Night at the Museum

Night at the Museum is a 2006 fantasy-comedy film directed by Shawn Levy and written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. It is based on the 1993 children's book The Night at the Museum by Croatian illustrator Milan Trenc. The film stars Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, and Robin Williams. It tells the story of a divorced father who applies for a job as a night watchman at New York City's American Museum of Natural History and subsequently discovers that the exhibits, animated by a magical Egyptian artifact, come to life at night. 20th Century Fox released the film on December 22, 2006, and it grossed $574.5 million worldwide.

Night at the Museum
Night at the Museum poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byShawn Levy
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onThe Night at the Museum
by Milan Trenc
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyGuillermo Navarro
Edited byDon Zimmerman
Distributed by20th Century Fox[1]
Release date
  • December 17, 2006 (2006-12-17) (New York City)
  • December 22, 2006 (2006-12-22) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom[1]
  • United States[1]
Budget$110 million[3]
Box office$574.5 million[4]

Two sequels were released: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian in 2009, and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb in 2014. An animated remake is in development for the streaming service Disney+.


Larry Daley's unstable work history causes his former wife Erica to believe that he is a bad example to their ten-year-old son Nick, and Larry fears that Nick respects his future stepfather, Don, more than him. Cecil Fredricks, an elderly security guard about to retire from the American Museum of Natural History, hires Larry despite his unpromising résumé. The museum, which is rapidly losing money, plans to replace Cecil and his two colleagues Gus and Reginald with one guard. Cecil gives Larry an instruction booklet on how to handle museum security, advises Larry to leave some of the lights on, and warns him not to let anything "in...or out".

Once night falls, Larry discovers that the exhibits come to life, including a playful Tyrannosaurus skeleton nicknamed "Rexy" who behaves like a dog; a mischievous capuchin monkey named Dexter; rival miniature civilizations led by Old West cowboy Jedediah and Roman general Octavius; abusive, limb-ripping Attila the Hun; an Easter Island Moai obsessed with chewing gum; and a wax model of Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt explains that since an ancient Egyptian artifact — the Golden Tablet of Pharaoh Ahkmenrah — came to the museum in 1952, all of the exhibits come to life each night. If the exhibits are outside the museum during sunrise, they turn to dust. Roosevelt helps Larry by restoring order, but only for one night.

Larry quits the next morning, not wanting a life-threatening job. However, when Nick comes to see him at work and expresses interest in his job, Larry remains as a night guard. When Larry tells Cecil that Dexter tore up his instructions, Cecil advises him to study history. He also learns more from museum docent Rebecca Hutman, who is writing a dissertation on Sacagawea, but does not feel she knows enough about her subject.

The next night, Larry uses what he has learned to better control the exhibits, but four Neanderthals set fire to a display. One of the Neanderthals turns into dust after escaping. The next morning, museum director Dr. McPhee almost fires Larry after what had happened to the Neanderthal exhibit until Larry begs him to reconsider. Larry offers Rebecca a meeting with Sacagawea, but she believes that he is mocking her and the museum.

Larry brings Nick to the museum to show him the exhibits, but none of them come to life. They find Cecil, Gus, and Reginald stealing the tablet and other valuable objects. Like the exhibits, the guards receive enhanced vitality from the artifact and plan to frame Larry for the thefts. They have also disabled the tablet to stop the exhibits from interfering. With his father's encouragement, Nick reactivates the tablet and runs away with the artifact. After a chase throughout the museum, Cecil locks up Nick and his father in the Egyptian room and steals back the tablet. Larry releases Ahkmenrah's mummy from his sarcophagus. The pharaoh speaks English from many years as an exhibit at Cambridge and helps Larry and Nick escape. The three find the other exhibits fighting. After helping Attila deal with past trauma causing him to act out, Larry convinces the exhibits to work together.

The exhibits capture Gus and Reginald without difficulty, but Cecil escapes by stagecoach. He almost runs Sacagawea over, but instead slices Teddy in half when he shoves her out of the way. Larry, Nick, Ahkmenrah, Jed, Octavius, Rexy, and Atilla the Hun pursue Cecil to Central Park, where they stop him and regain the tablet. Jed and Octavius crash their remote-controlled Hummer but survive. Teddy is fixed by Sacagawea with warm wax. Rebecca sees the exhibits return to the museum before sunrise and realizes that Larry was telling the truth; he introduces her to Sacagawea. McPhee almost fires Larry again after seeing news reports of the strange events around the museum — such as cave paintings in the museum's subway station, dinosaur footprints in Central Park, and cavemen sightings. However, upon seeing how much these events raised attendance, he reconsiders. Larry, Nick, and the exhibits celebrate the following night.

During the credits, Cecil, Gus and Reginald are now working as janitors at the museum.





The building featured in the film, which was constructed on a sound stage in Burnaby, British Columbia, is based on the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, external shots of which were used in the movie.[5]

Trainers spent several weeks training Crystal, who plays the troublemaking monkey Dexter, to slap and bite Stiller in the film.

Director Shawn Levy credited Ben Stiller for the ensemble cast: "When actors hear that Ben Stiller is in a movie they want to work with him. It['s] a high-water mark and it absolutely draws actors in and I'm convinced that's a big part of why we got this cast."[6]



Ben Stiller claimed that he watched Tom Cruise in the Mission: Impossible films to learn how to imitate his running technique, shown here as Stiller portraying his film character running from the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton (Rexy).[6]
  • "Friday Night" - performed by McFly; not featured in American version of the film, but heard in some international cuts, used during the end credits. It can be heard on the American DVD on the Spanish dub.
  • "September" - performed by Earth, Wind and Fire; used before the end credits where everyone in the museum is partying.
  • "Weapon of Choice" - performed by Fatboy Slim; used in the scene where Larry returns to the museum for his second night and is preparing for the chaos.
  • "Tonight" - performed by Keke Palmer featuring Cham; used for the end credits.
  • "Eye of the Tiger" - performed by Ben Stiller; used in the scene where Larry is bored and messes around with the telephone at the front desk beatboxing the music.
  • An instrumental version of "Mandy" by Barry Manilow is used when Larry is standing in the elevator, while escaping from Attila the Hun.
  • "Ezekiel Saw Them Dry Bones" is the tune Larry whistles as he passes the empty T. rex exhibit on his first night.
  • "Camptown Races" by Stephen Foster is sung by the townspeople of the American West miniature diorama. This is a period-correct song.


Alan Silvestri replaced John Ottman as score composer.[7] Silvestri's score was used for the teaser trailer of Horton Hears a Who!

Night at the Museum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by
Alan Silvestri
ReleasedDecember 19, 2006 (2006-12-19)
GenreFilm score
LabelVarèse Sarabande

Track listEdit

Varèse Sarabande released a soundtrack album of the score on December 19, 2006.[8]

All tracks are written by Alan Silvestri.

Night at the Museum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
1."Night at the Museum"02:35
2."One of Those Days"00:49
3."An Ordinary Guy?"01:27
4."Tour of the Museum"02:35
5."Civil War Soldiers"04:08
6."Out of Africa"01:07
7."Meet Dexter"01:27
8."Mayan Warriors"00:57
9."Where's Rexy?"00:48
10."West from Africa"01:49
11."The Iron Horse"01:06
12."Saved by Teddy"01:57
13."Tablet of Akmenrah"00:37
14."Tracking, Dear Boy"01:08
15."Some Men Are Born Great"00:50
17."Study Up on History"02:15
18."Teddy Likes Sacagawea"01:53
19."Tearing Limbs"01:45
20."Caveman on Fire"00:43
21."Outrun the Sun"00:58
22."Show You What I Do"02:55
23."Tablet's Gone"02:45
24."Theodore Roosevelt at Your Service"01:11
25."This Is Your Moment"02:10
26."Rally the Troops"01:07
27."Tree Take Down"01:21
28."Cecil's Escape"01:26
29."Stage Coach"02:28
30."Teddy in Two"01:18
31."Cab Ride"00:50
32."Big Fan"01:03
33."Heroes Return"00:54
34."A Great Man"00:57
35."Full House"01:21
Total length:53:19


Night at the Museum had its premiere in New York City on December 17, 2006. It was later released on December 22, 2006 in the United States, December 26, 2006 in UK, January 12, 2007 in Brazil, on February 14, 2007 in China and on March 17, 2007 in Japan.[9]


Box officeEdit

At the end of its box office run, Night at the Museum earned a gross of $250.9 million in the US and Canada and $323.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $574.5 million.[4] It was the fifth highest-grossing film of 2006 and also the highest-grossing film worldwide of the trilogy.[10]

It was the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend, grossing $30.8 million plating in 3,686 theaters, with a $8,258 per-theater average. For the four-day Christmas holiday weekend, it took in $42.2 million.[4] The movie was also released in IMAX large screen format, often on site at museums of science or natural history such as the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

In its second weekend, Night at the Museum expanded into 83 more theaters and took in approximately $36.7 million, out-grossing its opening weekend. It maintained the top position in its third week, with an additional $23.7 million.[11]

During its opening weekend of December 22, 2006, the film grossed a figure of estimated $5 million, with the highest debut coming from South Korea ($5.04 million).[12] The biggest market in the other territories were the UK, Japan, South Korea, and Germany, where it grossed $40.8 million, $30 million, $25.7 million, $22.9 million.[13]

Critical responseEdit

As of October 2020, on Rotten Tomatoes the film had an approval rating of 43% based on 138 reviews and an average rating of 5.26/10. The site's critical consensus read, "Parents might call this either a spectacle-filled adventure or a shallow and vapid CG-fest, depending on whether they choose to embrace this on the same level as their kids".[14] As of October 2020, on Metacritic, the film had a score of 48 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15] CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[16]

Justin Chang of Variety magazine wrote: "This rambunctious, "Jumanji"-style extravaganza is a gallery of special effects in search of a story; rarely has so much production value yielded so little in terms of audience engagement."[17] James Berardinelli of Reelviews gave it 2 stars out of 4, and commented on Stiller's performance by stating "It might be fair to give Ben Stiller an 'A' for effort, but to call what he does in this movie 'acting' is a misnomer. He does a lot of running around, occasionally falling down or bumping into things."[18] One positive review by William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, gave it a B-, and stated that the film was "Out to impress and delight a family audience with the pageantry of human and natural history, and that's a surprisingly worthy ambition for a Hollywood comedy."[19]

Museum officials at the American Museum of Natural History have credited the film for increasing the number of visitors during the holiday season by almost 20%. According to a museum official, between December 22, 2006, and January 2, 2007, there were 50,000 more visitors than during the same period the prior year.[20]

Home mediaEdit

The film was released on a 2-Disc DVD edition in the United Kingdom on April 23, 2007. It was released on 1-Disc and 2-Disc DVD editions and Blu-ray Disc format on April 24, 2007 elsewhere.

The film became the first non-Disney film to be reviewed by Ultimate Disney (now known as, due to the website dealing with other studios besides Disney.[21][22]

As of 6 December 2009, the film has sold 9,191,694 DVDs and grossed $153,566,058 in DVD sales.[23]


Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film N/A Nominated
ASCAP Award Top Box Office Films Alan Silvestri Won
Artios Best Feature Film Casting - Comedy Ilene Starger
Coreen Mayrs (Vancouver casting)
Heike Brandstatter (Vancouver casting)
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie N/A Nominated [24]
MTV Movie Award Best Comedic Performance Ben Stiller Nominated
National Movie Award Best Comedy N/A Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Comedy and Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Ben Stiller Nominated
Taurus Award Hardest Hit Greg Fitzpatrick Nominated [25]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Actor Age Ten or Younger Jake Cherry Nominated [26]


Night at the Museum was followed by a sequel titled Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,[27] which was released on May 22, 2009 in North America. A third film, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, was released on December 19, 2014 in North America.[28]

In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter stated that the Alibaba Pictures Group intended to remake the film.[29] On August 6, 2019, Disney stated they were to remake Home Alone, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Night at the Museum for their Disney+ streaming service.[30]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Night at the Museum (2006)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Night at the Museum (2006)". British Film Institute. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  3. ^ Night at the Museum (2006)
  4. ^ a b c "Night at the Museum (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  5. ^ "". Night at the Museum Filming Locations. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "". Stiller shifts to the Museum. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  7. ^ "Night at the Museum Soundtrack". Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  8. ^ "Night at the Museum [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  9. ^ "Night at the Museum Release". Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  10. ^ "Night at the Museum Showdown". IMDB. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  11. ^ "Night at the Museum domestic weekend". IMDB. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  12. ^ "Night at the Museum Foreign Weekly". IMDB. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  13. ^ "NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM foreign market". Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  14. ^ "Night at the Museum". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  15. ^ "Night at the Museum". Metacritic. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  16. ^ "Cinemascore". Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  17. ^ Chang, Justin (December 21, 2006). "Night at the Museum". Variety.
  18. ^ "". Night at the Museum. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  19. ^ Arnold, William (December 21, 2006). "". Shallow 'Museum' exhibits some appealing qualities. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  20. ^ "". Movie boosts Natural History Museum visits. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
  21. ^ "". Non-Disney films to be reviewed by Ultimate Disney. Retrieved April 20, 2007.
  22. ^ "". "Night at the Museum" at Retrieved April 24, 2007.
  23. ^ "Night at the Museum". Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  24. ^ "2007 Host Nominee Release". Nickelodeon. February 7, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  25. ^ "Taurus World Stunt Awards - Hardest Hit". World Stunt Awards. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  26. ^ "28th Annual Young Artist Awards Nominations". Young Artist Association. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  27. ^ "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian". Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  28. ^ "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb". Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  29. ^ Rebecca Sun and Patrick Brzeski (April 25, 2016). "China's Alibaba Pictures to Remake 'Night at the Museum'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  30. ^ Disney is rebooting Movies from the past.

External linksEdit