Hollywood has been reboot-mad for ages now, though studios have had a bumpy ride with one classic extended universe: the one populated by Jim Henson creations. After a well-received, Jason Segel-shepherded comeback vehicle in 2011, the Muppets have struggled to gain footing in today’s culture, even drawing the ire of Miss Piggy himself, Frank Oz. Maybe that will change with this: Warner Bros. and MGM are teaming up on a Sesame Street movie, due in January 2021.
Henson’s long-running educational television program, which began its run in 1969, has always proved difficult to adapt for the cinema. Unlike the all-ages Muppets, the Sesame Street gang is aimed primarily at the very, very young; to try and appeal to slightly older kids and parents as well would be to ruin its specific and much-needed m.o. An attempt to mimic the successful Muppet movies, via 1985’s star-studded Follow That Bird, wound up a box office failure.
Few details abound about this new Sesame Street movie, apart from that it will be a musical, and that it boasts a hip director (Portlandia’s Jonathan Krisel), a hip screenwriter (Kings of Summer’s Chris Galetta), and a name star: Anne Hathaway. That suggests the film may reach for a wider audience after all, perhaps trying to attract those who turned Won’t You Be My Neighbor? — the doc on fellow PBS staple Mr. Rogers — into a non-fiction box office juggernaut. But will it feature an out-and-proud Bert and Ernie? We’ll see!
In related news: Tom and Jerry — the classic cat-and-mouse team who get along slightly better than Itchy and Scratchy — are also getting their own movie, due in April of 2021. That pair also had a failed big screen movie, in Tom and Jerry: The Movie, which was released in 1992 by no less than Miramax Films.