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Ah, so, we're doing this again? Above is the trailer to A Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb, the third part of what feels like a neverending series of children's films pretending to educate your child about history. Ben Stiller is back because Ben Stiller isn't a businessman, he's a business, man. And this time, his security guard Larry is tasked with porting the museum's many magical inhabitants to England, befitting a series that is absolutely huge overseas.
It seems like some of the action spills out into the city this time around, so maybe they have a bigger budget. They'd have to, considering the theoretical raises everyone must have received to come back: also returning for this installment is Robin Williams' President Roosevelt, Ricky Gervais' Dr. McPhee and the trio of Dick Van Dyke, Bill Cobb and Mickey Rooney (in his final role). Also returning is Steve Coogan's Octavius and Owen Wilson's Jedediah – sadly, both actors didn't sign the Goodwill Sequel contract that suggests you avoid being humiliated due to your devotion to a franchise. As such, they receive a monkey golden shower.
The first one was something of a runaway success back in 2006, grossing a spectacular $574 million. That's pre-recession dollars! The second one was a little less-received, topping out at only $413 million worldwide, but that's still a hefty chunk of change. Fox clearly sees the potential for a 3D-flavored bounceback this time around, though there's the sneaking suspicion that Fox needs this less than Ben Stiller. Like most of the people in this clip, poor Ben looks miserable to be back. And he's not even the one getting peed on!
Stiller took a big home run swing with last year's The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, and it was just the latest in a string of bombs aimed towards his target audience, starting with the barely-released low budget oddity The Mark Pease Experience (you haven't heard of it, do not seek it out) to Greenberg (beloved only by critics), to Little Fockers (let's not) to Tower Heist to The Watch. Yes, you can argue that both Little Fockers ($310 million!) and Tower Heist ($152 million) were hits, but both underperformed relative to expectations.
A Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb actually hits theaters during a very busy period, debuting on December 19th. That's on the same day as Annie and two days after The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies, and there's another rush of movies hitting during the Christmas period. Will Secret Of The Tomb be anyone's first choice? There will probably be another trailer that surfaces for this film, and maybe they'll make it look different enough (perhaps spotlight Dan Stevens' Lancelot more?) to entice casuals who wouldn't otherwise be interested.