Latest news on The Muppets sequel

News Simon Brew 1 Nov 2012 - 07:24
Head back to the big screen....where they belong

A bit of casting news is in for the follow-up to The Muppets, as well as details of where the film is going to be set...

We make no apologies for the fact that any news surrounding the next Muppet movie is going to be treated like gold dust around these parts. The latest film remains regularly rewatched, and we've also got a UK cinematic re-release of The Muppet Christmas Carol later this month.

And now we hear that parts of The Muppets sequel are falling into place. The intention with this one is to veer closer to the style of The Great Muppet Caper, we understand, and James Bobin is returning to direct. Bobin has also been co-writing the script with Nicholas Stoller, although Jason Segel is not involved in any department this time around.

But it looks as though Christoph Waltz is. The Academy Award winning actor is, according to The Hollywood Reporter, set to join The Muppets 2 as an Interpol agent. Furthermore, the new film will be set in Europe. Which hopefully means they'll film in Europe too. We could pay them a surprise visit then. Sure they'd like that.

Other characters, amongst the many yet to be cast, include a Russian femme fatale, and a new male lead "whose intentions are always in question". Our audition tape is ready and waiting.

Production on The Muppets sequel is likely to take place next year.

The Hollywood Reporter.

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Kill it. Kill it now. (Grabs flamethrower).

Disney took a great franchise and sanitised it to high heaven. Ever since the Hensons took leave of the Muppets, it's been nothing more than a hollow shell. The current charge seem to think they know the Muppets and the humour - but they do not. It's telling when Frank Oz didn't exactly have nice words to say about the script, and that Steve Whitmire threatened to have his name taken off the credits.

If they can screw with the Muppets, imagine what'll happen with Star Wars. Yet people wil still bloody buy it. Sigh.

Have you seen the latest film? It was clearly made with a massive amount of love and understanding of the Muppet franchise. It is more of a tribute to the original series than the movies, so perhaps you weren't a fan of that.

But to those of us who loved the series realise that they completely got it right. They made a Muppet Movie about being a Muppet. Perfect.

And for the record Henson had begun setting up the Disney film before he died. He had faith in them and so should we.

'Disney deal' not 'Disney film'

I watched about 30 minutes of it (having rented it from iTunes) and switched it off. It was far too sanitised and offer none of the underlying knowing humour of the original Henson gang. Additionally the amount of CG used made things even worse. It was like the Moopets - a poor imitation of what the original Muppets used to be.

This is the problem - when you have fans trying to respectful to the original franchise it turns out to be a massive tribute film and does not represent the achievements that Henson, Oz, Juhl, etc. made during their careers. The original Disney muppet film was merely what they thought the Muppets were. That simply was not the case.

If it were me - I'd have left The Muppets alone. Memories are sometimes better than trying to recreate the good old days. Disney don't care - they're all about profits.

I am glad Jason Segal is not involved. The last movie spent way too much time with his character in what was supposed to be a movie about muppets.

I personally disliked the new Muppets movie but I cannot deny the fact that the film was created with love and care by real fans regardless of being at Disney.

The main reason I disliked the movie was because it was squarely aimed at children which is fine as it above all a franchise for children (with the odd joke for the adults) and they deserve the same entertainment most of us received as children (just not so much for me as an adult). I'm glad they are back on the big screen, i'm glad there's a sequel and overall glad they are at Disney

Hmm. I always thought the Muppets had a particular mischievous adult sense of humour - Jim Henson was well known for it. Look at the likes of Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett in the animation world - their cartoons had particularly adult themes and jokes and yet as I child I loved them.

The Disney Muppets had NONE of that. If Disney, and by proxy the filmmakers, are aiming at children then they don't understand Jim Henson's philosophy. As I say, if Steve Whitmire (Kermit) and Frank Oz voiced concerns - that speaks volumes to me.

I love the Muppets i hated this new film i love Rowlf i only saw him once through out the movie my problem with these movies today like muppets and smurfs 2 examples

They have enough characters already they are memorable for who THEY are now directors bring in * new * characters and they take up more screen time

Walter i just could not come to accept or care of

Oh that simply isn't true about Disney. Sure they are a company which wants to do well and make money, but they want to make a profit by making good movies. For example, John Carter, not to everyone's taste sure, but if you think it was made without love and devotion you must be crazy.

John Carter was the most unprofitable film in Disney's history. The consequence of this was that execs lost their jobs thanks to it's poor performance at the box office.

Disney is so large now that controls 4 animation studios - two of which have been the subject of anti-competitive poaching of employees (ironically ILM and Pixar which used to be one company before it was split off and sold to Steve Jobs) and are still under close scrutiny from the US government - especially now that a single studio controls both companies.

And don't mention outsourcing.

Going back to what I said about the humour of the Muppets - it was Lew Grade that helped get the Muppets to the TV screens. Without him, the US TV networks probably would never have given the Muppets a chance as a variety show. The US networks dismissed Henson due to his involvement with childrens' programming and had the mindset that he wasn't up to the job.

John carter cost about 300 million, which is crazy sure, but made 281 million worldwide, not the most unprofitable film in Disney history, not by a long shot. That might be Mars needs Moms which cost 150 and made 39 worldwide.

But yes good for Lew Grade, but then he also did Rase the Titanic, one of Britain's least profitable films so nobody's perfect.

And however John Carter did box office wise it was still a good film, although I would say that as I worked on it!

FWIW, I did enjoy John Carter. If not the most unprofitable, then, it still rankled the Disney board sufficiently. Disney shut down Imagemovers after Mars Need Moms - causing loss of jobs. Ah yes, Raise the Titanic - that's something history wouldn't miss ;)

On the other hand, Disney also ploughed money into getting Photoshop running under Linux through the Wine project - shortly before shutting down their 2D animation studio.

Agreed - and indeed, many of my former work colleagues got to work on Carter too. :)

I agree that the humour has changed and thats why it wasn't for me personally but things change over time, especially in a franchise going as long as this one has.

They hired people who cared about the product and produced something that wasn't a complete disaster (just thinking of Muppets of Oz makes me shudder). It's a shame the original puppeters and voice actors werent happy but if things are to continue there is a need for new blood and a new direction otherwise the franchise would just die with them. Generations differ.

Look at how many loved this movie and actualy went to the cinema to watch the Muppets and not a CGI fest (animated or otherwise) that is to be aplauded.

Things come in waves and maybe in the future there will be another reboot/sequel that is more in a tone that would suit us and others but as long as the Muppets are on the big screen the world is a better place for it and as I said before Im glad

My analogy regarding the golden age of cartoons versus the later attempts with the same characters/brand still stands.

The people that produced the more modern Looney Tunes (as an example) cartoons/movies were undoubtedly fans and were trying to be as respectful as possible - but the result was nowhere near the original quality that made the franchise as good as it was - in particular, the 60s produced some godawful LT cartoons that were a pale imitation of the original 40s and 50s cartoons.

This is exactly what I'm seeing with Disney's Muppets. The ironic thing is that I had high hopes given the viral YouTube videos that Disney produced. I actually thought we were going places. But that movie - that abomination - undid all that fine work.

There was significant "invisible" CG work on the Muppets - and much of the puppet and character FX work were all outsourced. Something that goes against the original principals of what Henson wanted to achieve (and he loved technology - look at what the Creature Shop achieved with animatronics and even bleeding edge real-time CG characters).

You lot can mark my comments down as much as you like, but I'm sticking with my opinion. The Muppets movie franchise is not working for me. At all.

Slightly off topic but I think this whole mark up and down of comments is a foolish inclusion and pretty much enables internet trolls. I feel if we don't agree with something we should discuss it rather than clicking a button of good/bad. I myself have received down votes in comments boards for expressing an opinion and it actually dissuades me from bothering to post any more comments rather than inspiring debate. I know this is not a Den of Geek issue but Disqus but at the same time its the people who use the system. I suggest we dont

Hmmm.... Not sure what your problem is with the fx in the Muppets. If it was mostly invisible stuff then it wasn't a cgi fest. Most studio films have clean up nowadays, makes it quicker to shoot on the day. Skyfall has lots of it, and that's not a cgi fest either. As for outsourcing it, no studio has its own full vfx department anymore, different companies globally bid for work. Look FX and Shade fx are pretty small north american companies and would mostly have done all the work in house rather than sending their roto work and tracking to a third world sweat shop. Jim Henson would have used external companies in the same way if he was alive today. I imagine he would be against the sweatshop thing, but it seems Disney, in this instance, was too.

What I really liked about the original Muppets was they achieved wonderful effects on set, live, without the need for much post-production work. Some of the ideas that Brian Henson and the mechanical effects team achieved (remember the Muppet bicycle ride - wonderful invention, or the rats cooking food at the cafe in Muppets Take Manhattan - fantastic!).

While I was working at MPC we were directly competing with Henson's for a lot of CG work as there just wasn't much call for live action animatronics or real-time CG creatures. We ended up replacing a LOT of animatronics over the years - whether it be Henson, Dudman or Gorton.

I'm not sure Henson would have outsourced - they already have a fine team split across all disciplines and I'm sure there is sufficient demand for them to take on new staff as and when the need arises. They were actively doing their own CG compositing and 3D model work before they shut up shop in London.

As for studios owning - you're right - not many do, not when you consider the tax incentives being dangled in front of the major film studios. It allowed MPC to get a lot of work as a consequence - mainly from Warner Bros (who did set-up a facility for Mars Attacks and promptly shut it down afterwards).

Agreed 200% - it's like having a clapometer and doesn't really encourage discussion (e.g. - click downwards="I disagree" - disagree about what exactly?) which is the entire point of having a comment section in the first place. Makes people lazy IMHO.

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