by Jamison Ashley
“They don’t get the true rebellion and true affection underneath those characters.” Frank Oz
With the lackluster receipts at the box office for the latest Star Wars prequel from Disney, John Nolte at Big Hollywood has reminded us all of another great franchise that Disney bought and nearly ruined, the Muppets. In 2004, Disney announced that it was buying the rights to the characters from ”The Muppet Show,” the various Muppet movies, and the children’s program ”Bear in the Big Blue House” from the Henson family. Disney had made overtures to buy the Muppets as far back as 1990, but the deal fell through with Henson’s unexpected death at the time.
Since then, some fans have felt the handling of the property has been not only lackluster, but filled with left-wing agenda. Breitbart writer John Nolte shared his grumblings about it today over on Big Hollywood:
Disney purchased the Muppets in 2004, but it would take another seven years for the bludgeoning to begin, starting with 2011’s The Muppets, the first Muppet movie in 12 years. Everyone was excited about the return of the Muppets, I know I was, but then we learned that Disney’s Muppets had something they wanted to say. Oh, not about the things the Muppets usually had something to say about — you know, friendship, loyalty, teamwork. Nope…
Disney’s Muppets wanted to scold us about Big Oil, and Big Corporations, and the environment.
The Muppets were woke, y’all, and while the movie did okay at the box office ($88 million domestic) — with that $45 million budget, the Muppets probably failed to break even.
Although the movie had already, and quite stupidly, dropped our once-beloved Muppets on to the razor’s edge of the culture wars, Disney decided to put the pedal to the metal. First, the Muppets proved they opposed religious freedom by dumping on Chik-fil-A over same sex-marriage, then Kermit and Ms. Piggy suddenly emerged as boorish left-wing pundits who told crude sex jokes, trashed Fox News, came out as feminists, even as pro-abortion.
The damage, to the surprise of no one who lives in the real world, proved absolutely fatal.
Muppets Most Wanted, the $50 million 2014 sequel, was a box office catastrophe, earning a pathetic $51 million. Kermit and Company then moved back to television, to the arena of their greatest triumph, The Muppet Show, which ran for five iconic seasons between 1976 to 1981. This new show would rank as one the 2016’s greatest disasters, a disaster that limped along for 16 episodes before finally being put out of its misery after just one season and fewer than 3 million viewers.
Disney murdered the Muppets, not only by making them preachy and divisive but by stripping them of their most precious commodity — their innocence. That was the thing about the Muppets, the thing that made them so unique and wonderful; that innocence. The Muppets may have lived in our physical world, but they lived in their own world — in a place that was silly and sincere, free of cynicism and pure; it was a place we could all hold hands and escape to for 90 minutes.
That place was timeless because its themes were timeless,because what was happening in the Real World did not exist there. To bring left-wing politics into the Muppets’ world was not only a betrayal of the Muppets and their audience, it was an unbelievably obnoxious act of arrogance.
Disney is now in real danger of doing the same to Star Wars.