Night at the Museum
Night at the Museum poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byShawn Levy
Screenplay by
Based onThe Night at the Museum
by Milan Trenc
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyGuillermo Navarro
Edited byDon Zimmerman
Music byAlan Silvestri
Production
companies
Distributed by20th Century Fox[1]
Release dates
  • December 17, 2006 (2006-12-17) (New York City)
  • December 22, 2006 (2006-12-22) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes[1]
Countries
  • United Kingdom[1]
  • United States[1]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$110 million[3]
Box office$574.5 million[4]

Night at the Museum is a 2006 fantasy comedy film directed by Shawn Levy and written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. It is based on the 1993 children's book of the same name by Croatian illustrator Milan Trenc. The film had an ensemble cast of Ben Stiller in the lead role, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, and Robin Williams. It tells the story of a divorced father who applies for a job as a night watchman at New York City's American Museum of Natural History and subsequently discovers that the exhibits, animated by a magical Egyptian artifact, come to life at night. 20th Century Fox released the film on December 22, 2006, and it grossed $574.5 million worldwide, becoming the 5th highest-grossing film of 2006, but received mixed reviews from critics.

Two sequels were released: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian in 2009, and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb in 2014. An animated sequel, Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again, is also scheduled to be released in 2022 for the streaming service Disney+.

Plot

In Brooklyn, Larry Daley's unstable work history makes his ex-wife, Erica, consider him a bad example to their ten-year-old son, Nick. Larry worries that Nick admires Erica's boyfriend Don more than him. To improve his financial stability, Larry applies for a job as night security guard at the Museum of Natural History. Retiring guard Cecil Fredericks hires Larry, despite his unpromising résumé. The museum, facing declining attendance and revenue, is replacing Cecil and his two colleagues, Gus and Reginald, with only one guard. Cecil gives Larry an instruction manual on museum security and warns him not to let anything "in... or out".

On his first night, Larry discovers that after sunset, the exhibits come to life, including a playful Tyrannosaurus skeleton nicknamed "Rexy"; a mischievous stuffed capuchin monkey named Dexter; various African animals; rival miniature civilizations portraying the Old West, Ancient Rome, and Ancient Maya; an Easter Island Moai obsessed with chewing gum; wax models of various historical figures, including the violent Attila the Hun; an army of American Civil War soldiers, and four pyromaniacal Neanderthals. There is also Sacagawea, who, unlike the other exhibits, is encased in glass. A mounted Teddy Roosevelt rescues Larry from miniature leaders Jedediah and Octavius, who are attacking him. Teddy explains that ever since an ancient Egyptian artifact — the Golden Tablet of Pharaoh Ahkmenrah — was brought to the museum in 1952, the exhibits have come to life each night. If any exhibit figure is outside the museum at sunrise, they turn to dust. As Teddy helps Larry restore order, Larry learns that Teddy loves Sacagawea but is too shy to speak to her through the glass.

The next morning, Cecil, Reginald, and Gus return to check on Larry, but Larry says he is quitting. When Nick and Don stop by the museum to congratulate Larry on his new job, Larry decides to stay for his son's sake. To help him with the job, Cecil advises reading up on history.

That night, Larry better controls the exhibits, but the four Neanderthals set their display on fire while Dexter steals Larry's keys. As Larry extinguishes the fire, Dexter unlocks a window. One of the Neanderthals sees a trash bin fire on the street below and leaps out the window. Larry, frustrated with everything going awry, once again decides to quit. As he walks out, the Christopher Columbus statue gestures to where the Neanderthal escaped. Larry runs outside just as the rising sun disintegrates the Neanderthal into dust. Later that morning, museum director Dr. McPhee fires Larry over the damaged Neanderthal exhibit, though Larry convinces him to reconsider. Larry meets Rebecca Huntman, an attractive museum guide and historian. When he offers to introduce her to Sacagawea to help with her doctoral research, Rebecca believes Larry is mocking her.

One night, Larry brings Nick to the museum to show him the exhibits, but nothing comes to life. They discover Cecil, Gus, and Reginald stealing the tablet and other valuable artifacts. They have disabled the tablet to prevent the exhibits from interfering. Like the exhibits, the guards receive enhanced vitality from the tablet and intend to frame Larry for the thefts. Larry has Nick reactivate the tablet, then tells him to run and hide. After a chase, Cecil locks up Nick and Larry in the Egyptian room and steals back the tablet. Larry releases Ahkmenrah's mummy from his sarcophagus. The pharaoh then helps Larry and Nick escape. When the three find the other exhibits fighting each other, Larry convinces them to unite to catch the guards and recover the tablet.

The Civil War soldiers, Neanderthals, and Christopher Columbus capture Gus and Reginald. Cecil escapes in a stagecoach and is about to run over Sacagawea. Teddy pushes her aside but he is run over and sliced in half. Larry, Nick, Ahkmenrah, Jed, Octavius, Rexy, and Attila pursue Cecil to Central Park, where they stop him and regain the tablet. Sacagawea repairs Teddy with warm wax. Rebecca arrives and sees the exhibits returning to the museum before sunrise and realizes the truth. The next day, McPhee fires Larry after news reports about strange events happening around the museum — such as cave paintings in the museum's subway station, dinosaur tracks in Central Park, and cavemen sightings. However, when the publicity significantly increases the museum's attendance, McPhee rehires Larry. That night, Larry, Nick, and the exhibits celebrate.

During the end credits, Cecil, Gus and Reginald are seen working as the museum janitors as punishment for their crimes.

Cast

Humans

Exhibits

Production

The building featured in the film, which was constructed on a sound stage in Burnaby, British Columbia, is based on the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, external shots of which were used in the movie.[5]

Trainers spent several weeks training Crystal, who plays the troublemaking monkey Dexter, to slap and bite Stiller in the film.

Director Shawn Levy credited Ben Stiller for the ensemble cast: "When actors hear that Ben Stiller is in a movie they want to work with him. It['s] a high-water mark and it absolutely draws actors in and I'm convinced that's a big part of why we got this cast."[6]

Music

Songs

Ben Stiller claimed that he watched Tom Cruise in the Mission: Impossible films to learn how to imitate his running technique, shown here as Stiller portraying his film character running from the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton (Rexy).[6]
Ben Stiller claimed that he watched Tom Cruise in the Mission: Impossible films to learn how to imitate his running technique, shown here as Stiller portraying his film character running from the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton (Rexy).[6]

Score

Alan Silvestri replaced John Ottman as score composer.[7] Silvestri's score was used for the teaser trailer of Horton Hears a Who!

Night at the Museum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by
Alan Silvestri
ReleasedDecember 19, 2006 (2006-12-19)
Recorded2006
GenreFilm score
Length53:19
LabelVarèse Sarabande

Track list

Varèse Sarabande released a soundtrack album of the score on December 19, 2006.[8]

All tracks are written by Alan Silvestri.

Night at the Museum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
No.TitleLength
1."Night at the Museum"02:35
2."One of Those Days"00:49
3."An Ordinary Guy?"01:27
4."Tour of the Museum"02:35
5."Civil War Soldiers"04:08
6."Out of Africa"01:07
7."Meet Dexter"01:27
8."Mayan Warriors"00:57
9."Where's Rexy?"00:48
10."West from Africa"01:49
11."The Iron Horse"01:06
12."Saved by Teddy"01:57
13."Tablet of Akmenrah"00:37
14."Tracking, Dear Boy"01:08
15."Some Men Are Born Great"00:50
16."Sunrise"00:42
17."Study Up on History"02:15
18."Teddy Likes Sacagawea"01:53
19."Tearing Limbs"01:45
20."Caveman on Fire"00:43
21."Outrun the Sun"00:58
22."Show You What I Do"02:55
23."Tablet's Gone"02:45
24."Theodore Roosevelt at Your Service"01:11
25."This Is Your Moment"02:10
26."Rally the Troops"01:07
27."Tree Take Down"01:21
28."Cecil's Escape"01:26
29."Stage Coach"02:28
30."Teddy in Two"01:18
31."Cab Ride"00:50
32."Big Fan"01:03
33."Heroes Return"00:54
34."A Great Man"00:57
35."Full House"01:21
Total length:53:19

Release

Night at the Museum had its premiere in New York City on December 17, 2006. It was later released on December 22, 2006 in the United States, December 26, 2006 in UK, January 12, 2007 in Brazil, on February 14, 2007 in China and on March 17, 2007 in Japan.[9]

Reception

Box office

At the end of its box office run, Night at the Museum earned a gross of $250.9 million in the US and Canada and $323.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $574.5 million.[4] It was the fifth highest-grossing film of 2006 and also the highest-grossing film worldwide of the trilogy.[10]

It was the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend, grossing $30.8 million and playing in 3,685 theaters, with a $8,258 per-theater average. For the four-day Christmas holiday weekend, it took in $42.2 million.[4] The movie was also released in IMAX large screen format, often on site at museums of science or natural history such as the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

In its second weekend, Night at the Museum expanded into 83 more theaters for a total of 3,768, and took in approximately $36.7 million, out-grossing its opening weekend. It maintained the top position in its third week, with an additional $23.7 million.[11]

During its international opening weekend of December 22, 2006, the film grossed a figure of estimated $5 million, with the highest debut coming from South Korea ($5.04 million).[12] The biggest market in the other territories were the UK, Japan, South Korea, and Germany, where it grossed $40.8 million, $30 million, $25.7 million, $22.9 million.[13]

Critical response

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Night at the Museum has an approval rating of 44% based on 140 reviews and an average rating of 5.30/10. The site's critical consensus read, "Parents might call this either a spectacle-filled adventure or a shallow and vapid CG-fest, depending on whether they choose to embrace this on the same level as their kids."[14] As of October 2020, on Metacritic, the film had a score of 48 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15] CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[16]

Justin Chang of Variety magazine wrote: "This rambunctious, "Jumanji"-style extravaganza is a gallery of special effects in search of a story; rarely has so much production value yielded so little in terms of audience engagement."[17] James Berardinelli of Reelviews gave it 2 stars out of 4, and commented on Stiller's performance by stating "It might be fair to give Ben Stiller an 'A' for effort, but to call what he does in this movie 'acting' is a misnomer. He does a lot of running around, occasionally falling down or bumping into things."[18] One positive review by William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, gave it a B−, and stated that the film was "Out to impress and delight a family audience with the pageantry of human and natural history, and that's a surprisingly worthy ambition for a Hollywood comedy."[19]

Museum officials at the American Museum of Natural History have credited the film for increasing the number of visitors during the holiday season by almost 20%. According to a museum official, between December 22, 2006, and January 2, 2007, there were 50,000 more visitors than during the same period the prior year.[20]

Home media

The film was released on a 2-Disc DVD edition in the United Kingdom on April 23, 2007. It was released on 1-Disc and 2-Disc DVD editions and Blu-ray Disc format on April 24, 2007 elsewhere.[citation needed]

The film became the first non-Disney film to be reviewed by Ultimate Disney (now known as DVDizzy.com), due to the website dealing with other studios besides Disney.[21][22]

As of 6 December 2009, the film has sold 9,191,694 DVDs and grossed $153,566,058 in DVD sales.[23]

Awards

Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film Nominated
ASCAP Award Top Box Office Films Alan Silvestri Won
Artios Best Feature Film Casting - Comedy Ilene Starger
Coreen Mayrs (Vancouver casting)
Heike Brandstatter (Vancouver casting)
Won
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Nominated [24]
MTV Movie Award Best Comedic Performance Ben Stiller Nominated
National Movie Award Best Comedy Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Comedy and Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Ben Stiller Nominated
Taurus Award Hardest Hit Greg Fitzpatrick Nominated [25]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Actor Age Ten or Younger Jake Cherry Nominated [26]

Sequels

Further information: Night at the Museum (franchise)

Night at the Museum was followed by a sequel titled Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,[27] which was released on May 22, 2009 in North America. A third film, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, was released on December 19, 2014 in North America.[28]

In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter stated that the Alibaba Pictures Group intended to remake the film.[29] 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 of Night at the Museum is in development. The project will be released as a Disney+ exclusive film, as a co-production between Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and 20th Century Studios.[30]

In October 2020, the movie was officially titled Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again, with production beginning on November 2, 2020, and Shawn Levy serving as executive producer. While the majority of the original cast were initially not expected to return.[31]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Night at the Museum (2006)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Night at the Museum (2006)". British Film Institute. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  3. ^ Night at the Museum (2006)
  4. ^ a b c "Night at the Museum (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  5. ^ "MovieLocationsGuide.com". Night at the Museum Filming Locations. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Sun2Surf.com". Stiller shifts to the Museum. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  7. ^ "Night at the Museum Soundtrack". amazon.com. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  8. ^ "Night at the Museum [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  9. ^ "Night at the Museum Release". imdb.com. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  10. ^ "Night at the Museum Showdown". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  11. ^ "Night at the Museum domestic weekend". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  12. ^ "Night at the Museum Foreign Weekly". boxofficemojo.com. IMDB. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  13. ^ "NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM foreign market". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  14. ^ "Night at the Museum". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  15. ^ "Night at the Museum". Metacritic. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  16. ^ "Cinemascore". cinemascore.com/. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  17. ^ Chang, Justin (December 21, 2006). "Night at the Museum". Variety.
  18. ^ "Reelviews.com". Night at the Museum. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  19. ^ Arnold, William (December 21, 2006). "SeattlePI.com". Shallow 'Museum' exhibits some appealing qualities. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  20. ^ "msnbc.com". Movie boosts Natural History Museum visits. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
  21. ^ "UltimateDisney.com". Non-Disney films to be reviewed by Ultimate Disney. Retrieved April 20, 2007.
  22. ^ "UltimateDisney.com". "Night at the Museum" at UltimateDisney.com. Retrieved April 24, 2007.
  23. ^ "Night at the Museum". the-numbers.com. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  24. ^ "2007 Host Nominee Release". Nickelodeon. February 7, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  25. ^ "Taurus World Stunt Awards - Hardest Hit". World Stunt Awards. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  26. ^ "28th Annual Young Artist Awards Nominations". Young Artist Association. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  27. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian". imdb.com. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  28. ^ "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb". comingsoon.net. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  29. ^ Rebecca Sun and Patrick Brzeski (April 25, 2016). "China's Alibaba Pictures to Remake 'Night at the Museum'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  30. ^ Disney is rebooting Movies from the past.
  31. ^ "Exclusive: Details on The Disney+ Animated Movie 'Night At The Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again'". The DisInsider. October 7, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2022.