May
18

The ‘Battle of the Smithsonian’ begins

The world premiere of “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” brought a galaxy of stars to Air and Space and the Natural History Museum May 14. The highly anticipated sequel to 2006’s “Night at the Museum,” the film stars Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria and Robin Williams, but perhaps the biggest star is the Smithsonian Institution itself. The filmmakers were given unprecedented access to film scenes at the Castle and the Air and Space Museum last summer.

Photo: (Click on thumbnail for full-size image.) This “Pile of Loot” is a prop from the film on display in the Castle through Sept. 30. Created by designer Claude Paré, the prop represent’s Hollywood’s version of some of the Smithsonian’s treasured collections. In the film, King KahMunRah (Azaria) steals Smithsonian artifacts and hoards them in his throne room in the Commons on the first floor of the Castle. The pile includes reproductions of Archie Bunker’s armchair, Fonzie’s leather jacket and Dorothy’s ruby slippers. No actual artifacts were harmed in the making of this film! (“Pile of Loot” lent by 20th Century Fox. Photo by Eric Long)

Actors Owen Wilson and Amy Adams at the press conference May 15 promoting "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian." (Photo by Ken Rahaim)

Actors Owen Wilson and Amy Adams at the press conference May 15 promoting "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian." (Photo by Ken Rahaim)

The PG-rated “Battle of the Smithsonian” follows the epic adventures of former night guard Larry Daley (Stiller) as history truly comes alive amid the collections of SI, all of which, from paintings to rocket ships, suddenly have a mind of their own. Daley enlists the aid of old friends from the first movie and new ones, including Amelia Earhart (Adams), to thwart the evil plans of the villainous King KahMunRah.

This is the first time the Smithsonian has allowed its name to be used in the title of a movie. The Institution worked closely with 20th Century Fox to review the script to ensure the film’s depiction of SI and its collections was respectful of the Smithsonian’s reputation. The fun, family-friendly movie delivers a positive, engaging view of museums and encourages children to use their imaginations and have fun learning about the “real thing.”

From left, cast members Ben Stiller, Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson and director Shawn Levy

From left, cast members Ben Stiller, Ricky Gervais, Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson and director Shawn Levy. (Photo by Ken Rahaim)

“Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” opens nationwide May 22. The movie will be shown at the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater (Air and Space) and Samuel C. Johnson IMAX Theater (Natural History) and tickets are on sale now. Be sure to sure to take advantage of your staff discount when purchasing tickets.


Posted: 18 May 2009
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.

3 Responses to The ‘Battle of the Smithsonian’ begins
    • Mara J.
    • I was lucky enough to see the movie at the pre-screening last Saturday. It was very cute! The movie will definitely help SI connect with a new, younger audience.

    • Meredith
    • Love all the positive press this is getting for the Institution. I agree that SI is the real star!!