[16]

Despite mixed reviews from critics, most critics praised Amy Adams' and Hank Azaria's performances. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune awarded the film 3 stars stating that "[Adams]'s terrific -- a sparkling screen presence."[17] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+ stating "Battle of the Smithsonian has plenty of life. But it's Adams who gives it zing."[18] Also, many reviews noted the costume worn by Amy Adams during the movie.[19] Perry Seibert of TV Guide gave the film 2 stars despite honoring that "thanks to Azaria, a master of comic timing. His grandiose, yet slightly fey bad guy is equally funny when he's chewing out minions as he is when deliberating if Oscar the Grouch and Darth Vader are evil enough to join his team.[20] Michael Rechtshaffen of the Hollywood Reporter and A.O. Scott of The New York Times enjoyed both performances.[21][22]

One critic panned the movie on its excessive use of special effects as noted by Scott Tobias of the A.V. Club when he described the film as "a baffling master plot and a crowded pileup of special effects in search of something to do."[23] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times awarded the film 1½ stars out of 4 claiming "its premise is lame, its plot relentlessly predictable, its characters with personalities that would distinguish picture books."[24]

In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[25]


List of awards and nominations
Year Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2009 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Comedy Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Won [26]
Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Ben Stiller Nominated
Choice Movie Actress: Comedy Amy Adams Nominated
Choice Movie: Villain Hank Azaria Nominated
2010 MTV Movie Award Best Comedic Performance Ben Stiller Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Family Movie Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Nominated

Home media[edit]

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was made available December 1, 2009 on DVD and Blu-ray as a two-disc Special Edition and a three-disc Digital Copy Edition.[27]

As of 12 February 2015, the film has sold 4,083,829 DVDs and 585,023 Blu-ray discs grossing $51,481,903 and $11,674,546 totalling $63,156,449 in North America.[28]

In other media[edit]

Video game

The video game based on the film was released on May 5, 2009. It was fairly well received in comparison to the majority of film-based video-games, netting a 7.5 out of 10 from


Ben Stiller admitted that a sequel was "a possibility" and on January 22, 2010, co-writer Thomas Lennon said to Access Hollywood, "That after the success of two Night at the Museum films, it's no surprise that 20th Century Fox is looking to develop a third and that those suspicions are indeed true and how could you not? I think it's a really outstanding idea to do Night at the Museum 3, in fact," he said. "I wonder if someone's not even already working on a script for that," he added with a raised eyebrow. "I cannot confirm that for a fact, but I cannot deny it for a fact either... It might be in the works." In an interview, Stiller confirmed the sequel, however, he said that it was only in the "ideas stage".[29]

It was announced in February 2013 that the film, directed by Shawn Levy, would be released on December 25, 2014.[30] On September 10, 2013, it was announced that shooting would start in February 2014.[31] On November 8, 2013, English actor Dan Stevens was cast as Sir Lancelot.[32] On November 15, 2013, it was announced Skyler Gisondo would be replacing Jake Cherry for the role of Nicky Daley.[33] On December 18, 2013 it was announced that Robin Williams, Stiller, and Ricky Gervais would be returning for the sequel.[34] On January 9, 2014, it was announced that Rebel Wilson would play a security guard in the British Museum.[35] On January 14, 2014, the film's release date was moved up from December 25, 2014, to December 19, 2014.[36] On January 23, 2014, it was announced Ben Kingsley would play an Egyptian Pharaoh at the British Museum.[37] Principal photography and production began on January 27, 2014.[38] In May 2014, principal photography ended.[39]


  1. ^ a b c "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Smithsonian In the Movies". Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ Puente, Maria (May 25, 2009). "Smithsonian gets top billing in the new 'Night at the Museum'". USA Today. Retrieved October 13, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "See the Artifacts That Inspired the Movie". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved October 13, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Soundtrack". Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  8. ^ Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (liner notes). Alan Silvestri. Varese Sarabande. 2009. 509990 87553 2 2. 
  9. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian trailer". Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian release info". Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Daily Box Office". Box Office Mojo. May 22, 2009. Retrieved May 26, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Weekly gross". IMDB. Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Foreign gross weekly". Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Foreign gross". Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Toys in the nation's attic - Amy Adams a treasure in the 'Museum' sequel". Chicago Tribune. May 20, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian". Entertainment Weekly. May 19, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  19. ^ "I ♥ Earhart". October 18, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Film Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian". Hollywood Reporter. May 20, 2009. Archived from the original on May 25, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  22. ^ Scott, A. O. (May 22, 2009). "Movie Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009) - Dad's at Another Museum. Does That Make Him an Exhibitionist?". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Review - A.V. Club". A.V. Club. May 21, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  24. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 20, 2009). "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 22, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Night at the Museum 2 Awards". Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  27. ^ DVD Release for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian[dead link]
  28. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian". Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Ben Stiller confirms Night at the Museum 3; talks Zoolander 2 script". Movie Hole. October 27, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2013. 
  30. ^ Chitwood, Adam (February 7, 2013). "Shawn Levy Returns to Direct NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3 for December 25, 2014 Release; THE MAZE RUNNER Set to Open February 14, 2014". Collider. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  31. ^ "'Night At The Museum 3' In The Works | Access Hollywood - Celebrity News, Photos & Videos". Access Hollywood. January 21, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  32. ^ Fleming, Mike. "'Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens Joins 'Night At The Museum 3' As Lancelot". Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  33. ^ Yamato, Jen. "Skyler Gisondo Set For 'Night At The Museum 3'". Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  34. ^ "Ricky Gervais Reprising In 'Night At The Museum 3′". December 18, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  35. ^ Fleming, Mike. "Rebel Wilson Joins 'Night At The Museum 3' Cast". Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  36. ^ Busch, Anita. "Fox Sets Date For 'Planet of the Apes' Project, Moves Romancer 'The Longest Ride' Away From 'Fifty Shades of Grey'; 'Night At the Museum' Now Head to Head With 'The Hobbit'". Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  37. ^ "Sir Ben Kingsley Joining Shawn Levy's Night at the Museum 3". January 23, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Quiet on set! Ben Stiller and Robin Williams are joined by former Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens as they film Night At The Museum 3 in London". January 28, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  39. ^ Labrecque, Jeff (August 11, 2014). "Robin Williams leaves behind four upcoming films". Retrieved January 17, 2015. 

External links[edit]