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  1. #1

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    The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    Fuzzy Renaissance

    Jay Buchsbaum/Muppets Studio LLC
    Disney is orchestrating the Muppets’s return on several fronts: TV specials, Web videos, a feature film, theme-park attractions and a whole lot of merchandising.

    By Brooks Barnes
    The New York Times
    Published: September 18, 2008
    BURBANK, Calif.

    Hyperion
    Books, T-shirts and even skateboards are all part of Disney’s carefully orchestrated new Muppets merchandising blitz.

    POOR Miss Piggy. Like most aging stars in Hollywood, that prima donna pig, along with most of her Muppet pals, has struggled to find substantial roles. Almost nobody under the age of 30 remembers “Pigs in Space.” All everyone wants to talk about is this Hannah Montana person. What’s a down-on-her-luck puppet to do?

    The Walt Disney Company feels her pain. Since it bought Miss Piggy, Kermit and crew in 2004, executives have struggled to figure out how to put them to work. Efforts in 2005 to rejuvenate the furry creatures created by Jim Henson sputtered as the Muppets got lobbed between corporate divisions, and a new television series — a parody of “America’s Next Top Model” called “America’s Next Muppet” — died in the planning stages.

    Now Disney is giving it another go by revving up the full power of its culture-creating engines. Instead of the take-it-slow approach, this time the Muppets are getting the “Hannah Montana” treatment, being blasted into every pop-culture nook and cranny that the company owns or can dream up. The balcony blowhards Statler and Waldorf would be impressed with the ambitiousness of the plan — even if it does come with equally outsize challenges.

    “We think there is a Muppet gene in everybody,” said Lylle Breier, a Disney executive who is the new general manager of Muppets Studio.

    Disney Channel is presenting new specials — the first ran last month, the second will be shown in October — in which Muppets interact with "High School Musical" stars and the Jonas Brothers, among other teenage wunderkinder. A stream of comic videos is in production for Disney.comwhere a new Muppet channel recently made its debut, and viral videos have been unleashed on YouTube. NBC will broadcast a Christmas special in December, and special skits will arrive on certain ABC DVD releases. (One skit with the working title “Desperate Housepigs” is on a coming “Desperate Housewives” DVD.)

    A new feature film, still untitled, is planned for 2010, with more in development. Meanwhile the Muppets will work overtime elsewhere, appearing on a new float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, on “Nightline” interviewing political candidates and on various talk shows. More Muppet-theme attractions are being discussed for Disney theme parks.

    And then there is the merchandise. Coming soon: Muppet clothing at Urban Outfitters and Limited Too stores; Muppet-theme items like stuffed animals and tote bags, at Macy’s; and a Muppet boutique at the New York flagship of F. A. O. Schwarz.

    Disney does not want to create a flash in the pan; it sees the Muppets as a franchise that can sit side by side with, say, Winnie the Pooh. But creating any flash at all is the challenge. With the exception of a guest appearance here and there, the characters have largely been in cold storage for the last three years. And because the Muppets have been without a regular television gig for more than a decade, many children and younger teenagers don’t know them.
    The new Muppet film, for instance, will be geared to a broad audience, but Disney understands the need it to retain an adult sensibility. Mr. Cook hired the team behind the raunchy comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," Jason Segel (the writer and star) and Nicholas Stoller (the director), to deliver the script. Leading up to a film rather than starting with one reflects the feeling among studio executives that the film will make a bigger splash if the marketplace is prepped first.

    With merchandising partnerships like the one with F. A. O. Schwarz, Disney is also trying to tap into a retailing trend popular with children and teenagers: customization. American Girl Place stores, for instance, give shoppers the opportunity to design dolls to their specifications. F. A. O. Schwarz will do the same for Muppets fans.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/21/mo...r=1&ref=movies


    Disney sets new Muppets movie team - 3/12/08

    http://micechat.com/forums/news/9218...ovie-team.html
    Last edited by ALIASd; 09-22-2008 at 10:44 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    This is awesome news!!!!!

    "The Film is OKE-DOKEY!"
    Did you know that 87% of spoken statistics are made up on the spot?

  3. #3

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    uh-oh

    is Muppet High Musical closer than we thought?

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
    uh-oh

    is Muppet High Musical closer than we thought?

    WORLD FAMOUS DISNEY CHANNEL STARS SHARE THE STAGE WITH
    WORLD FAMOUS MUPPETS IN "STUDIO DC: ALMOST LIVE,"
    A SKETCH COMEDY SPECIAL TO BE PRESENTED
    SUNDAY, AUGUST 3 (8:00 P.M., ET/PT) ON DISNEY CHANNEL


    BURBANK, July 24, 2008 . . . Kid and tween favorites Miley Cyrus ("Hannah Montana"), Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas ("Camp Rock"), Ashley Tisdale ("High School Musical"), Dylan and Cole Sprouse, Brenda Song and Phill Lewis ("The Suite Life of Zack & Cody") are joined by
    the world famous Muppets, including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and Fozzie Bear, in the special presentation, "Studio DC: Almost Live," a music-filled, sketch comedy show with classic Muppets backstage antics. The half-hour special premieres SUNDAY, AUGUST 3 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel.



    Hosted by Dylan and Cole Sprouse, the music-filled comedy sketches include Billy Ray Cyrus introducing Miley Cyrus to the rockin' Electric Mayhem Band; Miss Piggy casting herself as the "Jonas sister" and then performing with the Jonas Brothers; Kermit the Frog living his dream by singing "High School Musical's" hit single "Bop to the Top" with Ashley Tisdale; and Kermit, Miss Piggy and Gonzo paying a visit to the Tipton Hotel, seen in the hit series "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody."


    Martin G. Baker is executive producer. "Studio DC: Almost Live" is created by The Muppets Studio.
    Disney Channel MediaNet

  5. #5

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    Thanks ALIASd,

    I was aware of the muppet special with the tween kids, but haven't seen it. I'm just thinking (and fearing) that a full length movie has already been written for MHM.

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    Thanks for the link to the article AliasD. Read it the other day in the Times and was left wondering, since it's all about merchandising the Muppets, how the creative end works now that they're under Disney's tutelage.

    What say, if any, does the Henson family have in Muppet projects?

  7. #7

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    Quote Originally Posted by RonNYC View Post
    What say, if any, does the Henson family have in Muppet projects?
    From their company's website:

    The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and computer graphics. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets (the rights to which are now owned by The Walt Disney Company)
    With no access to the stipulations of the actual deal I'd guess that they left breathing room between the companies for creative consultation with regards to protection and furthering of this property.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    Does this mean we will hear BORK BORK BORK and learn how to cook again with the chef? Ohh I HOPE SO. You what would be really neat and disney MIGHT do this. Is on main street have the hecklers in one the baloney's heckling people as they walk down main street. And be interactive. I could hear it now they would be pointing at some kid or adult and talking about the mickey hat. Just like in the monster inc ride. That would be really cool.

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    I hope they do this right. I really really hope they do. The "viral" videos on youtube and on the official muppet site have been down right hilarious! If they keep everything in that vain, they'll be sure to succeed. However I did watch the first Studio D thing and was just depressed afterwards. There's a second one comin out in a week or so and though one clip did actually make me laugh (Beaker singing the Joe Jonas part of one of the Camp Rock duets... then again Beaker singing is hilarious no matter what) i am just upset they're doing another one.
    Like i said, lets just hope they do this marketing push right


  10. #10

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    Quote Originally Posted by Viking16 View Post
    Does this mean we will hear BORK BORK BORK and learn how to cook again with the chef? Ohh I HOPE SO. You what would be really neat and disney MIGHT do this. Is on main street have the hecklers in one the baloney's heckling people as they walk down main street. And be interactive. I could hear it now they would be pointing at some kid or adult and talking about the mickey hat. Just like in the monster inc ride. That would be really cool.
    and the translated version of that post for the Swedish Chef:

    Dues thees meun ve-a veell heer BORK BORK BORK und leern hoo tu cuuk egeeen veet zee cheff? Oohh I HOPE SO. Yuoo vhet vuoold be-a reelly neet und deesney MIGHT du thees. Um gesh dee bork, bork! Is oon meeen street hefe-a zee hecklers in oone-a zee beluney's heckleeng peuple-a es zeey velk doon meeen street. Um de hur de hur de hur. Und be-a interecteefe-a. I cuoold heer it noo zeey vuoold be-a pueenting et sume-a keed oor edoolt und telkeeng ebuoot zee meeckey het. Um de hur de hur de hur. Joost leeke-a in zee munster inc reede-a. Thet vuoold be-a reelly cuul.


    here's the translator, if you have anything else you would like to say to him in his native language

  11. #11

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    D.I.Y.Muppets:

    The Muppet Whatnot Workshop
    $130
    “It’s time to put on makeup, it’s time to dress up right” — when it comes to the Muppet Whatnots, that is. The Whatnots are the extras of Muppet-land: the colorful backup critters to Kermit and company. Now kids (and nostalgic moms and dads) can create their own Whatnot, from hairstyle to sartorial style. FAO Schwarz turns the designs into 16-inch, hand-and-rod Muppets.
    Muppets Kit at FAO Schwarz

  12. #12

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    Well, that's just cool!

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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    If anyone has yet to get me a Christmas present, this is now at the top of my list. MUST HAVE MUPPET!!!!




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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance


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    Re: The Muppets' fuzzy renaissance

    Dear Santa,
    I've been really good this year. Seriously no fibbing, and I graduated my CNA program w/ honors. You know what to do. Give me a Muppet or else there will be sugar free cookies and water with a fiber supplement instead of the good stuff.

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