Recently watching the new trailer for The Muppets filled me with an anticipation that can only be matched by something monumental. The return of Kermit and co on the big screen with a script by Jason Segel is always going to be a mouth-watering combination. Seeing that it is billed for a US Thanksgiving release I was expecting it to be out in October or November perhaps, maybe the traditional delay of a few weeks but not too long a wait. However, after further investigation I discovered that it isn’t released in Britain until next February. Now, I know that America make the movies and it is therefore fully in their right to have the films first, such as Japanese technology is exclusively enjoyed by its indigenous population to begin with before being distributed to the rest of the world. This being the case though, I was still slightly disappointed by the four month gap, especially considering the universal appeal and worldwide love for the Muppets.
To begin with, I thought these delays between the US and the UK only happened in certain circumstances, usually for films that aren’t worth showing over here. I remember when it was commonplace for the delay very recently but thought that ths had been curbed. Throughout the 1990s, when I was growing up, audiences would have to wait from a couple of months to a year to watch the films that Americans had previously revelled in. But through globalisation and factors like the rise of video piracy the gaps between geographical distribution are slighter. One must also consider the shorter waits between new mediums, in the 90s one would have to wait about 2 years to get something on VHS. Now, DVD and Blu-Rays are available only a few months after their initial release meaning that one could acquire the Blu-Ray before the film is released in theatres, and when this starts happening on the global stage it loses money for the film and could begin to spell the death knell of the cinema. The Muppets has proved to be quite the anomaly in this respect as now global release dates are the norm, especially for bigger films in which The Muppets safely is.
Perhaps this is revenge from the Americans as the British are known for hoarding their films. Many British films are always delayed before they get them. That’s why the films of Edgar Wright before he migrated, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach aren’t shown for a while in America. If they are successful here they are usually marketed across the pond. Usually only the best find the US audience such as, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Billy Elliot and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. But hold on, the most quintessential British film that of this century is arguably Best Picture Winner, The King’s Speech, and the Americans got that a few weeks before we could see our own monarch on screen, so I don’t know what to think now, perhaps Edgar Wright had the right idea by moving there, at least he wouldn’t have to wait four months for The Muppets.
Despite the confusion surrounding release dates I’m sure that come February my excitement and anticipation at the prospect of watching the first Muppet movie since 1999, Muppets in Space, (A film with the most uplifting opening, musical scene ever) will be intact. A new Muppet movie is certainly due and will introduce to a new generation to the characters while keeping the traditional charm that accompanied the series. Although some critics have thought the recent outings have been below par and they have lost some magic ince the Henson era, you have to be sub-human now to be cheered up by the likes of Kermit, Fozzie and of course Beaker and Bunsen.