The Muppets stumbled in their big return to North American multiplexes this weekend; early reports suggest that Muppet Most Wanted earned $16.5 million in its first three days, down significantly from the $41 million opening weekend The Muppets enjoyed a couple of years ago.
Despite the early (and it is still very early) box office disappointment, Muppet fan shouldn’t despair. The movie has enjoyed good reviews and is likely to earn back its fairly modest (by Hollywood standards) $54 million budget. Somehow I seriously doubt that this is the last we’ve see Kermit and Co.
Of course there was much, much more than the Muppets happening in puppetry worldwide this week. Let’s take a quick spin around the globe and see what’s new and what’s been happening…
Africa and the Middle East
South African puppeteer Craig Leo talks about his work on War Horse.
Popular playwright/director Koki Mitani has created a new series based on Sherlock Holmes for Japan’s NHK.
Preparations are underway in Pakistan for the National Traditional and Contemporary Folk Puppetry Theatre Festival.
Australia / New Zealand
Indonesian puppeteer Sumardi is spreading the art of shadow puppetry in Australia.
It’s time for Scotland’s annual Puppet Animation Festival in Edinburgh.
Did you ever wonder why the Spitting Image boom went bust?
In honour of World Puppetry Day, an exhibit celebrating 100 years of Slovenian puppetry opened this week in Ljubljana (this Serbian news report about the exhibit has more photos from the exhibit).
A glimpse inside the Toronto studio of Ronnie Burkett.
Puppeteers Unite blogger Tom Stewart was interviewed by the Stan Winston School.
Attendees of TED2014 in Vancouver were treated to a puppetry masterclass with Brian Henson.
Brian Henson also called in to Chicago radio station to talk about the upcoming TV series Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.
Speaking of Chicago, The new Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival will be held January 16-25, 2015.
Muppets Most Wanted director Nick Stoller talks about reviving the Muppets on screen.
Puppetry is used to bring to life a new production of Frankenstein at Bowling Green University in Ohio.
Oscar winner Robert Lopez and the Center for Puppetry Arts are teaming up to create a new show.
Puppetry will be featured at this year’s Atlanta Film Festival.
Heather Henson and Ibex Puppetry are coming to Nebraska with Flight: A Crane’s Story.
Guest artists and special events are on their way next month at The Great Arizona Puppet Theater.
Ventriloquist Terry Fator has a very devoted young fan.
PuppetPLEX is a new artist collective in Oakland, California striving to explore new directions in puppetry.
There be dragons in Sonoma, California thanks to She Kills Monsters.
International Calls for Entry
The 2015 Bristol Festival of Puppetry is now accepting expressions of interest from companies interested in performing at their festival in Bristol, England.
Applications are now being accepted from artists and companies interested in performing at the 2014 Day of Delight in Toronto. The deadline for applications is April 13th.
Proposals are now being accepted for a new annual puppetry residency at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut, U.S.A.