John Henson, son of the late Muppets creator Jim Henson, died Friday after suffering a sudden heart attack. He was 48. The Jim Henson Company confirmed his passing today on their official Facebook page. The youngest son of puppeteers Jim and Jane Henson, John Henson was a shareholder and board member of The Jim Henson Company and was a longtime puppeteer and craftsman in the family biz who performed in voice and body suit as the nine-foot tall ogre Sweetums for many years. His credits in the Sweetums character include Muppets pics Muppet Treasure Island, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz among other films, specials, and shorts.
Here’s a full trailer for Disney‘s Muppets Most Wanted, which finds an evil Kermit doppelganger taking his place with Miss Piggyand company while Kermit rots in a Russian prison. The Muppets director James Bobin returns for the globe-trotting caper, which he co-wrote with Nicholas Stoller. Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, and a gaggle of celebs turn up in the March 21 release. Watch the trailer:
Disney‘s follow-up to their 2011 box office hit The Muppets takes Kermit the Frog & Co. on a globe-trotting caper with celebrity pals like Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, and loads of cameos. Here’s the first teaser trailer for the Spring 2014 release directed by Muppets helmer James Bobin and written by Bobin and Muppets co-scribe Nicholas Stoller. Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie also returns to pen the film’s songs. Check out the first peek at Muppets Most Wanted:
BBC One has joined with The Jim Henson Company for That Puppet Game Show, a new comedy game series that has a few things in common with Henson’s original Muppet Show. The series is currently shooting and will occupy a primetime slot on Saturday nights beginning later this year. Each week, two celebrity guests – the only humans on the program – will compete head-to-head in a group of “madcap” games as they vie to win £10,000 for charity. Like The Muppet Show, which incorporated behind-the-scenes shenanigans along with the actual onstage goings-on, That Puppet Game Show will also feature a backstage sitcom. The new characters created for the program include Mancie the producer and show exec Udders McGhee. The host, Dougie Colon (above, and pronounced Cologne), bears a resemblance to Sesame Street character Guy Smiley, who was created and performed by the late Jim Henson. That Puppet Game Show is a co-production between BBC In-House Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company. The executive producers are Derek McLean and Brian Henson.
A seasoned assistant film editor has filed a complaint of harassment, gender discrimination and wrongful termination against Walt Disney Pictures and Muppets movie editor James Thomas. “Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff, created a hostile work environment and treated Plaintiff differently because she was an Asian woman over age 40, and terminated Plaintiff’s employment because of her gender, race and family responsibilities and because she made good faith complaints and opposed Defendants’ unlawful conduct,” says the complaint (read it here) filed by Cecilia Hyoun’s lawyer on June 3 in LA Superior Court. “Defendants also falsely claimed that Plaintiff’s position was being eliminated, whereas in truth and in fact a subordinate male employee with vastly less experience than Plaintiff was promoted to her position,” adds the complaint of her June 1, 2011, dismissal from The Muppets. Hyoun is seeking compensatory damages to be determined by the court in a jury trial for her lost wages, sick pay, and vacation pay. Hyoun started work on The Muppets in the fall of 2010 and claims she even turned down another job at Paramount because she expected to be working on the film until November of 2011. Claiming that Thomas made negative comments about her race, the postproduction vet is also seeking punitive damages and mental and emotional distress damages as well as interest and legal …
Jane Nebel Henson died in her Connecticut home today after a long battle with cancer. A memorial mass is planned for next week. She met Jim Henson in a puppetry class at the University of Maryland and soon after became an integral creative and business partner with him to form the Muppets. They began performing together on NBC’s D.C. affiliate station WRC-TV while she was an undergraduate. Their show, Sam And Friends, took off and soon they were doing guest spots on Steve Allen’s Tonight Show. They were married in 1959, and she gave birth to Lisa Henson, Cheryl Henson, Brian Henson, John Henson and Heather Henson. Brian is currently chairman and Lisa is CEO of The Jim Henson Co, which continues to generate Muppets films.
UPDATE: The Walt Disney Studios made news during its presentation at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas tonight. Its upcoming slate includes new titles from its Pixar Animation Studios including two with Hispanic flavor, and confirmation of a sequel to 2011′s The Muppets:
The Muppets director James Bobin will return to helm with a script written by Bobin and Nicholas Stoller. A release date has not been announced.
The Good Dinosaur – The Pixar comedy is from director Bob Peterson, co-director Peter Sohn and producer John Walker. According to Pixar, it’s about what would happen “if the cataclysmic asteroid that forever changed life on Earth actually missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct?” It will be released in the U.S. on May 30, 2014.
Related: Hot Trailer: Disney/Pixar’s ‘Brave’
Disney CEO Bob Iger let the frog out of the bag at the company’s annual meeting in Kansas City today. “Somewhere in my mind I know that work is being done on a sequel,” he said, before stopping himself saying he didn’t know how much has been disclosed about a second ‘The Muppets‘ movie. Iger added, in response to a question, that design work is “just beginning” for the Avatar attraction planned for Animal Kingdom in Orlando — and “in all likelihood” it won’t open until 2015. He says the company is “working on some concepts” to introduce attractions involving Marvel characters. They’re also “kicking around ideas” to enhance the presence of Pirates Of The Caribbean and Cars at the parks. “It would be tough to do walk-around characters” for Cars, he said.
Beverly Hills, CA – Hollywood icons Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy will present at the 84th Academy Awards®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today. This is the Muppets fifth appearance at the Academy Awards. They are fresh off their triumphant critical and box office success in Disney’s “The Muppets,” which is Oscar nominated for Best Song, “Man or Muppet.”
How did we miss this? Fox Business news on the network’s “Follow the Money” program last week opined that Disney’s The Muppets movie storyline featuring an evil oil baron made it the latest example of Hollywood’s anti-corporate liberal agenda. “They’ve been doing it for decades. Hollywood, the left, the media, they hate the oil industry,” complained Dan Gainor of the conservative Media Research Center. ”They hate corporate America. And so you’ll see all these movies attacking it”:
No Box Office Bounty For T-Day Weekend: ‘Breaking Dawn’ Still #1, ‘The Muppets’ #2, ‘Happy Feet’ #3, ‘Arthur Xmas’ #4, ‘Hugo’ #5
FRIDAY PM/SATURDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: Full analysis later this morning. But overall Thanksgiving holiday weekend moviegoing is looking like $230 million, which is still down -12% from last year. So the North American box office slump continues. Nevertheless, the Friday after T-Day is traditionally the biggest moviegoing day of the year, and this one didn’t disappoint. Parents and kids did come back into theaters Friday for some of the new family fare which didn’t speed out of the theatrical gate Wednesday or Thursday. It helped that critics bestowed good reviews and audiences gave great CinemaScores to Disney’s rebooted The Muppets which earned an ‘A’ and Sony Pictures’ Arthur Christmas an ‘A-’. But Summit Entertainment’s holdover Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 is still the undisputed winner of the holiday weekend derby. Martin Scorsese’s 3D film Hugo scored 97% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoesis and is holding its own considering that it’s playing on 2,000 less screens than all the competition. But it also cost a fortune after going wildly over budget. Meanwhile, The Weinstein Co didn’t provide new numbers yet for platforming its Oscar-buzzed My Week With Marilyn which added 61 markets including Canada for 244 runs Friday. It made $156K Wednesday and $155K Thursday for a projected $2M for the 5-day holiday. The Weinstein Co’s other Academy Awards-touted …
SNL Auditions Regis Philbin Replacements
Last night’s Saturday Night Live hosted by Jason Segel with musical guest Florence + The Machine, averaged a 4.6/11 in metered-market households and a 2.8/12 in adults 18-49 in Local People Meters. The late-night sketch show was up a tenth in both measures from last week’s telecast hosted by Emma Stone with Coldplay. In 18-49, SNL mached its best result this season (tied with the Oct. 12 edition hosted by Charlie Day with Maroon 5). Here is Segel’s monologue, in which he was joined by his co-stars from The Muppets movie:
With freshly picked Oscars producer Brian Grazer now looking for a host, one of the first calls some people suggest he make is to The Muppets. A Facebook page has been advocating for the Muppets to host the Oscars since February 28th and now appears to be gaining traction with today’s departure of Eddie Murphy. Quite a few Deadline comments echo the sentiment. But The Muppets? Really? Disney owns both the Muppets and ABC, which is the network that broadcasts the Oscars and just happens to have a new movie starring Jim Henson’s creations releasing on November 23rd. Can you smell PR stunt?
Here’s the second trailer for Walt Disney Pictures’ The Muppets, which stars Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and the whole Muppet gang. Its release date is November 23. In this one they are pumping up the celebrity cameo angle, a staple of the past Muppets films.
Taking a page from the quick-cut teaser trailer done by director David Fincher for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the makers of The Muppets have generated their own to promote the family comedy that premieres November 23 through Disney. James Bobin directs and Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper star.
Disney Announces Two New Pixar Films
Who needs Comic-Con when you can do it yourself?
That must be exactly what Disney is thinking as it continues its massive second annual Disney D23/ Expo, the “ultimate fan event” taking place all weekend long at the Anaheim Convention Center right next to Disneyland (the name refers to 1923, the year Walt Disney started his studio). It’s an offshoot of the official Disney Fan Club and includes a ginormous exhibition center with every imaginable opportunity to buy Disneyana, numerous fan events and celebrity-sighting opps, and then there was today’s centerpiece: a near-three-hour preview of movies in the pipeline from Disney, Pixar and Marvel (which announced a partnership with the company in 2009 that is just now gearing up).
Call it “Mickey Con”. It’s all a bit overwhelming, so no wonder it takes three days just to get through it all. The event continues through the end of Sunday.
After his major presentation of the new Disney slate in the gargantuan arena in front of 4200 seemingly rabid fans (and a few more restrained press members), I caught up with Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross in the Green Room for an exclusive interview in which he talked about the possibilities of a fifth Pirate.s of the Caribbean film as well as his first comments on the demise of Pirates team Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer’s about-to-shoot Western The Lone Ranger, which Deadline’s Mike Fleming first reported had been dropped by Disney due to budgetary concerns on the pricey pic. When I asked Ross if there was anything new to report he said, ”Nothing definitive. There is nothing new. I’m hoping to do it, I’m certainly hoping. I think it’s a compelling story and no one wants to work with Jerry and Johnny more than me, so we’ll see how it works.” And about the possibility of a fifth Pirates? The situation is obviously clouded with the Lone Ranger situation, but again he used the word “hopeful.”
After a tease clip debuted last month, this is the real-deal trailer for Disney’s The Muppets, which will bow Nov. 23. The movie, directed by James Bobin, stars Jason Segel and Amy Adams and of course Kermit and the gang.
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Gonzo are all back Nov. 23 for Disney’s The Muppets movie directed by James Bobin, produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, and written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller: