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…?