Disney Demonstrates Its Fear of Kermit-ment: What’s to Become of the Muppets?

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It’s been more than 24 years since Jim Henson’s untimely death. It’s been more than ten years since The Walt Disney Company acquired the Muppets. This year’s Muppets Most Wanted was a mostly-mediocre movie and didn’t do so hot at the box office. Following that relative failure, it looks like Disney is losing interest in investing much more time and money in the franchise.

In advance of the upcoming video release of Muppets Most Wanted, Disney has at least been doing something new: a digital series titled Disney Drive-On with the Muppets. But they’re still stopping short of any kind of real commitment to the franchise, giving them second billing to Disney in the title and making the series only available via the iOS Disney Movies Anywhere app – and then apparently only for a limited time. You can see the first episode online, though:

The plans Disney Theatrical had been making for a Muppets production on Broadway have been scrapped. It seems highly unlikely that Disney will give precious time on their TV networks, to say nothing of the monetary investment required, to produce a new vehicle for the Muppets on TV. And, after the disappointing results from Muppets Most Wanted, I doubt they’d consider doing another movie unless someone came to them with a can’t-miss idea… and at this point it’s hard to think what such an idea would be.

I just don’t know what to tell my kids: They love the Muppets. My son dressed up as The Swedish Chef for Halloween several years ago, and they were both at least as excited about seeing them on the big screen as I was to take them. I guess if they could get past what happened to Firefly, they can handle this, particularly since there’s a lot more than 14 episodes and one movie’s worth of material available.

Maybe if the Muppets had a walking tree, or a raccoon with a large gun and an attitude, Disney would work harder to figure out something to do with them…?

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5 thoughts on “Disney Demonstrates Its Fear of Kermit-ment: What’s to Become of the Muppets?

  1. It’s too bad. I really feel like they should have backed up a dump truck of money to Jason Segel’s front door to get him back to appear in and write the second movie. Seems like they thought they could coast on the success of the reboot.

  2. I think the Muppets are a lot like the Tonight Show. Jim and Johnny brought the magic and it is very hard to recreate without them.

  3. I loved the Muppets reboot, but Most Wanted was abysmal. There is a huge adult fan base and a younger generation fan base waiting to happen, but Most Wanted just dropped the ball. I personally would love a weekly-half hour comedy/variety show once again. All you need is skits and guests. Maybe the Muppets died when Jim Henson did.

  4. Funny how people think if it’s not a feature film or a TV series the work won’t be good or supported. Don’t despair. The Muppets are in the best place ever and have been termed a ‘year round’ brand in the Interactive division of the company, which extends everywhere in the company. The Muppets need a creative shelter to thrive and this is the first time they have had that chance.

  5. For crying out loud, the muppets have made 8 films and countless TV shows. THEY’RE DONE. The current generation isn’t interested in them. Why should they be? Trying to keep the things going is like trying to revive ALF (and we all saw how that went). The only reason “The Muppets” did okay (and JUST okay) was because Jason Segel managed to inspire a drippy nostalgia for them in audiences. The second movie didn’t have either Segel nor nostalgia going for it, and so audiences were exposed to just how lame the Muppets really are, or at least have become. They had their day. Move on already. It’s embarrassing watching how hard they try to be relevant. FAIL.

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