The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland is a 1999 American–German musical fantasy-comedy film directed by Gary Halvorson. It is the second theatrical feature-length film based on the popular U.S. children's series Sesame Street. Produced by Jim Henson Pictures in association with the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) and released by Columbia Pictures on October 1, 1999, the film co-stars Mandy Patinkin and Vanessa L. Williams. The film was shot in Wilmington, North Carolina at EUE/Screen Gems in 1998. This is one of the few Sesame Street productions directly produced by The Jim Henson Company.
Elmo is playing with his blanket in his house. After he bumps his blanket on a juice cup and after drying off his blanket at the laundromat, Elmo sees Zoe feeling depressed because her father cannot take her to the zoo, so he decides to make Zoe happy again by imitating certain zoo animals (a lion, a monkey, and a pig). When Zoe sees his blanket, Elmo refuses to share, resulting in a tug-of-war that rips Elmo's blanket. Elmo is furious and declares that Zoe is no longer his friend. Suddenly, Telly Monster inadvertently takes away the blanket while rollerskating out of control. They go around Finders Keepers and knock over a tray of drinks Ruthie is carrying. Telly hits Cookie Monster at the revolving door of Furry Arms hotel. The blanket accidentally lands in the hands of Oscar the Grouch, who drops it in his trash can after sneezing on it. Elmo drops into the bottom of Oscar's trash can, where he finds the blanket nailed to a door. But they are both teleported to Grouchland USA, a world filled with Grouches where a greedy man named Huxley (Mandy Patinkin) steals anything he can grab including Elmo's blanket. Elmo is determined to find his blanket and begins a journey through Grouchland. He asks a kind girl named Grizzy to help in his quest, but she later abandons him when Elmo discovers that Huxley's house is on the top of the faraway Mount Pickanose.
Meanwhile, the Sesame Street residents are informed of Elmo's absence and go to Grouchland to find him, with help from Oscar. When Big Bird and Zoe find a Grouch Police Officer and Big Bird asks him for help, the entire group ends up arrested as the Grouch Police Officer informs them that it is against Grouchland's laws to ask a police officer for help and that they have the right to scream their heads off.
Meanwhile, Huxley's sidekick Bug and the Pesties trap Elmo in a tunnel using a trap door. However, he gets out with the help of fireflies. Then, he meets the Queen of Trash (Vanessa L. Williams) in a garbage dump area. He leaves her dump by giving the queen 100 raspberries in 30 seconds. Elmo succeeds and continues walking to Huxley's house. He is then chased by a humongous chicken named "Tiny", but gets away. When night comes, he stops at a rock to rest, discouraged.
When Grizzy learns of the Sesame Street friends being arrested, she tells them of Elmo's location in Huxley's house. Oscar the Grouch is convinced to help set things right as well as admitting that Elmo is his friend. He then convinces the Grouch Police Officer and all of the Grouches of Grouchland that even though Grouches hate cooperation, just for once they have to take a stand against Huxley from stealing any more of their trash. Taking light to this problem, the Grouch Police Officer releases the Sesame Street residents and aids them to go to Huxley's house to fight for their trash and rescue Elmo.
A caterpillar wakes up Elmo the next morning on the rock. He gives Elmo advice to look inside his body and he'll see that he'll be brave. He then makes it to Huxley's before he could make Elmo's blanket his blanket. However, Huxley prevents Elmo from escaping by grabbing him with a claw and deciding to label them "MINE". Just as Elmo is about to face the fate of never seeing his friends again, the Sesame Street and the Grouchland citizens appear in time to rescue Elmo and the Pesties flee. Bug takes Elmo's blanket from Huxley and turns against him as Elmo catapults a basket over his shoulders. Bug then gives Elmo his blanket back. Elmo is hailed a hero by the Sesame Street and Grouchland citizens and Huxley unanimously tries to change his mind about his selfishness but fails. Elmo, happy to get his blanket back, goes with his friends back to his own world and apologizes to Zoe for not sharing his blanket and hurting her feelings. Elmo says goodbye to the audience when Ernie and Bert head home as the film ends.
- Kevin Clash as Elmo, Pestie, Grouch Jailer, Grouch Taxicab Driver
- Mandy Patinkin as Huxley
- Vanessa L. Williams as the Queen of Trash
- Caroll Spinney as Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch
- Frank Oz as Cookie Monster, Bert, Grover
- Steve Whitmire as Ernie, Stuckweed, Football Stenchman, Bad Humor Man, Parrot
- Martin P. Robinson as Telly Monster, Pestie
- Fran Brill as Zoe, Pestie, Prairie Dawn
- Joey Mazzarino as Bug
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo as Grizzy, Pestie
- Sonia Manzano as Maria
- Roscoe Orman as Gordon
Humans of Sesame StreetEdit
- Alison Bartlett-O'Reilly as Gina
- Ruth Buzzi as Ruthie
- Emilio Delgado as Luis
- Loretta Long as Susan
- Bob McGrath as Bob
- Dave Goelz as Humongous Chicken
- Jerry Nelson as Count von Count, Pestie, Grouch Mayor, Grouch Police Officer
- Matt Vogel as Big Bird (puppetry in some scenes)
- David Rudman as Baby Bear, Caterpillar, Pestie, Collander Stenchman, Grouch Ice Cream Customer
- Carmen Osbahr as Rosita
- Jerry Nelson - Voice of Mr. Johnson
- Martin P. Robinson - Laundromat Manager
- David Rudman - Alarm Clock Bird, Fat Blue Anything Muppet, Puppeteer of Mr. Johnson, Various Grouches
- Steve Whitmire - Sharon Groan
This album won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Album for Children in 2000.
- Welcome to Grouchland - The Grouchland Ensemble
- Together Forever - Elmo
- I See a Kingdom - Vanessa Williams
- Take the First Step - Stuckweed
- Precious Wings - Tatyana Ali
- Elmo Tells His Grouchland Story (Spoken Word)
- The Grouch Song - Elmo / Grizzy / Oscar the Grouch
- There's a Big Heap of Trash at the End of the Rainbow - The Stenchman
- I Love Trash - Steven Tyler
The film has a 77% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film's consensus states, "This fun and moral tale entertains both first-time Sesame Street watchers and seasoned veterans." On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film holds a 59/100, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
In spite of being released during a time when Elmo was becoming a phenomenally popular Muppet character (mainly thanks to Tickle Me Elmo), Elmo in Grouchland was a box office bomb, being the only family film playing in most theaters at the time of its release. Sony had planned a very scaled-back release, opening in an only slightly-wide release 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. It is currently the lowest-grossing Muppet film to date.
The movie was released on VHS and DVD on December 21, 1999. Despite being filmed in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the Region 1 VHS and DVD are in fullscreen only. However, the Region 2 DVD release presents the film in its original widescreen aspect ratio. In the US, the original widescreen presentation is available digitally for rental or purchase through Google Play. A Blu-ray release has not been announced yet.
Elmo and Bill Introduction cutsceneEdit
Elmo and Bill nearby Oscar's trash can introduce the viewer to the adventures they'll journey in Grouchland. As part of the movie's intro scene, Elmo introduces his friend named Bill the Bug (which is simply called Bug) on his first time in the location of Sesame Street. Before they get excited and Bill laughs, they shout their expressions about the Grouchland adventures. After Bill mentions "Elmolicious" even though he meant to say "Elmo let's just adventure", Elmo asks Bill what Elmolicious means and he's not sure what it is. The introduction wraps up with them proceeding and Elmo's mouth transiting to black screen.
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.