Long before CGI-centric films ruled the box office, there were The Muppets. On June 22, 1979, the Muppets—who had found success (and Emmy acclaim) with The Muppet Show in the mid-1970s—made their feature film debut in The Muppet Movie, a musical road trip film directed by James Frawley and produced by Jim Henson.
The movie opens with Kermit performing the classic, Oscar-nominated song “Rainbow Connection” in a swamp, and soon the lyrics—"Someday we’ll find it / The Rainbow Connection / The lovers, the dreamers and me”—became an earworm for audiences of all ages. During a cross-country road trip to Hollywood, the movie shows how Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rowlf the Dog, Fozzie Bear, Camilla the Chicken, Dr. Teeth, Scooter, Beaker, and Animal met, and even features a cameo from Orson Welles.
The grand musical finale involved an ambitious 250 puppets. Henson hired 150 extras to pull off the feat, including Tim Burton and John Landis (who handled Grover as a favor to Frank Oz, who was busy with Miss Piggy). The movie, which cost $8 million to make, grossed $76,657,000 domestically and enabled Henson to make more Muppet films, including The Great Muppet Caper (1981), The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), and Muppets from Space (1999).
To celebrate The Muppet Movie's 40th anniversary, Fathom Events will re-release the film into 700 theaters on Tuesday, July 30 with two showings. To find out if there’s a screening in your area, you can head to the movie's page on the Fathom Events website and type in your zip code. Wocka wocka!