The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland

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The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland
Elmo in Grouchland Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gary Halvorson[1]
Produced by Alex Rockwell
Marjorie Kalins[1]
Screenplay by Mitchell Kriegman
Joey Mazzarino[1]
Story by Mitchell Kriegman[1]
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Alan Caso[1]
Edited by Alan Baumgarten
Distributed by Columbia Pictures[1]
Release date
  • October 1, 1999 (1999-10-01)
Running time
77 minutes
  • United States
  • Germany
Language English
Budget $26 million[2]
Box office $11.7 million[2]

The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland is a 1999 musical-comedy adventure film directed by Gary Halvorson. It is the second theatrical feature-length film based on the popular U.S. children's series Sesame Street, the first being Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird in 1985. Produced by Jim Henson Pictures in association with Sesame Workshop and released by Columbia Pictures on October 1, 1999,[1] the film co-stars Mandy Patinkin and Vanessa Williams. The film was shot in Wilmington, North Carolina, at EUE/Screen Gems in early June 1998. This is one of the few Sesame Street productions directly produced by Jim Henson Pictures. Alongside Muppets from Space, this is the final Muppet-themed feature film to have the involvement of Frank Oz, who retired from being a full-time puppeteer the following year.


Elmo is playing with his fuzzy, blue Blanket in his house. After he bumps his Blanket on a juice cup, he washes and dries his Blanket at the laundromat. On the way home, Elmo encounters his friend Zoe, who is feeling depressed because her father, due to having to work, cannot take her to the zoo, so he decides to cheer Zoe up by imitating zoo animals. When Zoe sees Elmo's Blanket, Elmo refuses to share, resulting in a tug of war that rips Elmo's Blanket. Upset at this, Elmo declares that Zoe is no longer his friend. Suddenly, Telly inadvertently takes away the blanket while rollerskating out of control. They go around Finders Keepers and knock over a tray of glasses that Ruthie is carrying. Telly hits Cookie Monster at the revolving door of Furry Arms hotel. The blanket accidentally lands in the hands of Oscar the Grouch, who drops it in his trash can after sneezing into it.

Elmo dives into the bottom of Oscar's trash can, where he finds his Blanket snagged on a door. While attempting to retrieve it, they are both teleported through a colorful, swirling tunnel to the most disgusting place on earth: Grouchland USA, a city filled with Grouches, stinky garbage, and a mean and greedy man named Huxley (Mandy Patinkin), who steals anything he can grab, including Elmo's Blanket. Wanting his Blanket back, Elmo begins a journey through Grouchland. A kind-hearted Grouch girl named Grizzy tells Elmo that his Blanket is in Huxley's house at the top of the faraway Mount Pickanose, but also warns Elmo that he may never make it there, and Elmo sets out on a quest to get his Blanket back. Meanwhile, the Sesame Street residents are informed of Elmo's absence and go to Grouchland to find him, with help from Oscar. When Big Bird and Zoe find a Grouch police officer and ask him for help, the entire group ends up arrested and put in jail as the police officer informs them that it is against the law to ask for help in Grouchland.

Meanwhile, Huxley's socially awkward sidekick, Bug, and his army, the Pesties (who are Bug's minions), trap Elmo in a tunnel using a trap door. However, Elmo gets out with the help of fireflies. Going further, Elmo meets the Queen of Trash (Vanessa Williams) in a garbage dump. At first, when she believes that Elmo might be in league with Huxley, Elmo denies this, but then, he remembers that he refused to share his blanket with Zoe (which is exactly the way Huxley acts), and realizing that he is not so different, feels ashamed. The Queen gives him what she believes is an impossible test by requesting that he blow 100 raspberries in 30 seconds. Elmo succeeds at this and continues his journey to Huxley's house. Elmo is later confronted by Huxley's humongous chicken and gets tossed far away. Resting on a rock, he realizes that night has come, and becomes discouraged.

Meanwhile, Grizzy sneaks into the jail and informs Elmo's friends that he went to Huxley's house. Oscar is convinced to help set things right as well as admitting that Elmo is his friend. He then convinces the police officer and all the Grouches of Grouchland that even though Grouches hate cooperation, the only way they can finally stop Huxley from stealing any more of their trash once and for all, is if they swallow their pride and work together just for once. The police officer releases the Sesame Street residents and the Grouches aid them to go to Huxley's house to fight for their trash and rescue Elmo.

A caterpillar wakes up Elmo the next morning on the rock. He gives Elmo advice to look inside himself and he'll see that he has what it takes be brave. Taking the caterpillar's advice, Elmo makes it to Huxley's before Huxley (who has been calling Elmo's Blanket "his wooby" since he stole it) has the chance to make Elmo's Blanket "his" blanket. However, Huxley foils Elmo's getaway by grabbing Elmo with a remote controlled claw and deciding to stamp "MINE" on him. Just as Elmo is about to face the fate of never seeing his friends again, the Sesame Street and Grouchland citizens appear in time to rescue Elmo, and the Pesties flee in a panic. In all the chaos, Huxley takes Elmo's Blanket again, but Bug (having had his redemption) suddenly sucks it up with the vacuum nozzle on the front of Huxley's elaborate helicopter (which is what Huxley uses to steal things), revealing himself to have been on Elmo's side all along as Elmo catapults a basket over Huxley's shoulders, incapacitating him. After telling Huxley off and stating that he and Huxley are not friends at all, Bug gives Elmo his Blanket back. Elmo is hailed a hero by the Sesame Street and Grouchland citizens, while Huxley unanimously tries to apologize to Bug for his greed and selfishness, promising to give back everything that he stole, but Bug is not interested in what Huxley is attempting to say.

Happy to have finally gotten his Blanket back, Elmo and his friends return to Sesame Street, where Elmo apologizes to Zoe for not sharing his Blanket and hurting her feelings. He gives his Blanket to her and she happily accepts his apology for being kind by sharing with her, agreeing that they can permanently resume their friendship. Elmo then says goodbye to the audience and thanks them for helping before going to dance with his friends, while Ernie and Bert (who were not portrayed as actual characters in the film, but have broken in and interrupted throughout the film due to Bert wanting to ask Ernie about certain scenes) congratulate the audience for playing along and head home as the film ends, but Bert briefly stays to look at the credits, only to leave when Ernie persuades him that it is time to feed Bernice.


Main characters[edit]

Humans of Sesame Street[edit]

Minor characters[edit]

Additional Muppet performers[edit]


The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland
Soundtrack album by Sesame Street
Released 1999
Genre Soundtrack
Label Sony
Sesame Street chronology
Elmo Saves Christmas
(1998)Elmo Saves Christmas1998
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland

This album, released in 1999, is the soundtrack to The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland.

This album won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Album for Children in 2000.

Track listing[edit]

1. Welcome to Grouchland - The Grouchland Ensemble
2. Together Forever - Elmo
3. Take the First Step - Stuckweed
4. I See a Kingdom - Vanessa Williams
5. Precious Wings - Tatyana Ali
6. Elmo Tells His Grouchland Story (Spoken Word)
7. The Grouch Song - Elmo / Grizzy / Oscar the Grouch
8. There's a Big Heap of Trash at the End of the Rainbow - The Stenchman
9. I Love Trash - Steven Tyler


The film has a rating of 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 43 reviews. The film's consensus states, "This fun and moral tale entertains both first-time Sesame Street watchers and seasoned veterans."[3] On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film holds a 59/100, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[4]

Box office[edit]

The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland was the only family film playing in most theaters at the time of its release. Sony had planned a scaled-back release[citation needed], making it difficult to make its money back. The film opened at #8, with a weekend gross of $3,255,033 from 1,210 theaters, averaging $2,690 per venue. In total, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland earned back less than half its $26 million budget, grossing $11,683,047 during its two-and-a-half-month theatrical run.[2] It is currently the lowest-grossing Muppet film to date.[citation needed]

Home media[edit]

The movie was released on VHS and DVD on December 21, 1999.

Book series[edit]

The film inspired a trilogy of children's books, published in 1999: Happy Grouchy Day, The Grouchiest Lovey and Unwelcome to Grouchland. The book series was written by Suzanne Weyn and illustrated by Tom Brannon.


External links[edit]