Muppets Most Wanted is a 2014 American musical comedy film, and is the sequel to the 2011 film The Muppets. It was announced in March 2012 that Disney was moving forward on the project with James Bobin (director of The Muppets) and Nicholas Stoller (co-writer of The Muppets) writing the screenplay. Bobin also returned to direct the film.
The film, a "comedy caper" set in Europe, was released on March 21, 2014 to generally positive reviews and modest commercial success.
Following on from the ending of their last film, the Muppets find themselves at a loss as to what to do next ("We're Doing a Sequel"). Per the suggestion of their new tour manager Dominic Badguy, the Muppets decide to embark on a world tour. Meanwhile, Constantine, the world's number one criminal and a complete dead ringer for Kermit, escapes from Siberian Gulag 38B, before making contact with Badguy, who turns out to be Constantine's subordinate; a position Constantine frequently reminds him of.
Arriving in Berlin, the Muppets intend to play a shabby venue, but Badguy secures them a show at a more prestigious location. Becoming increasingly frustrated with the rest of the Muppets' ludicrous requests for the show and Miss Piggy's insistent hints at marriage, Kermit takes a stroll to calm down at the suggestion of Badguy. However, he is ambushed by a hooded Constantine, who slaps a fake mole on Kermit's right cheek, making him resemble Constantine. Constantine escapes and Kermit is arrested and taken to the Gulag in his place.
Constantine meets up with the rest of the Muppets, all believing him to be Kermit, except Animal, who bites him. Constantine and Badguy review their plans ("I'm Number One"). The Berlin performance opens with Constantine freezing at the sight of the large audience and Scooter has to introduce the show. Later, Constantine and Badguy sneak off to steal a selection of paintings from a nearby museum. Meanwhile, after being locked in the Gulag ("The Big House"), Kermit makes multiple escape attempts, all of which are thwarted by Gulag prison guard Nadya, who then orders Kermit to help organize the annual prison talent show. Reflecting on his time with the Muppets, Kermit gains the inmates' respect. Meanwhile, on the train, Constantine wins over Miss Piggy ("I'll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)").
The morning after the burglary, Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon and CIA agent Sam the Eagle begrudgingly form an alliance to apprehend the culprit, who Napoleon identifies as his nemesis "the Lemur", after discovering a coin-based calling card. Following instructions hidden behind one of the stolen paintings, Constantine and Badguy divert the course of the Muppet tour to Madrid as part of a plot to steal the crown jewels of Great Britain. Constantine informs the rest of the Muppets that they are permitted to perform any act they wish, much to the suspicion of Walter.
The Muppets perform in Madrid whilst Constantine and Badguy steal the next set of instructions to steal the crown jewels, destroying many busts in the process. In spite of a disastrous performance ("Macarena", a prolonged Electric Mayhem drum set) that puts the audience to sleep, the Muppets' performance receives critical acclaim. Sam and Napoleon deduce that the connection between the crimes in Berlin and Madrid is the Muppet tour, and the pair interrogates the Muppets - to little success ("Interrogation Song"). As the tour reaches Dublin, Walter discovers Badguy to be paying critics to write positive reviews, and Fozzie Bear realizes the resemblance between Kermit and Constantine. Fozzie and Walter discover that Constantine is on the train posing as Kermit and that Badguy is in on the scheme. Constantine sees that they have found him out, and attacks them, but Animal fends him off, and the three of them manage to escape by hopping on another train. They then figure that the best course of action is to go to Siberia and rescue Kermit.
At the climax of their Dublin performance ("My Heart Will Go On"), Constantine proposes to Miss Piggy, who accepts with the pair intending to marry at the Tower of London. Arriving in London, Constantine and Badguy conspire to use the wedding as a distraction while Badguy uses a locket stolen in Dublin, with the assistance of Bobby Benson's Baby Band, to steal the crown jewels. Before the wedding, Piggy contemplates her impending marriage and future with whom she assumes is her true love, Kermit ("Something So Right"). Fozzie, Walter, and Animal arrive at the Gulag and inform Kermit of Constantine's plot. The four use the prison show ("Working in the Coal Mine") as a front to escape along with the rest of the prisoners, and they head to London, much to Nadya's dismay.
The wedding gets underway and Badguy disables the security systems to the crown jewels, successfully stealing them. Kermit interrupts the wedding ceremony, revealing Constantine to be nothing more than an impostor. Constantine escapes with Piggy as his hostage. Arriving at their helicopter, Constantine comes across Badguy (revealed to be the world's number two criminal "the Lemur" while donning a lemur costume) with the Imperial State Crown, before Badguy announces his intent to double-cross Constantine. Constantine responds by ejecting Badguy from the helicopter and taking flight with Piggy. Kermit intercepts and the rest of the Muppets use a "Muppet ladder" to stop the helicopter in its tracks, with the help of an irate Piggy.
Constantine and Badguy are arrested. After arriving in London, Nadya attempts to arrest Kermit once more for initiating the prison escape and "breaking her heart." The rest of the Muppets express to Nadya that if Kermit is arrested. Then so shall they be. Nadya relents, deciding Kermit belongs with them and drops the charges. The Muppet tour concludes at the Gulag where Constantine and Badguy are part of the prison show ("Together Again (Again)"). Nadya, apparently having been promised a solo by Kermit, prepares to sing but is cut off by the film's "The End" logo.
Featuring never-before-seen material that extends the film an additional 12 minutes, the following is exclusive to the version available on the two-disc Blu-ray release and Digital HD:
- Songs previously edited for time restraints (i.e. "We're Doing a Sequel", "I'll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)", "Interrogation Song") are now fully restored.
- Scattered additional dialogue:
- Scooter's query about Beauregard being able to operate a train.
- A bit where Scooter mistakenly introduces Christoph Waltz as Australian, not Austrian.
- Dominic questioning Constantine's knitting.
- Additional scenes:
- An early scene in the Gulag where guards discuss the danger of having a button that opens all cells.
- Nadya reveals Constantine's backstory.
- As Nadya revels in her Kermit shrine, a prisoner enters and informs her of a riot, which she shrugs off.
- A gag about needing to break the fourth wall.
- The Disney Synergy System (Bridgit Mendler, Debby Ryan, and, in uncredited cameos, Jake Short and Tyler James Williams) attending the wedding.
- As Dominic and Constantine are led away in handcuffs, Dominic begins to sing a brief reprise of "I'm Number One".
- Ricky Gervais as Dominic Badguy, Constantine's henchman with dubious intentions.
- Tina Fey as Nadya, a feisty Siberian prison guard obsessed with Kermit.
- Ty Burrell as Jean Pierre Napoleon, a somewhat misguided Interpol agent.
- Cameo performances
- Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga as themselves; seen during "We're Doing a Sequel".
- Hugh Bonneville as Irish journalist
- Jemaine Clement as Prison King
- Sean "Diddy" Combs as himself
- Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones as Prado museum guards
- Céline Dion as Piggy Fairy Godmother
- Dexter Fletcher (uncredited)
- Zach Galifianakis as Hobo Joe
- Josh Groban as Maximum security prisoner; he spends the majority of the film locked in a sweatbox until briefly being let out during the finale.
- Salma Hayek as herself; she is paired with Gonzo during the Madrid show.
- Tom Hiddleston as The Great Escapo
- Tom Hollander as Theater manager
- Frank Langella as Beefeater vicar
- Ray Liotta as Big Papa
- Silvana Lovin (uncredited)
- Ross Lynch as Young florist
- James McAvoy as UPS guy
- Bridgit Mendler (extended version) as Disney Synergy girl #1
- Chloë Grace Moretz as Gulag newspaper girl
- Miranda Richardson as Berliner at window
- Saoirse Ronan as herself; she is dancing "Swan Lake" during the Dublin show.
- Debby Ryan (extended version) as Disney Synergy girl #2
- Til Schweiger as German cop
- Peter Serafinowicz
- Jake Short (extended version; uncredited) as Disney Synergy boy #1
- Russell Tovey as Delivery man
- Danny Trejo as Danny Trejo, a fictional version of himself.
- Stanley Tucci as Ivan, a Gulag 38B watchtower guard
- Usher as the usher
- Christoph Waltz as himself; dancing the waltz with Sweetums in the Berlin show.
- Steve Whitmire (uncredited) as Gulag prisoner
- Tyrel Jackson Williams (extended version; uncredited) as Disney Synergy boy #2
- Muppet performers
- Steve Whitmire as Kermit the Frog, Foo-Foo, Beaker, Lips, Rizzo the Rat, Statler, Link Hogthrob and The Newsman
- Eric Jacobson as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Sam the Eagle
- Dave Goelz as The Great Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Waldorf and Beauregard
- Bill Barretta as The Swedish Chef, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear, Big Mean Carl, Baby Boss, Carlo Flamingo and Leprechaun Security Guard
- David Rudman as Scooter, Janice, Miss Poggy, Bobby Benson and Wayne
- Matt Vogel as Constantine, Floyd Pepper, Camilla the Chicken, Lew Zealand, Sweetums, Crazy Harry, 80s Robot, Robin the Frog, Pops and Uncle Deadly
- Peter Linz as Walter and Manolo Flamingo
- Background Muppets (non-speaking)
- Achilles the Shark, Afghan Hound, Angel Marie, Annie Sue, Armadillo, Behemoth, Beautiful Day Monster, Black Dog, Blind Pew, Blustering Bellowpane Monster, Bubba the Rat, Bulls, Brewster, Beggar, Brool the Minstrel, Cactus, Calico, Captain Pighead, Carter, Catgut, Cockatoo (extended cut), Cows, Clueless Morgan, Croaker, Dead Tom (as Thomas Blood), Dr. Julius Strangepork, Droop, Flash, Frackles, Frogs, Geri and the Atrics drummer, Gil (frog), Gorillas, Gramps, Howard Tubman, Jacques Roach, J. G., Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy's offspring, Koala (extended cut), Mahna Mahna, Marvin Suggs, Mildred Huxtetter, Muppaphone, Muppets Tonight Band drummer, The Mutations, Nigel the Conductor, Old Tom, One-Eyed Jack, Pigs, Pigeon, Pokey, Quongo, Rats, Roy, Sheep, Snowths, Spamela Hamderson, Spotted Dick, Thingy-Thing, Thog, Trumpet Girl, Unicorn, Walleye Pike, Wanda, Whatnots
- Muppet captain: Bill Barretta
- Muppet designers and builders: Puppet Heap
- Main article: Muppets Most Wanted (soundtrack)
- "We're Doing a Sequel" - Kermit, Fozzie, Scooter, Piggy, Rowlf, Gonzo and The Muppets with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
- "I'm Number One" - Constantine and Dominic
- "Die Muppet Show Theme" - Die Muppets
- "The Big House" - Nadya and the Prisoners with Maximum security prisoner
- "I'll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)" - Constantine
- "El Muppet Show Theme" - El Muppets
- "Macarena" - Piggy and the Flamingos
- "Interrogation Song" - Sam, Constantine, Jean-Pierre, Piggy, Gonzo and The Muppets
- "I'll Make Love to You" - The Prisoners
- "I Hope I Get It" - The Prisoners and Nadya
- "My Heart Will Go On" - Piggy
- "Something So Right" - Piggy, Kermit, and The Muppets with Celine Dion
- "Working in the Coal Mine" - The Prison King and the Prisoners
- "I'm Number One (Reprise)" (extended version only) - Dominic and Constantine
- "Together Again (Again)" - Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Constantine and The Muppets with Maximum security prisoner, Nadya and Company
Production and development
- When initially asked about the prospects of a sequel prior to the release of The Muppets in November 2011, Jason Segel said:
- "We haven't really started thinking about a sequel yet. We're just waiting to see how this goes." When asked about making a stand-alone film rather than a direct sequel, he replied: "I think that's a little bit more Muppety... The Great Muppet Caper is so different from The Muppets Take Manhattan which is so different from The Muppet Movie... I think that's the better approach."
- On February 13, 2012, during a British promotional appearance for The Muppets on This Morning on ITV, Kermit and Miss Piggy were asked by Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield about rumors of The Muppet Show returning to television; Kermit responded as follows:
- "If this movie does as well as we like and people want to see us, sure, we'll probably do more movies. And I mean it's nothing official - not official. But there's all this 'hush-hush Hollywood talk."
- Piggy turned to Kermit to add "Well, make it official. You can do that." Kermit: "Ok, it's official."
- On March 3, 2012, it was announced in Variety that James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller would pen the screenplay for the sequel.
- In a March 6, 2012, article from Guardian.co.uk, it was announced that Disney is planning an idea for a new prime-time television show featuring the Muppets following the upcoming success of the sequel, as well as new iPhone applications with new Muppet content.
- In a March 14, 2012, appearance on The View, Kermit and Miss Piggy were asked by Elisabeth Hasselbeck if there is going to be a sequel to The Muppets.
- Kermit responded, "Well I think there is a very good chance of that. We are happy to say, yes. Yes, we are thrilled about that."
- His remark garnered a thunderous applause from the studio audience.
- In a March 21, 2012, interview with MTV News, Kermit and Walter talked about Jason Segel's departure from the franchise as they prep for The Muppets 2.
- In a March 2012 interview, Jason Segel (co-writer, producer, and star of The Muppets) said that he will not return for the sequel, stating:
- "I have handed off the Muppets to my writing partner [Nick Stoller] and to James Bobin. My goal was to bring the Muppets back and I feel like I accomplished that. I feel like they're in really good hands. But it was half a decade of my life, I just want a little breather, and I know that they're going to nail it."
- In an April 13, 2012 article from Collider.com, Stoller revealed that the film is planned to be a comedy caper, and will introduce new Muppet characters.
- It will have a possible cameo for Jason Segel, and Disney is hoping for a Summer 2013 release.
- He and James Bobin started writing the script on the previous day.
- They wrote 13 pages after outlining the entire film over the past few weeks.
- While Stoller said the film could possibly have a cameo for Jason Segel, Segel later stated that he won't appear in the film.
- At the premiere of The Five-Year Engagement, Stoller told New York Magazine that Walter will return:
- "'Walter is coming back... Come on, you saw the first one, right? The arc of the story was, 'Am I a man or a Muppet?' Gary chose 'I am a man.' So if you were making something called The Mannets, Gary would be in that. Walter chose to be a Muppet. He realized he's a Muppet.' But will Walter be shuffled into the Muppets' deep bench, or will he be a plot driver in the sequel? 'He is not making a cameo,' said Stoller. 'He is heavily involved in the story.' Still, Muppet purists shouldn't fret about the focus: "It's in the early stages, so everything could change, but right now it's a Kermit-centric story, as a lot of the original movies were."
- Kermit and Piggy appeared at CinemaCon on April 24, 2012, to officially announce that a new film is in development.
- The official Muppets Facebook page reported the news with a graphic.
- On October 31, it was announced that Christoph Waltz was in negotiations to star as an Interpol inspector in a cast that also includes a "Russian femme fatale and a male lead whose intentions are always in question", along with a "slew of cameos".
- The film is to be set in Europe.
- It was reported on November 4 that producer Todd Lieberman and composer Bret McKenzie will return for the sequel, which begins filming in late January 2013 at Pinewood Studio in London.
- On December 8, it was announced that Ty Burrell would star in the film as the Interpol inspector (the role Christoph Waltz was previously in negotiations for; but declined due to scheduling conflicts).
- In a video interview posted later that month, Waltz said he'd been talking about the film again and may still appear, but "it might not be a proper part, it might just be one of these little what-they-call cameos."
- On December 16, Ricky Gervais confirmed that he would star in the film. Gervais tweeted about it:
- "I have just signed up to play the lead in the next Muppet movie. I have the biggest trailer but Kermit will spend some time in my sink." Gervais commented on his role in the film on his website, saying: "You may have read that I have accepted the lead role in the next Muppet movie. I didn't so much accept it as jump at the chance. I f***ing love The Muppets. (I'll probably have to tone down my language for Disney.) We start filming in January. I can't wait. I'll be hangin' with those cuddly little critters all day."
- In a December 20 radio interview with WMMR's Preston and Steve, Bill Barretta (via phone from the film's pre-production in London) stated that Tina Fey is in negotiations to work on the project.
- He also mentioned that the producers are looking at Christmas 2013 release.
- On January 9, 2013, reports surfaced that Tina Fey was in the final negotiations to play "a Russian gulag prison guard" in the film.
- According to a January 2013 report from SlashFilm, the working title for the film was The Muppets... Again.
- In January 2013, Disney announced a release date of March 21, 2014, for the film.
- On January 16, 2013, Ricky Gervais appeared on the British daytime television program This Morning and discussed his excitement for working with the Muppets to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield. (YouTube)
- On January 22, 2013, Variety reported that Ray Liotta has been cast in a cameo role in the film.
- In a radio interview on Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show, Gervais mentioned filming a scene for the film with Christoph Waltz, confirming speculation that Waltz would still be in the film despite not playing the lead.
- On January 30, 2013, Entertainment Weekly published and exclusive "first look" at the film, featuring an interview with Kermit.
- On February 7, 2013, German actor Til Schweiger confirmed to media outlets that he would be filming a cameo appearance with Gervais and the Muppets for one day in February.
- On February 15, actress Fleur Poad (appearing in the film as "Berlin Woman") tweeted about Schweiger's time on the set.
- Eve Stewart, a production designer on the film, let it slip that she is working on a scene featuring Miss Piggy's wedding at the Tower of London.
- Bobin noted in an interview with Empire magazine that Muppeteer Louise Gold will be taking part in the film, performing one of her original Muppet Show characters Annie Sue.
- On June 13, 2013, Disney announced that the film has been retitled "Muppets Most Wanted."
- The film was officially released on March 21, 2014, in the United States and the Philippines.
Although not as well received as the first film, Muppets Most Wanted still garnered positive reviews. It currently holds a 80% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes; the general consensus states: "While it may not reach the delirious heights of The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted still packs in enough clever gags, catchy songs, and celebrity cameos to satisfy fans of all ages."
The film earned $17,005,126 in its opening weekend, ranking second behind Divergent ($54,607,747) at the domestic box office. It closed on July 17; the film grossed $51,183,113 at the domestic box office and $27,000,000 internationally for a worldwide total of $80,383,113. Based on an estimated $50 million budget, this can be considered a modest box office success.
- This is Ray Liotta's second appearance in a Muppet film; he first appeared as a gate guard in Muppets from Space.
- Ricky Gervais and Danny Trejo had cameos in The Muppets that were ultimately cut.
- James Bobin is the second director to helm two Muppet films; the first director is Brian Henson.
- At the ending of "We're Doing a Sequel", Walter suggests calling the film The Muppets... Again.
- This title was the film's working title throughout filming before being changed at the last minute.
- During "Something So Right", Miss Piggy imagines what she and Kermit's offspring will look like.
- This gag was originally intended to be used in The Muppets but was deemed too complicated to be explained at the time.
- This is one of the few Muppet films in which Kermit and Piggy are seen in the first scene. In most cases, Kermit shows up later and Piggy much later; for example, in Muppet Treasure Island, she doesn't appear until an hour in.
- Tina Fey (Nadya) and Matt Vogel (Constantine) worked with a dialect coach to prepare for their roles.
- The number of the Gulag, 38, was a reference to the number of years since The Muppet Show premiered (1976-2014).
- This was the final Muppet film to feature Steve Whitmire, due to his departure from the Muppets in 2017.
International release dates
- Argentina - March 20, 2014
- United Kingdom - March 28, 2014
- Australia / New Zealand - April 3, 2014
- Netherlands - April 16, 2014
- Singapore - April 24, 2014
- Germany - May 1, 2014
- France - May 7, 2014
- Main article: Muppets Most Wanted (video)
- Entertainment Weekly - A first look at the Muppets sequel, 'Muppets...Again!' (1/30/13)
- Disney Press Release: "The Muppets... Again!" Kicks Off Production in London