Ryan Dosier – Tomorrow, The Muppets dominate theaters in the United States and continue to spread their domination throughout the world in the coming months. And honestly? Everything is about to change. As Muppet fans, we’ve always sort of lived on the outskirts of entertainment, with our love for these characters making us dedicated, if not a little strange (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But, again, that is all about to change.
The Muppets is set, and at this point almost guaranteed, to be a box office smash this week and weekend. Over 30 “fresh” reviews from industry professionals on Rotten Tomatoes have kept The Muppets at a 100% Fresh rating on the incredibly popular and opinion-shaping website. If Rotten Tomatoes is any indication (and it usually is), The Muppets is poised to not only be a huge critical success, but a major financial success as well. Just see what only some of the world’s top critics are saying in this graphic made by our good friend James Carroll below!
The Muppets have not been a financially viable property or franchise since the 1980s, when you couldn’t walk into a store without seeing Miss Piggy somewhere. If The Muppets is the massive success it is already gearing up to be, there is a very good chance that we could be living in that sort of world again. Backed by Disney, the Muppets could easily become the next Cars or Toy Story franchise if marketed correctly–and with Disney, product marketing is almost always correct. This would be a world where the Muppets are cool. A world where the Muppets are popular. A world where major Muppet fans aren’t secluded online.
How do we, the Muppet fans who have been around long before the major franchise relaunch of 2011, adjust to this exciting new world? Well… I don’t honestly know. Let me give you a few examples of how my “real” life (e.g., hometown, school, non-Muppet fan friends) has already changed because of this movie. On Saturday, a friend texted me to tell me he had a conversation with a coffee guy about the movie and my friend mentioned The Muppet Mindset, to which the coffee guy responded, “You know Ryan Dosier?!” Then, that night, while watching Saturday Night Live with friends, they all fell in love with the Muppets singing alongside Jason Segel. Tomorrow, I’m getting interviewed by my local paper for a story about me and the Muppets. This is what has happened already–before the movie has been released.
So what are we, as longtime Muppet fans, responsible for doing in this bold new world? I don’t know about you, but I plan to show off my knowledge of Muppet history to everyone who is even remotely interested. Imagine introducing The Muppet Show to someone introduced to the concept just by the telethon in The Muppets. Think about showing “Bohemian Rhapsody” to someone who thought the Muppets were gone between 1989 and 2011. Reintroducing the world to the Muppets before The Muppets is something that this film paves the way for beautifully, and something that we should all try to do to keep alive the magic of Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Jerry Juhl, and all of the other amazing talents that contributed to the major success of the Muppets but are no longer with us or no longer working with them.
We should also promote the heck out of this movie (as if Disney hasn’t already done enough of that) to everyone we know. Tell your Facebook friends, tell your Twitter followers, tell your grandma, tell your dentist that the Muppets are back in a very big way. When the world knows, the world watches, and Disney takes notice and keeps the Muppets everywhere. I know that most of you still haven’t seen the movie yet (but hopefully most of you will have by the end of tomorrow), but trust me when I tell you that as soon as you see it, you’ll want to tell everyone you know to go see it as well.
Think about how far we’ve come in the past seven months. In May, we got the very first glimpse of the movie with the unbelievably clever “Green With Envy” teaser trailer, and the promotional engine for The Muppets has not stopped since. Now, here we are, November 22nd, one day before the film’s release and you can hardly turn the channel on TV without seeing Kermit or Miss Piggy or Jason Segel. For the past three weeks, a day when someone was not on TV promoting the movie was an odd day. Five years ago, who among us would have possibly imagined that this is the world we would be living in? I know I never imagined it, and I can still hardly believe this is reality.
But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Five years ago, we, the Muppet fans, were here. We were here, waiting, wondering, hoping, dreaming… The small group of us that loves the Muppets more than most things. We may not know it, but we are the ones who made this movie possible. Our support of Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Pepe, Piggy, Animal, and the rest of the gang for so many years of not-the-fairest weather kept the Muppets alive, and because of us they are back for a new world to enjoy. We won’t get thanked, but it is thanks to us that The Muppets is in theaters tomorrow.
It’s been a long journey for Muppet fans. It’s been a long journey for the Muppeteers. It’s been a long journey for the Muppets. But it’s the journey that makes the trip worthwhile. The Muppet Movie taught me that lesson. Without the journey, The Muppet Movie is nothing. It’s not Fozzie Bear, it’s not Gonzo the Great, it’s not “Movin’ Right Along,” it’s not The Electric Mayhem, or Scooter, or Rowlf the Dog, it’s not even the divine Miss Piggy without the journey. We’ve been on this journey together with the Muppets for years, and here we are at a destination, waiting to get out of the car and see what happens next and when our next journey begins and where it takes us.
The Muppets is more than just a movie to me, and I assume to all of you as well. The Muppets is a validation of my strongest belief: Life’s like a movie, write you’re own ending with lots of singing, and dancing, and making people happy. The Muppets is a validation that the past seven years of my life as a Muppet fan have not been a waste. The Muppets is a validation that the world does indeed love these characters and, maybe, the world sees their value and importance as much as I do. The Muppets means the world to me, because it’s about to change my world.
Here we are, gang… the start of a new age. I’m ready for it, the Muppets are ready for it, Disney is ready for it, the world is ready for it. Are you? Even if you’re not… you have to admit that the journey getting to this point has been pretty darn incredible. As we pull into our destination, remember the journey. It’ll make the end result so much better.
So, as we’re sitting in the theater tomorrow with our popcorn and our soda and our excitement about to bubble over, let’s remember the journey. Let’s remember to thank The Walt Disney Company for making this movie, thank Jason Segel for spear-heading this campaign to make his dream and ours a reality, thank Nicholas Stoller for writing the script, thank James Bobin for his direction, thank David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman for producing, thank Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, and the numerous cameo stars for their talent and passion, thank the Muppeteers for their unmatched talent, dedication, and belief in the Muppets, thank Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, Jerry Juhl, and everyone else who brought The Muppet Show to life for creating a world where we can have a Muppet movie in 2011. Above all, thank yourself and your fellow Muppet fans for never giving up on the Muppets, just like they’ve never given up on us.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org