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Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

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Night at the Museum:
Battle of the Smithsonian
Theatrical release poster
Directed byShawn Levy
Written by
Based onCharacters created by
Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon
The Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc
Produced by
CinematographyJohn Schwartzman
Edited by
Music byAlan Silvestri
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • May 22, 2009 (2009-05-22)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$150 million[1]
Box office$413.1 million[1]

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (also known as Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian or just Night at the Museum 2) is a 2009 American fantasy comedy film written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, produced by Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan and Shawn Levy and directed by Levy. The film stars Ben Stiller, with Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Hank Azaria, Christopher Guest, Alain Chabat, Jon Bernthal, Rami Malek and Robin Williams. It is the second installment in the Night at the Museum series, following Night at the Museum (2006).

The film was theatrically released on May 22, 2009, by 20th Century Fox. Like its predecessor, it received mixed reviews and became a box-office success, grossing $413 million on a $150 million budget. A live-action sequel Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb was released on December 19, 2014, and an animated sequel, Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again, was released on the streaming service Disney+ in 2022.


Three years after the events of the first film, Larry Daley has left his job as night guard at the American Museum of Natural History to start a company selling his own inventions on direct response television. He visits the museum and learns that most of the exhibits are scheduled to be moved to the Smithsonian Institution archives in Washington D.C. and replaced with holographic displays. Furthermore, the Tablet of Ahkmenrah will remain, leaving the departing exhibits without the ability to come to life at night.

Larry receives a panicked phone call from miniature cowboy Jedediah, who explains that Dexter the monkey brought the tablet to the Smithsonian, where they are under attack by Ahkmenrah's older brother Kahmunrah. Determined to save them, Larry travels to Washington, D.C. and poses as a night guard to sneak into the archives, where he finds his friends trapped by Kahmunrah, who plans to use the tablet's powers to conquer the world.

Aided by Major General George A. Custer, who is captured, Larry is joined by Amelia Earhart. They evade Kahmunrah's soldiers inside the photograph of V-J Day in Times Square, leading Kahmunrah to enlist Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon Bonaparte and Al Capone to retrieve the tablet. Larry is captured, but when the tablet fails to open the Gate of the Underworld, Kahmunrah traps Jedediah in an hourglass and gives Larry one hour to decipher the tablet's combination.

Amelia has fallen in love with Larry, and the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial mistakes them for a couple as they reach the National Air and Space Museum. They encounter various figures from the history of flight, including the Wright brothers, a squadron of Tuskegee Airmen, and Able the space monkey, while a group of Albert Einstein bobbleheads explain that the combination is the value of pi. Napoleon, Ivan and Capone's troops arrive, prompting Larry and Amelia to escape in the Wright Flyer.

They crash into the Smithsonian, where Kahmunrah uses the combination to open the gate and summon an army of Horus warriors. Miniature Roman general Octavius arrives with the statue of Lincoln, frightening the warriors back to the Underworld, and Amelia gathers an army of allies, including Larry's friends and Custer, leading to a climactic battle. Larry helps Custer overcome his fear of repeating the Battle of Little Big Horn, while Octavius rescues Jedediah, and Larry recovers the tablet and turns Capone, Bonaparte and Ivan against each other. Armed with his flashlight, Larry duels a khopesh-wielding Kahmunrah as Amelia reopens the gate, allowing Larry to banish Kahmunrah to the Underworld.

As she flies Larry and the New York exhibits home, Amelia reveals that she knows that she is only a wax figure of the real aviator, and she and Larry share a kiss before she takes off back to the Smithsonian. Two months later, Larry has sold his company and made an anonymous donation to renovate the Natural History Museum and extend its nighttime visiting hours when the exhibits are alive; believed to be animatronics and hired reenactors, the exhibits are now able to interact with visitors at night.


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





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, "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 filmed mostly in Vancouver and Montreal, with some scenes filmed inside the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.[2] A scene was shot at the Lincoln Memorial the night of May 21, 2008. Scenes were also shot at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on 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 American Idol judge seats are being held at the real Smithsonian Institution.

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

Filmmakers lent the Smithsonian Institution props used in the movie that 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]

In 2009, numerous artifacts that inspired the film were on display at Smithsonian Museums along the National Mall. Many of the artifacts were labeled with "Night at the Museum" logos.[4] Gift shops at the Smithsonian also sold a replica of the Einstein bobblehead, created specifically as a tie-in to the film.[citation needed]


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
ReleasedMay 19, 2009
GenreFilm score
LabelVarèse Sarabande

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

All tracks are written by Alan Silvestri

Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
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
23."Museum Open Late"02:02
Total length:49:51

Additional Music

  1. "More Than a Woman" – performed by the Jonas Brothers cherubs while Larry and Amelia hide from Napoleon's army.
  2. "My Heart Will Go On" – performed by the Jonas Brothers cherubs after Larry and Amelia kiss.
  3. "Lovebug" – performed by the Jonas Brothers cherubs after Larry and Amelia kiss.
  4. "Let's Groove" – performed by Earth, Wind & Fire; used during the final scene.
  5. "Fly with Me" – performed by the Jonas Brothers in the end credits.
Sample credits[8]



A trailer of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was released on December 19, 2008.[9] The film was theatrically released on May 22, 2009, in the United States.[citation needed]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 1, 2009.[citation needed]

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


Box office[edit]

At the end of its box-office run, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian earned a gross of $177 million in North America and $236 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $413 million against a budget of $150 million.[1]

On Friday, May 22, 2009, its opening day, the film's estimated gross was $16 million; for the second day, the film grossed $20 million; and for the third day, the gross was $19 million, coming in ahead of Terminator Salvation (which was released on Thursday) in 4,096 theaters at number 1, reaching up to $54.1 million, with a $13,226 per-theater average during the Memorial Day weekend.[10] By comparison, Night at the Museum reached up to $30 million in its opening weekend in December 2006. For its second weekend, the film grossed $24.35 million, and for its third weekend, $14.6 million.[11]

For the opening weekend of May 22, 2009, the film grossed $49 million while playing in theaters of 56 territories. In the UK, the film earned $6.6 million, $5.23 million in Russia, and $5.05 million in France.[12] The largest markets in other territories were the 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, respectively.[13] The film was exhibited on 160 IMAX screens, and contributed $5.4 million of the gross. The top grossing IMAX venue was the Smithsonian.[14]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 44% approval rating, based on 169 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] Metacritic gave the film a weighted average score of 42 out of 100 based on reviews from 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[16] In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, audiences gave Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian an average grade of "B+" on a scale of A+ to F.[17][18]

Critics praised Amy Adams's and Hank Azaria's performances. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune awarded the film 3 stars out of 4, stating that "[Adams]'s terrific – a sparkling screen presence".[19]

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."[20]

Perry Seibert of TV Guide gave the film 2 stars out of 4, with praise for "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."[21]

Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter and A.O. Scott of The New York Times enjoyed both performances.[22][23]

One critic, Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club, panned the movie for its excessive use of special effects. He described the film as "a baffling master plot and a crowded pileup of special effects in search of something to do".[24]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times awarded the film 1½ stars out of 4, saying, "Its premise is lame, its plot relentlessly predictable, its characters with personalities that would distinguish picture books."[25]


List of awards and nominations
Year Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2009 Teen Choice Award Choice Comedy Movie Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Won [26]
Choice Comedy Movie Actor Ben Stiller Nominated [27]
Choice Comedy Movie Actress 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
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Feature Motion Picture Ian Hunter, Forest Fischer, Robert Chapin, Tony Chen for the "National Air and Space Museum Escape" Nominated

Video game[edit]

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 IGN.com.


Ben Stiller admitted that a sequel was "a possibility", and on January 21, 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".[28]

It was announced in February 2013 that the film, directed by Shawn Levy, would be released on December 25, 2014.[29] On September 10, 2013, it was announced that shooting would start in February 2014.[30] On November 8, 2013, English actor Dan Stevens was cast as Sir Lancelot.[31] On November 15, 2013, it was announced Skyler Gisondo would be replacing Jake Cherry in the role of Nicky Daley.[32] On December 18, 2013, it was announced that Robin Williams, Stiller, and Ricky Gervais would be returning for the sequel.[33] On January 9, 2014, it was announced that Rebel Wilson would play a security guard in the British Museum.[34] On January 14, 2014, the film's release date was moved forward from December 25, 2014, to December 19, 2014.[35] On January 23, 2014, it was announced Ben Kingsley would play an Egyptian Pharaoh at the British Museum.[36] Principal photography and production began on January 27, 2014.[37] In May 2014, principal photography ended.[38]

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 was in development.[39] Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again was released on December 9, 2022, on the streaming service Disney+.[40]

See also[edit]


  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". Siarchives.si.edu. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. 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". amazon.com. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  6. ^ "Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". itunes.apple.com. January 2009. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  7. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  8. ^ Alan Silvestri (2009). Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (liner notes). Varèse Sarabande. 509990 87553 2 2.
  9. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian trailer". traileraddict.com. December 19, 2008. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  10. ^ "Daily Box Office". Box Office Mojo. May 22, 2009. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  11. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Weekly gross". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  12. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Foreign gross weekly". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  13. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Foreign gross". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  14. ^ Brandon Gray (May 26, 2009). "Weekend Report: 'Night at the Museum,' 'Terminator' Dominate". Box Office Mojo.
  15. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 8, 2024.
  16. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on May 27, 2009. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  17. ^ McClintock, Pamela (December 21, 2014). "Box Office: 'Hobbit: Five Armies' Crushes 'Museum,' 'Annie' With $90.6M". The Hollywood Reporter. Secret of the Tomb, also starring the late Robin Williams, received a B+ CinemaScore, the same as Battle of the Smithsonian.
  18. ^ "Cinemascore". Cinemascore.com. CinemaScore. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  19. ^ "Toys in the nation's attic - Amy Adams a treasure in the 'Museum' sequel". Chicago Tribune. May 20, 2009. Archived from the original on May 27, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  20. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian". Entertainment Weekly. May 19, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  21. ^ "Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian: Review". TV Guide. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Review". The A.V. Club. May 21, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  25. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 20, 2009). "Stuffed & mounted". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 4, 2022 – via RogerEbet.com.
  26. ^ "Teen Choice Awards winners". USA Today. August 10, 2009. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  27. ^ "Night at the Museum 2 Awards". imdb.com. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  28. ^ "Ben Stiller confirms Night at the Museum 3; talks Zoolander 2 script". Movie Hole. October 27, 2011. Archived from the original on December 30, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "'Night At The Museum 3' In The Works | Access Hollywood - Celebrity News, Photos & Videos". Access Hollywood. January 21, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  31. ^ Fleming, Mike (November 9, 2013). "'Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens Joins 'Night At The Museum 3' As Lancelot". Deadline.com. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  32. ^ Yamato, Jen (November 13, 2013). "Skyler Gisondo Set For 'Night At The Museum 3'". Deadline.com. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  33. ^ "Ricky Gervais Reprising In 'Night At The Museum 3′". Deadline.com. December 18, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  34. ^ Fleming, Mike (January 9, 2014). "Rebel Wilson Joins 'Night At The Museum 3' Cast". Deadline.com. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  35. ^ Busch, Anita (January 15, 2014). "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'". Deadline.com. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  36. ^ "Sir Ben Kingsley Joining Shawn Levy's Night at the Museum 3". Comingsoon.net. January 23, 2014. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  37. ^ "On The Set For 1/27/14: Universal's 'Ouija' Wraps, 'Night at the Museum 3′ Starts For 20th Century Fox ‹ Studio System News". Studiosystemnews.com. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  38. ^ Labrecque, Jeff (August 11, 2014). "Robin Williams leaves behind four upcoming films". Insidemovies.ew.com. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  39. ^ Disney is rebooting Movies from the past.
  40. ^ Mishra, Shrishty (November 3, 2022). "First 'Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again' Image Teases Nick Daley's Animated Return". Collider. Retrieved November 11, 2022.

External links[edit]