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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.


Two years after the events of the first film, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) becomes a CEO of Daley Devices, a direct response television company that sells inventions inspired by his experiences as a night security guard at the American Museum of Natural History. While wealthy and successful, he has not had the time to see his museum exhibit friends in several months.

One day when Larry returns to the museum, he finds out that it is closed for renovations and upgrades. He asks his former boss Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) about it. McPhee tells him that because not many people have come to the museum in a long time, he has been asked to replace almost all of the museum exhibits which are moving to the Federal Archives at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; and fill the museum with new holographic exhibits that automatically answer questions on historical subjects. Later that night, Larry goes into the museum to visit his friends one last time and he is told that while Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Rexy the Tyrannosaurus skeleton, the Easter Island Head (Brad Garrett), and Pharaoh Akhmenrah (Rami Malek) will remain at the museum, Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Octavius (Steve Coogan), their fellow minifigures, Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), Dexter the Capuchin Monkey, and the Neanderthals will no longer come to life since the Golden Tablet of Akhmenrah that animated the exhibits each night will also remain.

After the exhibits leave, Larry receives a call from Jedediah. Dexter stole Akhmenrah's tablet and brought it to the Federal Archives and that Akhmenrah's evil older brother Pharaoh Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria) is attacking Jedediah and the other exhibits. Larry travels to Washington, D.C. and visits the National Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution Building, searching for the Federal Archives with the help of his son Nick (Jake Cherry).

Larry sneaks into the Archives disguised as a Smithsonian guard and locates the exhibits, frozen in their shipping container in the middle of a battle with Kahmunrah. As Larry obtains the tablet, the sun sets and the exhibits and others at the Smithsonian come alive. Kahmunrah tells Larry that bringing exhibits to life is just one of the tablet's powers and that he intends to use it to conquer the world by raising an army from the Egyptian Underworld.

Larry releases a gigantic octopus in storage. The octopus attacks the Egyptian troops while Larry escapes them with the help of General George Armstrong Custer (Bill Hader). Custer is captured after he is knocked off the motorcycle Larry uses to escape. Larry meets the beautiful and adventurous Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams), who is attracted to Larry and accompanies him through the National Gallery. While moving through the paintings, Larry and Amelia end up in V-J Day in Times Square with a sailor named Joey Motorola (Jay Baruchel). Larry and Amelia trap Kahmunrah's soldiers in the photograph. After losing his men, Kahmunrah allies with historical leaders Ivan the Terrible (Christopher Guest), Al Capone (Jon Bernthal), and Napoleon Bonaparte (Alain Chabat). Napoleon captures and takes Larry to Kahmunrah. Jedediah is captured by Al Capone's men trying to rescue Larry, but Octavius escapes.

Amelia Earhart's plane as seen in the film. This artifact is on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Kahmunrah attempts to open the Gate of the Underworld by pressing the symbols on the tablet, but the combination has changed. Kahmunrah forces Larry to obtain the new combination before sunrise by trapping Jedediah in a filling hourglass. Larry returns to the National Gallery and reunites with Amelia. They pass a bust of Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) who reads the hieroglyphics on the tablet revealing that Larry can find the combination by figuring out the secret at the heart of Pharaoh's tomb. Amelia takes Larry to a statue of The Thinker (Hank Azaria) for help, but he gets distracted. Amelia says he's "no Einstein" making Larry remember that he saw Einstein bobble heads in the National Air and Space Museum. They end up sharing a kiss.

Ivan the Terrible brings Darth Vader and Oscar the Grouch to Kahmunrah saying they want to help take over the world but Kahmunrah rejects them. When Larry and Amelia walk over to the Air and Space museum, Kahmunrah assumes he's trying to escape and tells his allies to kill Larry and bring him the tablet. Meanwhile, Octavius goes to the White House to find help but can't make it across the lawn, and is kidnapped by an eastern gray squirrel. Larry and Amelia hide from Russian troops and visit the statue of Abraham Lincoln (Hank Azaria) at the Lincoln Memorial. When it is safe they go to the National Air and Space Museum where Larry stops the rockets from blasting off and meets Abel the space monkey. They consult the Albert Einstein bobbleheads (Eugene Levy), who tell them that the new combination is the value of pi. When they are found by Napoleon, Ivan, and Capone, Larry and Amelia escape in the Wright Flyer while the exhibit Tuskegee Airmen hold them off, and they return to the Smithsonian Institution Building. The two separate with Amelia searching for help while Larry delays Kahmunrah.

Napoleon, Ivan, and Capone obtain the combination from one of the bobbleheads. Kahmunrah opens the Gate of the Underworld and summons an army of Horus Warriors. Octavius returns on the squirrel and brings along The Lincoln statue, forcing the Horus Warriors to retreat to the Egyptian Underworld and Amelia frees the New York exhibits from their container and also recruits the Smithsonian exhibits. As the exhibits battle, Octavius frees Jedediah from the hourglass and they attack the enemies from below and Larry is able to obtain the tablet. Napoleon Bonaparte, Al Capone and Ivan the Terrible stop Larry, but he distracts them by asking them who is the boss enabling him to escape while the three of them argue. Larry is stopped by Kahmunrah, but overpowers him and banishes him to the Egyptian Underworld. While the gigantic octopus goes into the waters near the Washington Monument, Amelia flies Larry and the New York exhibits back to the Natural History Museum before flying back to Washington, knowing that she will turn to dust at sunrise if she does not return to the Smithsonian.

Larry sells his company and donates the money to the museum to restore the exhibits. Two months later, the museum reopens with Roosevelt and Akhmenrah as tour guides, Attila as a storyteller, and other exhibits come to life in public as "animatronics" at the museum, which now stays open after sunset. Larry is rehired as the night guard, and meets a young woman named Tess (Amy Adams) who looks like Amelia. She asks for help going through the museum because she is "always getting lost."


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.



Guest Characters

Exhibits at the Smithsonian



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

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

All songs written and composed 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

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

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

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

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