For Hollywood’s Smithsonian, a Battle Trumps an Escape

In 2009, 20th-Century Fox was working on the film “Night at the Museum: Escape from the Smithsonian.” But why would anyone want to escape from the museums?

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So, 20th-Century Fox had this film in the works for release in 2009: "Night at the Museum: Escape from the Smithsonian."

I ask you this: Why would anyone want to escape from the Smithsonian? It’s free to the public, so it’s not like anyone is obligated to come here or to stay longer than they feel is necessary.

The guards are quite good at herding out the crowds at closing time, so there’s little hope for for an overnight adventure in the "Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" vein. Let’s face it, when you’re at the Smithsonian, it’s near impossible to develop the maddening sense of entrapment that would constitute the need for escape. (Unless, perhaps, you came here with your parents, in which case: suck it up kids, you’ll thank them when you’re older.)

The ridiculousness of this "escape" idea has been noted and the film consequently re-titled to "Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian." Ah, now that’s more like it! This place has a well-stocked armory of trinkets both pointy and flammable—it’s anyone’s guess as to why our staffers have yet to settle the occasional dispute by chucking indigenous spearheads and lobbing Loxodonta africana specimens at one another.

But that’s why we need Hollywood. It dares what normal people would never dream.

("Night at the Museum" 2006 poster courtesy of 20th-Century Fox)

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