Unless you have small children or a secret obsession with low-rent Muppets on steroids, you probably are not familiar with the Oogieloves. They are the creatures in the picture above and the stars of the recently released movie “The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure,” a film that achieved something really impressive over the Labor Day weekend: It recorded the weakest debut opening of all time for a wide release
According to Box Office Mojo, the movie — produced by Ken Viselman, who helped popularize the Teletubbies and therefore can claim responsibility for a flood of ’90s-era Tinky Winky jokes — made $445,000 from Friday through Sunday while showing on more than 2,000 screens. That “outperforms” the previous worst wide opening record holder, “Delgo,” an animated movie that came out in 2008 and featured humanoid beings who, for the record, bear a vague, cartoony resemblance to the Oogieloves. So clearly the disinterest in both of these family films is indicative of prejudice against . . . whatever the heck the Oogieloves and the things in “Delgo” are supposed to be.
“The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure” — which, by the way, is a movie about a quest to find balloons to give to a pillow, and that honestly is the plot summary — cost an estimated $20 million to make, almost three times as much as Steven Soderbergh spent on the production budget for “Magic Mike.” But there is no price tag on the mark of shame this film has now brought to the resumes of the non-’roided-up-puppets who appear in it, including Toni Braxton, Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd, Cloris Leachman and Jaime Pressley, who apparently is attempting to play Sofia Vergara in the film.
None of this is a joke. Watch the trailer if you do not believe me.
Entertainment Weekly surveyed its readers and asked which of the aforementioned stars should be most embarrassed by their association with the film. So far, Cary Elwes is in the lead, with Lloyd and Schluffy (that’s the aforementioned pillow, who definitely seems to be a distant cousin of Star from Sprout’s “The Good Night Show”) nearly tied for second. It’s understandable that Elwes is winning this contest right now. I mean, we all think of him like this:
But in the “Oogieloves,” he does this:
Frankly, like EW’s Grady Smith, the massive floppage of “The Oogieloves” has only made me feel more compelled to see it. It’s rare that a movie of this caliber comes along and, if my dodgy math is correct, winds up owing the American public money because the coveted 4-year-old demographic has steadfastly refused to see it. (Stick it to the man, preschoolers!)
If you’d like me to take one for the team by seeing “The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure” and then blogging about it, please post a comment and let me know. It might be the only way we ever get to find out whether that pillow wound up with a halfway decent birthday party.