Since debuting two weeks ago, the Muppet parody of the classic music video of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" has been viewed more than 10-million times on YouTube. It's an exceptional hit for the first video posted on a new YouTube channel by the Muppets Studio.
Muppets Studio general manager Lylle Breier said the online push for the Muppets was designed to help reboot the franchise and quickly get new content to fans. The purpose of the sudden Muppet expansion is mainly promotional. The studio is hoping to showcase the characters while rebuilding a more widespread interest in the brand.
"When the Muppets came into real popularity was the '70s. What was popular in the '70s? Variety shows — that's what 'The Muppet Show'=' was," said Breier. "What's the Web? It's a giant variety show. That's why the Muppets fit so perfectly. Parody has always been at the heart of what the Muppets do."
Breier said the Muppets singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" had long been an idea on the back burner, but the project only recently came together. In it, many famous Muppet character makes a cameo: Gonzo and his chickens appear in silhouette; Rowlf plays piano; Beaker supplies his normal "meep-meep-meep-meep"; Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem rock out.
It's not the Muppets first foray into online video. Several videos were released last year, most notably Beaker's award-winning rendition of "Ode to Joy." More than 7-million have since watched Beaker's video.
Breier says more Web videos are on the way. A version of "Carol of the Bells" will be released for Christmas, and a handful of other videos will follow in 2010 (including such titles as "Stand By Me," "Dust in the Wind," and "American Woman").
"It's all part of a plan for new creative content with online, television, a new theatrical movie," said Breier. "We're bringing the Muppets back."