The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland

The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland is a 1999 American musical adventure comedy film directed by Gary Halvorson in his feature film debut. It is the second film to be based on the popular children's television series Sesame Street, after Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird (1985), the film stars Mandy Patinkin and Vanessa Williams alongside Muppet performers Kevin Clash, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz and Steve Whitmire.

The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland
Elmo in Grouchland Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGary Halvorson[1]
Produced byAlex Rockwell
Marjorie Kalins[1]
Screenplay byMitchell Kriegman
Joey Mazzarino[1]
Story byMitchell Kriegman[1]
Based on
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyAlan Caso[1]
Edited byAlan Baumgarten
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[2]
Release date
  • October 1, 1999 (1999-10-01)
Running time
73 minutes
  • United States
  • Germany
Budget$26 million[2]
Box office$11.7 million[2]

Produced by Jim Henson Pictures and the Children's Television Workshop, the film was released by Columbia Pictures on October 1, 1999.[1] This film is one of the few Sesame Street productions directly produced by The Jim Henson Company. Alongside Muppets from Space (which was released the same year), this is the final Muppet feature film to have the involvement of Oz, who retired from being a full-time puppeteer the following year.[3]


Ernie and Bert introduce the film, and Elmo welcomes the viewer, finds his blanket and plays with it in his bedroom. He spills juice on his blanket and takes it to the laundromat where he encounters his friend Zoe. Elmo refuses to share his blanket resulting in a tug of war that rips it. Elmo declares that Zoe is no longer his friend.

Telly Monster, rollerskating out of control, accidentally swipes the blanket leading to a chase around Sesame Street. The blanket falls into the hands of Oscar the Grouch, who drops it in his trash can. Elmo dives into the bottom of Oscar's can, where he finds his blanket snagged on a door.

Attempting to retrieve it, he and his blanket are teleported through a colorful swirling tunnel to Grouchland, a city filled with Grouches, garbage, and Huxley, a greedy man who steals anything he can grab, including Elmo's blanket. A kind Grouch girl named Grizzy tells Elmo that his blanket is in Huxley's house at the top of the faraway Mount Pickanose. A plant named Stuckweed encourages Elmo that he will make it if he just takes his first step, so Elmo sets out on a quest to retrieve his blanket.

With Oscar's help the Sesame Street residents go to Grouchland to find him. They ask a Grouch police officer for help but are arrested and imprisoned.

Huxley has his sidekick, Bug the bug and his minions, the Pesties, trap Elmo in a tunnel. Elmo gets out with the help of fireflies. Huxley then has Bug and the Pesties misdirect Elmo into a garbage dump where he is brought before the Queen of Trash for trespassing. The Queen tests him, requesting that he blow 100 raspberries for her in 30 seconds.

Elmo succeeds with the help of the audience and the Queen allows him to pass through. Huxley sends his huge chicken to stop Elmo, who tosses Elmo far away. Elmo gives up on retrieving his blanket for the night.

Meanwhile, Grizzy sneaks into the jail where she informs Elmo's friends that he went to Huxley's house. Oscar convinces all of the Grouches to cooperate, as it is the only way they can stop Huxley from stealing any more of their trash. The police officer releases the Sesame Street residents and the Grouches aid them into the night to go to Huxley's house to fight for their trash and rescue Elmo.

A caterpillar wakes Elmo the next morning. He convinces Elmo that he has what it takes to be brave. Elmo arrives at Huxley's house as Huxley sends the Pesties to stop him. The Sesame Street and Grouchland citizens arrive and the Pesties flee in panic.

Huxley sucks up Elmo's blanket with the vacuum cleaner nozzle on his helicopter. Elmo launches a basket over Huxley's shoulders, incapacitating him. Bug is at the controls of the helicopter and refuses Huxley's demand for it back as he is sympathetic to Elmo and instead gives it back to him.

Elmo returns to Sesame Street with his friends, where he apologizes to Zoe and allows her to hold his blanket. She accepts his apology, agreeing that they can resume their friendship. Elmo says goodbye to the audience and thanks them for helping and goes to dance with his friends.


Muppet performersEdit

Additional characters performed by: Drew Allison, Bruce Lanoil, Bill Barretta, Bob Lynch, John Boone, Ed May, R. Lee Bryan, Tim Parati, Leslie Carrera, Annie Peterle, Lisa Consolo, Andy Stone, Jodi Eichelberger, Lisa Sturz, Rowell Gormon, Kirk Thatcher, Mary Harrison, Matt Vogel, Rob Killen, Matt Yates

Humans of Sesame StreetEdit

Other humansEdit



All the puppeteers who performed the primary Sesame Street characters (such as Kevin Clash, Jerry Nelson, Caroll Spinney and Fran Brill) were called to Wilmington, North Carolina for the table read on May 19, 1998. The regular puppets were used for the normal Sesame Street characters, and puppets for assorted Grouches (including Grizzy) were designed and built by Mark Zezsotek, who also built the puppets for Bug and the Pesties. Sonia Manzano reprised her role as Maria and Roscoe Orman reprised his role as Gordon. Vanessa Williams was cast as the Queen of Trash and the hairstylist colored her hair green for the role. Mandy Patinkin was a last-minute replacement for the original actor hired to play Huxley. For the role, the makeup artist designed false eyebrows for Patinkin to wear to make him seem like he had bushier eyebrows than normal.


The film was shot over a 30-day period (starting May 26, 1998) at the EUE/Screen Gems studio in Wilmington along with Muppets from Space.[4] The set was raised so that puppeteers would be able to stand up instead of squatting below street level like usual. Filming wrapped for both movies on June 25, 1998, and visual effects were added during the following month.[citation needed]


  1. "Together Forever" – Elmo, Big Bird, Rosita, Prairie Dawn, Count von Count, Baby Bear, Gordon, Gina, Susan, Luis, Bob (Written by Michael Silversher and Patty Silversher; produced by Jeff Elmassian and Siedah Garrett)
  2. "Welcome to Grouchland" – The Grouchland Ensemble (Written by Martin Erskine and Seth Friedman; produced by Martin Erskine)
  3. "Take the First Step" – Stuckweed (Written by Michael Reagan and Greg Matheson; produced by Jeff Elmassian and Siedah Garrett)
  4. "Make It Mine" – Mandy Patinkin (Written by Martin Erskine and Seth Friedman; produced by Martin Erskine)
  5. "I See a Kingdom" – Vanessa Williams (Written by Siedah Garrett, Jeff Elmassian, and Andy Rehfeldt; produced by Jeff Elmassian and Siedah Garrett)
  6. "I'm a Little Teapot" (Written by Clarence Kelley and George Sanders)
  7. "Precious Wings" – Tatyana Ali (Written by Siedah Garrett, Jeff Elmassian, and Andy Rehfeldt; produced by Keith Thomas)


The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland
Soundtrack album by
LabelJim Henson
Sesame Street chronology
Elmo Saves Christmas
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland

This album, released in 1999, is the soundtrack to The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland.

This album won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Album for Children in 2000.

"Make It Mine" is excluded from the soundtrack.

Track listEdit

  1. Welcome to Grouchland
  2. Together Forever
  3. Take the First Step
  4. I See a Kingdom
  5. Precious Wings
  6. Elmo Tells His Grouchland Story (Spoken Word)
  7. The Grouch Song - Elmo, Grizzy, Oscar the Grouch, Ernie, Bert (Written by Jeff Moss)
  8. There's a Big Heap of Trash at the End of the Rainbow - The Stenchmen (Written by Tony Geiss)
  9. I Love Trash - Steven Tyler


Critical responseEdit

The film has a rating of 77% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 43 reviews, with an average rating of 6.72/10. The film's consensus states, "This fun and moral tale entertains both first-time Sesame Street watchers and seasoned veterans."[5] On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film holds a 59/100, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6]

Box officeEdit

The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland was the only family film playing in most theaters at the time of its release. Sony had planned a scaled-back release[citation needed], making it difficult to make its money back. The film opened at #8 with a weekend gross of $3,255,033 from 1,210 theaters, averaging $2,690 per venue. In total, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland earned back less than half its $26 million budget, grossing $11,683,047 during its two-and-a-half-month theatrical run.[2] It is currently the lowest-grossing Muppet film to date.[citation needed]

Home mediaEdit

The film was released on VHS and DVD on December 21, 1999.

Book seriesEdit

The film inspired a trilogy of children's books, published in 1999: Happy Grouchy Day, The Grouchiest Lovey and Unwelcome to Grouchland. The book series was written by Suzanne Weyn and illustrated by Tom Brannon.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Detail view of Movies Page". Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin (March 11, 2014). "How Kermit and the Muppets Got Their Mojo Back". Variety. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  4. ^ "Official website (archived)".
  5. ^ The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland at Rotten Tomatoes
  6. ^ The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland at Metacritic

External linksEdit