Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Muppets at D23

Disney fans gathered at the Anaheim Convention Center this past weekend for the first ever D23 Expo. The event was full of exclusive presentations, exhibits announcements, and experiences for Disney fans and devotees. The unique gathering of all segments of the Walt Disney Company was billed as the ultimate fan experience. The Muppets were on hand to share in the festivities and share some big news from the Muppets Studios – including big news from Walt Disney Pictures that a theatrical Muppet film is indeed on the way!

The Muppets joined Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook on Friday at the D23 Expo during a presentation on the studio's forthcoming film slate. A cast of 24 Muppets performed "Rainbow Connection" aboard an old-fashioned steamboat as Cook announced that a new Muppet movie would be coming "very soon."

"It's called `The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made,'" Cook shared. No further details on the film or its production/release schedule were given at the expo, but Muppet Studios had plenty of other announcements for projects planned to reach fans throughout the next year.

The Muppets Studio General Manager Lylle Breier hosted a special Muppet presentation on Sunday. The presentation gave an overview of what fan can expect from the Muppets in the coming year – as well as highlighting some of their recent exploits and successes. Here is a run down of the big announcements made by the Muppets Studio.

Cooking with Cat Cora - The Muppets will star in a brand-new original online show with television chef Cat Cora. The original Muppet webseries is planned to launch in fall 2009.

Halloween Special - The Muppets are planned to produce an original Halloween special slated for release on ABC next year. This project was originally announced for Halloween 2009, however scheduling and production delays caused it to be bumped to 2010.

More Viral Videos - The Muppets are planning to release more viral videos on YouTube. The original web videos are planned hit the web in 2010. Video titles include "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Dust in the Wind," "American Woman," "Popcorn," "Carve O'Matic," "Carol of the Bells," "Stand By Me," "Pumpkin Carving", and "Ghost Hunting".

Muppet*Vision 3D Updates - The Muppets' classic theme park attraction will be receiving an upgrade in the coming year. The film is being remastered and upgraded to Disney Digital 3D. The attraction at Orlando's Hollywood Studios and Anaheim's California Adventure will also be receiving some new pre-show and queue elements - such as new Muppet parody posters. Posters include "Pirates of the Amphibian" (parody of "Pirates of the Caribbean"), "BEAK-E" (parody of "WALL-E"), "Hammah Montana" (parody of "Hannah Montana"), and "High School Mayhem"( a parody of "High School Musical").

Mobile Muppets - Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker's Muppet Mobile Lab has become a popular attraction at Disney resorts. The interactive Muppet unit is currently at Disneyland in Hong Kong and has become so popular that the Imagineers are working on building a Muppet Mobile Lab unit for the other parks. Additionally, development has begun on a second Muppet living character attraction. The Imagineers are working on the addition of a new mobile Electric Mayhem Band for the parks as well.

Whatnot Workshop Expands - Disney is expanding their successful Whatnot Workshop. The FAO Schwarz boutique will soon be joined by branches in both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California. Additionally, new Whatnot features and accessories will be added to the workshop - including facial hair and monster parts. Disney will also be launching "The Muppet Whatnot Experience" contest. The contest winner will receive exclusive Muppeteer training and a chance to perform with their Whatnot in a YouTube video alongside the Muppet performers.

New Album - Muppets Studio is planning to release a new album entitled "Muppets Revisited." The new album will feature collaborations with some well-known musicians reinterpreting some classic Muppet songs - artists include Weezer ("Rainbow Connection"), The Fray ("Mahna Mahna"), Ami Lee ("Halfway Down the Stairs"), My Morning Jacket ("Our World"), and Andrew Bird ("It's Not Easy Being Green"), among others.

Statler & Waldorf Book - The Muppets' infamous curmudgeons, Statler and Waldorf, are writing their own book entitled "From the Balcony." The book, which is due out next year, will follow other such Muppet books as Kermit's "Before you Leap", Pepe's "It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp," and Miss Piggy's "The Diva Code."

New Muppet Merchandise - The Muppets will be launching several new lines of merchandise. A new line of Muppet merchandise is planned to reach Disney Store within the next year. Also Disney Consumer Products is building their "Green and Lovin' It" line of products featuring Kermit the Frog. Kermit promotes a green message on the products which use organic and recycled materials. Additionally Macy's has become a licensing partner with the Muppets; exclusive merchandise is planned to hit Macy's retail stores in 2010. Steiff plush will follow up their collectible Kermit the Frog plush with a series of Muppet plush dolls. Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear dolls are said to be coming soon. They also showed designs for Muppet Vinylmation figures, Muppet Pook-a-Looz dolls, and new Halloween costumes.

Muppet iPhone Apps - The Muppets will release several iPhone applications in 2010. The unique Muppet apps include: "Animal's Drum Set" (October 2009), "Pepe's Love Meter" (February 2010), "Gonzo Grams" (Summer 2010), and "Statler & Waldorf's Theater App" (late 2010).

Muppet Mobile Comics - Building on the successfully series of BOOM! Studios comic books, the Muppets will soon star in a series of moving comics available for downloading to your phone and mobile device. The e-comics will enhance the reading experience with motion, music, sound effects and voices.

Upcoming DVDs - Disney plans to release "The Muppet Show: Season 4" on DVD in 2010. Additionally, "Studio DC: Almost Live!" - the collaboration between Muppets Studio and Disney Channel - is planned for release on DVD in 2010 as well.

More TV Appearances - The Muppets are planning more appearances for the coming next year - including appearances on upcoming episodes of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition", "America's Funniest Home Videos", "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon", and ABC's "Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade".

Kermit at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - Kermit the Frog will appear in the 2009 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He will be performing the song "I Believe" with Disney Channel star Tiffany Thornton. Kermit sang the song solo at the parade last year.

Christmas with Andrea Bocelli - As previously announced, the Muppets will appear on Andrea Bocelli's upcoming Christmas album singing "Jingle Bells" with the famed opera singer. Additionally, Kermit will appear with Bocelli to sing "Jingle Bells" on "The David Foster Christmas Special" this Christmas on PBS.

And More! - It was also said that their any many more projects and secrets in the works that they just can't share yet - but expect even more to be revealed soon.


Purewitz said...

All sounds really cool. Although that Studio DC: Almost Live and the Disney/Muppet Parody Poster make me feel sick in my stomach. Why can't Disney let The Muppets be The Muppets. Although I as I first stated everything lese sounds really cool. Like the new theatrical movie and The Muppet Show Season 4. Its great Gonzo has gotten his turn on the cover.

KINGCRAB said...

Purewitz, there's no need to get so nauseated and bent out of shape regarding Studio DC and the parody posters. They're harmless, so just relax and take it easy.

And Disney IS letting the Muppets be the Muppets, no matter what. End of story.

ParrotPirate said...

Wanna know how the rest of the world views the Muppets? Happy to oblige. From the website

**Er, right. This is just stupid. But we're kind of used to that when it comes to all things Gaga. We didn't really notice that she turned up to the VMAs with Kermit The Frog as her date, but apparently plenty of deranged deludeanoids did - and now Kermit himself has spoken out (NO HE HASNT, HE'S A PUPPET) in an exclusive interview with a US mag to deny that there's anything going on between them and reassure Miss Piggy (ALSO A PUPPET) that she has nothing to worry about (BECAUSE DID WE MENTION THAT THEY'RE BOTH PUPPETS?).

"I wouldn't really call it a date," says some poor loser who's paid to pretend to be a really outdated frog. "At least not if I don't want to end up as a coat for Miss Piggy. Y'see, I just gave Lady Gaga a ride to the VMAs... Of course, after Lady Gaga and I were seen on the red carpet together, well … Miss Piggy got a little jealous. Miss Piggy and I have not called it quits, and that's because we do not have that kind of relationship. We are colleagues and close friends. Sometimes too close. Waaaay too close. We still work together all the time."

Poor loser goes on: "Lady Gaga is a wonderful person. In private, she is very down to earth … which is where I spend most of my time. As far as kissing Lady Gaga goes: she is a very good kisser, but it was not a romantic kiss. It was a kiss for good luck. Kissing a frog is good luck for the person giving the kiss – but bad luck for the frog if his pig finds out."

SHUT UP YOU STUPID GREEN PUPPET. There is actually more (Kermit on Kanye: "It's not that easy being wrong, but if you own up to your mistake, you'll almost always be forgiven.") but we're going to stop now, because, as we said, this is just stupid. Or is it incredibly post-modern and hilarious? Nah, it's stupid. Goodbye, Kermit, thank you for your time.**

frogboy4 said...

It's mindless to cite some obscure UK gossip blog as the standard in how the world views the Muppets. They're just in it for shock value. It's their bit to be mean to everybody. The Muppets have been around over 50 years and will likely be around for over 50 more.

Parody posters have always been a part of Jim Henson's Muppets. These aren't actual projects and it is the Muppets being Muppets. I'm happy for some new pictures! These are a good mix of both pop (Pirates of the Caribbean, Wall-E) and tween culture (Hannah Montana, HSM) and it's good that DC is coming to DVD due to the fact that it's bascially direct marketing to a group crucial in the Muppets success. This is promotion that in the end these new Muppet fans will be subsidizing.

Sure, the DC kid's nauseate some. Those projects are specifically marketed to a young age group so that makes sense. There's no need to take it personally. I'm sure the millions of dollars in these kids' bank accounts softens any blow out there from anonymous postings.

King Crab, you often go about the blogs and yell at folk to "quit bullying" these Disney kid stars. I think there's some personal projecting that's going on here. Maybe you should talk to someone you know in your real life away from the blogs about the troubles you are having. The only bullying I see is that the tween shows have taken over a channel I grew up with. One that contained a variety of programming and cartoons. Now it's all kid shows. It's depressing, but I understand why the Disney Channel is the way it is. It's just unwatchable to so most people over 20.

Jess said...

I was actually there for the Sunday presentation and it was awesome to see so many Muppet fans there. We were told that Muppet fans are the best :-)

Purewitz said...

@KINGCRAB: Sorry if I sound a little negative. Its not that its horrible, just not what I know and love of THe Muppets. Also the Marvel Comics fans feel and think the same way. That Disney will do stuff like that with Spider-man, the X-Men,The Hulk and the rest of the Marvel universe. I just got to get past it, its just Disney being Disney and we can't do anything about it. Its like the old saying.....don't throw out the baby with the bath water. And I'm not going to do that, I love The Muppets. Been a fan since the early 80's, I think I was like 5 the first time I remember watching The Muppet Show in 1983. So I guess I'll just take whatever Disney comes up with.

Johnny M said...

Yeah It be really cool if they di a spin off show on disney channel with hannah montana's miley cyrus, emily osment and mitchel musso

Johnny M said...

I Can't Wait for the new Muppet Movie. I know it stars The Muppets & Jason Segal but who else is in the muppet muppet movie. Some Famous Disney Channel Stars ?

Purewitz said...

@Johnny M: I hope they don't put any Disney Channel stars in the new Muppet Movie. It would be as bad as Studio DC: Almost Live was. I hope they do it like Letters to Santa, last year. I didn't mind any of the celebrity stars in that movie. Plus I wouldn't mind seeing Whoopi Goldberg in another Muppet movie. She works well with them. I wouldn't mind see Micheal Caine in another Muppet movie as well. Also that kid Tyler James Williams (Young Chris Rock from Everybody Hates Chris) would be a welcome addition to a human cast in a Muppet movie. But for the love of all things good, no Disney Channel stars again.

KINGCRAB said...

Purewitz, there's nothing wrong with the DC stars. Even if they do put them in a Muppet movie, don't think that it'll instantly be bad. The DC stars are good people and don't deserve to be bashed, especially since you don't even know them personally.

And the Studio DC programs weren't all that bad either. They had to happen anyway, in order to get the younger audiences interested in the Muppets, which it DID succeed in doing.

If they want to put DC stars (who ARE Muppets fans, believe it or not) in a Muppet movie, let them. They just might do a great job and maybe even do better than Studio DC. Everyone deserves a chance, after all.

No need to be such a discriminatory bully.

After all, as Liberace said in his Muppet Show episode, "If you can't something nice, don't say anything."

Muppetfan said...

For the record, I agree with KINGCRAB.

Purewitz is being a big baby and needs to grow up.

As noted here, this is NOT the first time that the Muppets have done parody posters.

Like KINGCRAB said, the parody posters ARE harmless and Disney IS letting the Muppets be the Muppets.

The Studio DC shows were made to introduce the Muppets to a younger audience. There is NOTHING wrong with that.

And frogboy; for God's sake, don't pick on KINGCRAB, there is NOTHING wrong with being positive.