Disney Unveils 'The Muppets' at CinemaCon + Viral Video Madness
by Alex Billington
March 29, 2011
The Muppets will be back soon and better than ever! As everyone already knows, Disney has scheduled The Muppets, Jason Segel's new Muppet movie starring himself, directed by Flight of the Conchords' James Bobin, for release on November 23rd this Thanksgiving. Well, Disney has already been bringing back the Muppets in a big way via viral videos on YouTube, as I just learned today at CinemaCon. Disney hosted their big 2011 presentation in Las Vegas and actually brought in Segel and co-star Amy Adams to introduce the first ever footage from the movie. It's going to be a wonderful, heartwarming return for the beloved puppets.
Jason Segel first spoke about working on the movie, saying that its been his lifelong dream to make this, and it's the movie he's the most proud of out of his entire career. From the footage we saw, I can see why, as it definitely has that classic Muppets vibe that this generation is sorely missing. Amy Adams also revealed that there will be four original songs (written by another Flight of the Conchords alum) performed in the movie. Segel emphasized that it was a true collaboration of comedic genius, from top to bottom. He wanted to make sure that all the latest generations could grow up with The Muppets as well, just like he did as a kid.
I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of "yea, we already knew that" talking about these viral videos, but today was the first time I've heard of them and the concept, and I think it's brilliant. Disney's introduction to The Muppets at CinemaCon included mention of a series of "viral videos" that they've been releasing on YouTube over the past 18 months in order to bring The Muppets back into the mainstream again. We even featured Oscar the Grouch revealing his 2010 Oscar picks. Maybe I just never knew that Disney had a marketing concept behind this, but bringing back The Muppets using YouTube has paid off big time - apparently the videos have received over 60 million views and everyone is buzzing about them. Here's one they showed:
What a genius way to bring back The Muppets using one of the most popular video websites in existence, all the while leading up to the triumphant return of the beloved characters (pretty much all of them!). The footage was a random collection of clips, not finished at all, so it's hard to describe any of it and it wasn't even a trailer, but I couldn't help but smile the whole time I was watching it. There was a brief flash of Jason Segel dancing and it reminded me of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's dance number in 500 Days of Summer. It's that exact kind of wonderful, magical, Muppets feeling that I think will permeate every single frame of this movie. I can't wait to see the actual trailer, it's going to make many Muppets fans old and young very happy.
I'm still amazed by these YouTube viral videos and if you haven't seen any yet, make sure to watch some, they're guaranteed to brighten your day (or night). Even though I'm admittedly not the biggest Muppet fan, they've won me over and I can't wait to see more from Jason Segel's The Muppets. Here's one last viral video ("The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody") that already has 20 million views, but is worth watching again: