It's the first time the Smithsonian name has appeared in a title produced for theatrical distribution -- not just any movie, of course, but the sequel to "Night at the Museum," which made $250 million when it came out two years ago. The studio approached the Smithsonian about setting the film in D.C., and officials spent six months reading scripts until approving the final version last month. Stars Ben Stiller and Amy Adams will be shooting at the National Air and Space Museum this week.
"The reason we did this project is because of what happened in New York -- attendance increased so much and people got really turned on by museums, especially kids," said Air and Space spokeswoman Claire Brown. The original film was set at N.Y.C.'s American Museum of Natural History. Smithsonian officials expect another monster hit that will bring a slew of visitors (and bucks) to Washington.
The studio is also paying $200,000 in location fees to film in and outside the museum for four days, plus an additional $50,000 per day if they fall behind. More checks may come when the movie is released next year: $250,000 if box office sales hit $150 million, another $125,000 at $200 million and $250 million. (Careful of those Hollywood accountants!) Plus 7.5 percent of net receipts from movie-related merchandise with the institution's name.
And yes -- Air and Space is considering a new brochure distinguishing fact from movie-fiction. Seems many of the youngest visitors in New York were surprised to discover that exhibits don't really come to life at night.