Larry Daley, former night guard at the American Museum of Natural History, now runs his own direct response television company that sells inventions based on his experiences. He returns to the museum, discovering most of the exhibits will be moved to the Federal Archives at the Smithsonian Institution and replaced with holographic information providers. The Tablet of Akmenrah is to remain in the museum, leaving most of the exhibits without the ability to come to life at night. After the exhibits are moved, Larry receives a phone call from the cowboy Jedediah that Dexter the monkey stole the Tablet and took it to the Smithsonian, bringing every exhibit in it to life. Larry travels to Washington, DC, navigating his way to the archives with help from his son Nick while posing as a night guard.
Larry finds his friends trapped in their shipping container under attack from Akmenrah’s evil older brother Kahmunrah, accidentally activating the tablet and bringing the exhibits in the Smithsonian to life again. Kahmunrah reveals his plans to use the tablet’s powers to conquer the world. Larry escapes, aided by a gigantic octopus and General George A. Custer, who is captured, and then the adventurous Amelia Earhart, who becomes his travelling companion around the museum. The two evade Kahmunrah’s men, trapping them in the portrait of V-J Day in Times Square. Kahmunrah enlists fellow evil historical leaders, Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Al Capone to help capture Larry and retrieve the tablet. Jedediah tries to help but is placed in an hourglass. Kahmunrah is unable to open the Gate of the Underworld with the tablet, sending Larry and Amelia off to translate it or Jedediah dies.
While searching for someone in the museum who can help, Larry and Amelia end up falling in love. They travel to the National Air and Space Museum, briefly encountering the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. Inside the museum, Larry grounds all of the aircraft and rockets from taking off, before a group of Albert Einstein bobbleheads inform him that the combination is the value of pi. Napoleon, Ivan, and Capone’s troops arrive, prompting Larry and Amelia to escape using the Wright Flyer. They crash the plane into the Smithsonian, where Kahmunrah uses the acquired combination to summon an army of bird-headed warriors. Lincoln crashes in through the window, frightening the warriors back into the Underworld.
Amelia gathers an army of allies including Larry’s friends and Custer, leading to a climactic battle. Larry obtains the tablet, banishing Kahmunrah back to the Underworld. Amelia flies Larry and the New York exhibits back home, giving Larry a final kiss before taking off in her plane, knowing she will become dust before reaching the Smithsonian. Larry sells his company, donating the money to the museum to renovate it, and the exhibits remain, capable of moving about at night under the pretense of being animatronics. Larry is rehired as night guard and aids a woman who resembles Amelia.Ben Stiller as Larry Daley, a former security guard turned CEO of Daley Devices.Ricky Gervais as Dr. McPhee, the curator at the Museum of Natural History.Jake Cherry as Nick Daley, the son of Larry Daley.Amy Adams as Tess, a young woman at the end of the movie who looks like Amelia Earhart.Robin Williams as Theodore Roosevelt, the wax statue of the 26th President of the United StatesRobin Williams also voices the bronze bust of Theodore Roosevelt.Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart, a known historic pilot.Owen Wilson as Jedediah, a cowboy minifigure.Hank Azaria as Kahmunrah, a pharaoh who is the evil and sinister brother of Ahkmenrah.Christopher Guest as Ivan the Terrible, the historic Tsar of Russia who allies with Kahmunrah.Alain Chabat as Napoleon Bonaparte, the leader of the First French Empire who allies with Kahmunrah.Jon Bernthal as Al Capone, a gangster and founder of the Chicago Outfit who allies with Kahmunrah.Steve Coogan as Octavius, a Roman soldier minifigure.Mizuo Peck as Sacagawea, the polyurethane model of the Lemhi Shoshone woman who is Theodore Roosevelt's girlfriend.Bill Hader as George Armstrong Custer, a military figure who Larry befriends.Rami Malek as Ahkmenrah, a pharaoh who is the good brother of Kahmunrah.Patrick Gallagher as Attila the HunBrad Garrett as Easter Island Head (voice)Kerry van der Griend as Neanderthal #1Matthew Harrison as Neanderthal #2Rick Dobran as Neanderthal #3Randy Lee as Hun #1Darryl Quon as Hun #2Gerald Wong as Hun #3Paul Chih-Ping Cheng as Hun #4Jonas Brothers as Cupid StatuesJay Baruchel as Joey Motorola, a sailor who resides in the V-J Day in Times Square photograph.Keith Powell as Tuskegee Airman #1Craig Robinson as Tuskegee Airman #2Clint Howard as Air and Space Mission Control Tech #1Matty Finochio as Air and Space Mission Control Tech #2Thomas Lennon (uncredited) as Orville WrightCaroll Spinney as Oscar the Grouch, the famous Sesame Street character that tries to ally with Kahmunrah only to be dismissed because Kahmunrah classified him as a "grouch."Thomas Morley as Darth Vader, the infamous Star Wars character that tries to ally with Kahmunrah only to be turned away because he was "dark."Hank Azaria as The Thinker, Abraham Lincoln StatueEugene Levy as Albert Einstein BobbleheadsMindy Kaling as DocentGeorge Foreman as HimselfShawn Levy as Infomercial FatherAlberta Mayne as Kissing NurseEd Helms (uncredited) as Ed, Larry Daley's assistantJonah Hill (uncredited) as Brandon, a security guard at the Smithsonian who likes to be called "Brundon"Gigantic OctopusPteranodonSmilodon skeletonHippopotamusGiraffeFairy PenguinKangarooLittle Dancer of Fourteen YearsCrying GirlAmerican GothicLOVE (sculpture)V-J Day in Times SquareNighthawksThe ThinkerOrange Balloon Dog
Writers Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon confirmed to Dark Horizons that they were writing a sequel to Night at the Museum, originally with the tentative title Another Night at the Museum. The writers said that "there'll be existing characters and plenty of new ones."
20th Century Fox announced that the sequel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, would be released during Memorial Day weekend in 2009. Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Patrick Gallagher, Jake Cherry, Rami Malek, Mizuo Peck, Brad Garrett and Robin Williams would return for the sequel, with Shawn Levy returning as director.
The film was mostly filmed in Vancouver and Montreal with some scenes filmed in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.. A scene was shot at the Lincoln Memorial on the night of May 21, 2008. Scenes were also shot at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on August 18 and 20, 2008.
The trailer was released with Bedtime Stories, Yes Man and Marley & Me in December 2008. The trailer accompanied the film Bride Wars in January, The Pink Panther 2 in February, and Dragonball Evolution in April 2009. The film was also promoted as an opening skit on American Idol, where a replica of the Idol judge seats are being held at the real Smithsonian Institution.
An alternate ending included on the DVD and Blu-ray releases featured the return of Dick Van Dyke as Cecil Fredericks, Bill Cobbs as Reginald, and Mickey Rooney as Gus.
Filmmakers loaned the Smithsonian Institution props used in the movie which were displayed in the Smithsonian Castle including the pile of artifacts featured in the film. The Smithsonian also made a brochure available online and at museum visitor service desks outlining where to find artifacts.
As of 2009, numerous artifacts which inspired the movie were on display at Smithsonian Museums along the National Mall. Many of the artifacts are labeled with "Night at the Museum" logos.National Air and Space Museum
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
- Able the space monkey
- Lunar rover
- Lunar Module
- 1903 Wright Flyer
- Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega
- Medal belonging to Tuskegee Airmen
- Supermarine Spitfire
- F-104 Starfighter
National Museum of Natural History
- Messerschmitt 262
National Museum of American History
- Gigantic octopus
- Oscar the Grouch puppet
- George Armstrong Custer's fringed jacket
- Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves
- Theodore Roosevelt's chaps
- Archie Bunker's chair from the television sitcom All in the Family
- Theodore Roosevelt's teddy bear
- Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz
Gift shops at the Smithsonian also sell a replica of the Einstein Bobble-head, created specifically as a tie-in to the movie.
Alan Silvestri returned to score the sequel.
Varese Sarabande issued the score on May 19, 2009.
All tracks written by Alan Silvestri.Sample credits"Museum Open Late" incorporates excerpt of "Life in Technicolor" written by Coldplay
A trailer of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was released on December 19, 2008. The film premiered on May 14, 2009 in Washington, D.C.. The film released in UK on May 20, 2009, on May 22, 2009 in United States, and in Japan on August 12, 2009.
At the end of its box office run, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian earned a gross of $177,243,721 in North America and $235,862,449 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $413,106,170 against a budget of $150 million.
On Friday, May 22, 2009, its opening day, the film's estimated gross was $15,568,708, for second day the film grossed $20,086,972 and for third day the gross was $18,517,606 coming in ahead of Terminator Salvation (which released on Thursday) in 4,096 theaters at #1, reaching up to $54.1 million, with a $13,226 per-theater average over the Memorial Day weekend. By comparison, Night at the Museum reached up to $30 million on its opening weekend in December 2006. For its second weekend, the film grossed $24.35 million, for third weekend $14.6 million.
For the opening weekend of May 22, 2009 the film grossed $49,036,322 while playing in theaters of 56 territories; the film debuted in UK ($6.6 million), Russia ($5.23 million) and France ($5.05 million). The largest market in other territories being UK, Japan, Germany, Australia and France where the film grossed $32.8 million, $21.49 million, $18.78 million, $14.03 million and $13.3 million.
Like its predecessor, the sequel has received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 44% "rotten" approval rating, based on 163 reviews, with an average score of 5.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian is busy enough to keep the kids interested but the slapstick goes overboard and the special effects (however well executed) throw the production into mania". Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, gave the film an average score of 42% based on 31 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Despite mixed reviews from critics, most critics praised Amy Adams' and Hank Azaria's performances. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune awarded the film 3 stars stating that "[Adams]'s terrific -- a sparkling screen presence." Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+ stating "Battle of the Smithsonian has plenty of life. But it's Adams who gives it zing." Also, many reviews noted the costume worn by Amy Adams during the movie. Perry Seibert of TV Guide gave the film 2 stars despite honoring that "thanks to Azaria, a master of comic timing. His grandiose, yet slightly fey bad guy is equally funny when he's chewing out minions as he is when deliberating if Oscar the Grouch and Darth Vader are evil enough to join his team. Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter and A.O. Scott of The New York Times enjoyed both performances.
One critic panned the movie on its excessive use of special effects as noted by Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club when he described the film as "a baffling master plot and a crowded pileup of special effects in search of something to do." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times awarded the film 1½ stars out of 4 claiming "its premise is lame, its plot relentlessly predictable, its characters with personalities that would distinguish picture books."
In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was made available December 1, 2009 on DVD and Blu-ray as a two-disc Special Edition and a three-disc Digital Copy Edition.
As of 12 February 2015, the film has sold 4,083,829 DVDs and 585,023 Blu-ray discs grossing $51,481,903 and $11,674,546 totalling $63,156,449 in North America.Video game
The video game based on the film was released on May 5, 2009. It was fairly well received in comparison to the majority of film-based video-games, netting a 7.5 out of 10 from IGN.com.
Ben Stiller admitted that a sequel was "a possibility" and on January 22, 2010, co-writer Thomas Lennon said to Access Hollywood, "That after the success of two Night at the Museum films, it's no surprise that 20th Century Fox is looking to develop a third and that those suspicions are indeed true and how could you not? I think it's a really outstanding idea to do Night at the Museum 3, in fact," he said. "I wonder if someone's not even already working on a script for that," he added with a raised eyebrow. "I cannot confirm that for a fact, but I cannot deny it for a fact either... It might be in the works." In an interview, Stiller confirmed the sequel, however, he said that it was only in the "ideas stage".
It was announced in February 2013 that the film, directed by Shawn Levy, would be released on December 25, 2014. On September 10, 2013, it was announced that shooting would start in February 2014. On November 8, 2013, English actor Dan Stevens was cast as Sir Lancelot. On November 15, 2013, it was announced Skyler Gisondo would be replacing Jake Cherry for the role of Nicky Daley. On December 18, 2013 it was announced that Robin Williams, Stiller, and Ricky Gervais would be returning for the sequel. On January 9, 2014, it was announced that Rebel Wilson would play a security guard in the British Museum. On January 14, 2014, the film's release date was moved up from December 25, 2014, to December 19, 2014. On January 23, 2014, it was announced Ben Kingsley would play an Egyptian Pharaoh at the British Museum. Principal photography and production began on January 27, 2014. In May 2014, principal photography ended.