Get ready for the wildest and most adventure-filled Night at the Museum ever, as Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) travels the globe, uniting favorite and new characters and embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever.
Imagine walking into the world’s most magnificent museums, where the wonders and history of the world come to life. That was the starting point for the Night at the Museum motion pictures, which have captivated audiences globally and grossed over one billion dollars. Now, its third installment takes all of its beloved characters around the world for their greatest adventure yet.
Ben Stiller reprises his role as museum guard Larry Daley, and Shawn Levy is once again at the helm, producing and directing a pantheon of comic talent.
When New York’s Natural History Museum’s exhibits, which come to life at night, start to behave strangely, Larry, the newly-promoted director of nighttime operations at the Museum, must find out why. The Tablet, which magically brings the creatures to life, has started to decay and the only way to restore it may be at the British Museum. Larry, who’ll do anything to save his museum “family,” along with his son Nick and the museum exhibits, travel from New York to London, where they must discover the Tablet’s secret.
Night at the Museum and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian were worldwide hits, but it took some time before Shawn Levy and Ben Stiller were certain there would be a third Night. “Ben and I were looking for a defining principle – a reason to make a third film,” says Levy. “It was only when we came up with the idea of the potential death of the Tablet that we felt we had finally discovered a core theme and motive for the characters and for us, the filmmakers. In the new film, we aren’t just going to a new museum – we are fighting for the life of the magic itself.”
Once Levy locked into a storyline, he couldn’t wait to return to the incredible world of which he was a principal architect. “There’s something about the blend of this wondrous ‘what if” that gets brought to life in these movies,” he says. “The new film also has humor and a warm-heartedness that are winning and compelling. I am very conscious of the privilege to create these worlds and these adventures.”
Levy worked closely with screenwriters David Guion and Michael Handelman to fine-tune the script. Guion says, “Shawn is this incredibly enthusiastic guy, with a sharp sense of what’s working and what’s not working. When it’s working, he laughs, leaps up and acts out the character.” Adds Handelman: “Shawn is the most amazing collaborator. He gets seized by an idea and just jumps out of his chair. He’s an amazingly gifted source of ideas.”
Guion recalls Levy telling the writers: “We want this to be the culmination of the themes of the earlier two films. We want to make it about saying goodbye and moving on. Larry’s son, Nick (Skyler Gisondo), is getting older and wants new freedoms and Larry has to let go. And we tried to echo that throughout the movie.”
The father-son dynamic is also a key element with several other characters: Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) works through his relationship with his father (played by Ben Kingsley); Nick develops a surrogate father relationship with Lancelot (Dan Stevens); and Teddy (Robin Williams) is very much a father figure to Larry. Even a new character, the caveman Laaa, calls Larry “dada.”
“That’s the fun thing, when you explore those kinds of relationships,” says Guion. “What are their serious, emotional, heartwarming parts, and what are the difficult, embarrassing and fun parts?”
Levy calls the Nick-Larry relationship “resonant, relatable and dynamic. The first Night at the Museum was both a father-son movie and a spectacular adventure. The goal in this movie is to return to that – with a father-son thematic spine, but without question the biggest spectacle we’ve ever done. This movie is about the difficulty of accepting change and of letting go of those we love. So for Larry, this applies to his teenage son, who may be going away to college or to the world beyond; it applies to the museum creatures that are at risk and may lose their magic; and it applies, possibly, to the job that has defined Larry Daley for all these years. There’s a thematic unity to this movie where this concept of letting go is played out through different venues.”
Ben Stiller recalls his reaction to reading the script for the first Night at the Museum. “It appealed to the kid in me,” he explains. “What happens when the museum closes at night? What would happen if everything came to life? I thought that the answers would be a really cool movie to see.” In terms of the decision to make a third film, he says, “People have a connection with the characters, and when the idea came up about everything possibly ending, and there being a finite amount of time these creatures can actually come to life, and how people deal with that, it felt like a story you wouldn’t quite expect to see. I really liked that idea.
“I love what these movies are about,” Stiller continues. “They have become a part of our culture. They’ve affected how people go to a museum and view the museum exhibits. It’s really fun to go to a museum and see that they have a night program. I have a lot of people – adults – who tell me, ‘I had a sleepover at the museum with my kids.’ And I’ll say, ‘Great. Did anything come to life?’”
That sense of wonder and fun extended to the production of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB, which was a wonderland of old-fashioned movie-making, fantasy and history – where the strangest things could be heard, such as, “Let’s get the llamas back to ones,” or “Bring in the triceratops head,” and even, “One of the Neanderthal’s ears is coming off!”
While the first two films were set in the U.S., the new adventure takes the team to the United Kingdom. “It’s interesting to finally venture outside the United States,” says Levy. “It connects us with the world beyond the U.S, it allows us to explore some amusing aspects of culture clash, and there’s also this bigger idea, which is that the secret is out. The movie is called SECRET OF THE TOMB, and, on the one hand, that refers to how do we fix this tablet? What is the secret held in the tomb of Ahkmenrah that can save the tablet and the museum? The other secret, of course, is, this museum comes to life every night and, in this movie more than the other two, the creatures and the magic spill outside the doors of the museum and out into the world at large.”
This movie is great for the entire family!