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Night at the Museum
Night at the Museum poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shawn Levy
Produced by
Screenplay by
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Guillermo Navarro
Editing by Don Zimmerman
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) December 17, 2006 (2006-12-17) (New York City)
December 22, 2006 (2006-12-22) (United States)
Running time 104 minutes
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget $110 million
Money made $574.5 million

Night at the Museum is a 2006 fantasy comedy film directed by Shawn Levy and written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. It is based on the 1993 children's book of the same name by Croatian illustrator Milan Trenc. The film had an ensemble cast of Ben Stiller in the lead role, Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, and Robin Williams. It tells the story of a divorced father who applies for a job as a night watchman at New York City's American Museum of Natural History and subsequently discovers that the exhibits, animated by a magical Egyptian artifact, come to life at night. 20th Century Fox released the film on December 22, 2006, and it grossed $574.5 million worldwide, becoming the 5th highest-grossing film of 2006, but received mixed reviews from critics.

Two sequels were released: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian in 2009, and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb in 2014. An animated sequel, Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again, is also scheduled to be released in 2022 for the streaming service Disney+.


In Brooklyn, Larry Daley's unstable work history makes his ex-wife, Erica, consider him a bad example to their ten-year-old son, Nick. Larry worries that Nick admires Erica's boyfriend Don more than him. To improve his financial stability, Larry applies for a job as night security guard at the Museum of Natural History. Retiring guard Cecil Fredericks hires Larry, despite his unpromising résumé. The museum, facing declining attendance and revenue, is replacing Cecil and his two colleagues, Gus and Reginald, with only one guard. Cecil gives Larry an instruction manual on museum security and warns him not to let anything "in... or out".

On his first night, Larry discovers that after sunset, the exhibits come to life, including a playful Tyrannosaurus skeleton nicknamed "Rexy"; a mischievous stuffed capuchin monkey named Dexter; various African animals; rival miniature civilizations portraying the Old West, Ancient Rome, and Ancient Maya; an Easter Island Moai obsessed with chewing gum; wax models of various historical figures, including the violent Attila the Hun; an army of American Civil War soldiers, and four pyromaniacal Neanderthals. There is also Sacagawea, who, unlike the other exhibits, is in a glassed-enclosed diorama. A mounted Teddy Roosevelt rescues Larry from miniature leaders Jedediah and Octavius, who are attacking him. Teddy explains that ever since an ancient Egyptian artifact — the Golden Tablet of Pharaoh Ahkmenrah — was brought to the museum in 1952, the exhibits have come to life each night. If any exhibit figure is outside the museum at sunrise, they turn to dust. As Teddy helps Larry restore order, Larry learns that Teddy loves Sacagawea but is too shy to speak to her through the glass.

The next morning, Cecil, Reginald, and Gus return to check on Larry, but Larry says he is quitting. When Nick and Don stop by the museum to congratulate Larry on his new job, Larry decides to stay for his son's sake. To help him with the job, Cecil advises reading up on history.

That night, Larry better controls the exhibits, but the four Neanderthals set their display on fire while Dexter steals Larry's keys. As Larry extinguishes the fire, Dexter unlocks a window. One of the Neanderthals sees a trash bin fire on the street below and leaps out the window. Larry, frustrated with everything going awry, once again decides to quit. As he walks out, the Christopher Columbus statue gestures to where the Neanderthal escaped. Larry runs outside just as the rising sun disintegrates the Neanderthal into dust. Later that morning, museum director Dr. McPhee fires Larry over the damaged Neanderthal exhibit, though Larry convinces him to reconsider. Larry meets Rebecca Huntman, an attractive museum guide and historian. When he offers to introduce her to Sacagawea to help with her doctoral research, Rebecca believes Larry is mocking her.

One night, Larry brings Nick to the museum to show him the exhibits, but nothing comes to life. They discover Cecil, Gus, and Reginald stealing the tablet and other valuable artifacts. They have disabled the tablet to prevent the exhibits from interfering. Like the exhibits, the guards receive enhanced vitality from the tablet and intend to frame Larry for the thefts. Larry has Nick reactivate the tablet, then tells him to run and hide. After a chase, Cecil locks up Nick and Larry in the Egyptian room and steals back the tablet. Larry releases Ahkmenrah's mummy from his sarcophagus. The pharaoh then helps Larry and Nick escape. When the three find the other exhibits fighting each other, Larry convinces them to unite to catch the guards and recover the tablet.

The Civil War soldiers, Neanderthals, and Christopher Columbus capture Gus and Reginald. Cecil escapes in a stagecoach and is about to run over Sacagawea. Teddy pushes her aside but he is run over and sliced in half. Larry, Nick, Ahkmenrah, Jed, Octavius, Rexy, and Attila pursue Cecil to Central Park, where they stop him and regain the tablet. Sacagawea repairs Teddy with warm wax. Rebecca arrives and sees the exhibits returning to the museum before sunrise and realizes the truth. The next day, McPhee fires Larry after news reports about strange events happening around the museum — such as cave paintings in the museum's subway station, dinosaur tracks in Central Park, and cavemen sightings. However, when the publicity significantly increases the museum's attendance, McPhee rehires Larry. That night, Larry, Nick, and the exhibits celebrate.

During the end credits, Cecil, Gus and Reginald are seen working as the museum janitors as punishment for their crimes.



  • Ben Stiller as Lawrence "Larry" Daley, a night-shift security guard at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Nick's father, and Erica's former husband.
  • Carla Gugino as Rebecca Hutman, a museum docent.
  • Dick Van Dyke as Cecil Fredericks, a veteran security guard.
  • Mickey Rooney as Gus, a veteran security guard, who takes an instant dislike to Larry.
  • Bill Cobbs as Reginald, a veteran security guard.
  • Jake Cherry as Nicholas "Nick" Daley, Larry's and Erica's son.
  • Ricky Gervais as Dr. McPhee, the curator of the Museum of Natural History and Larry's boss.
  • Kim Raver as Erica Daley, Larry's former wife and Nick's mother.
  • Charlie Murphy as the taxi-driver.
  • Paul Rudd as Don, Erica's fiancé.
  • Anne Meara as Debbie.



The building featured in the film, which was constructed on a sound stage in Burnaby, British Columbia, is based on the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, external shots of which were used in the movie.

Trainers spent several weeks training Crystal, who plays the troublemaking monkey Dexter, to slap and bite Stiller in the film.

Director Shawn Levy credited Ben Stiller for the ensemble cast: "When actors hear that Ben Stiller is in a movie they want to work with him. It['s] a high-water mark and it absolutely draws actors in and I'm convinced that's a big part of why we got this cast."


Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
Saturn Awards Best Fantasy Film N/A Nominated
ASCAP Award Top Box Office Films Alan Silvestri Won
Artios Best Feature Film Casting - Comedy Ilene Starger
Coreen Mayrs (Vancouver casting)
Heike Brandstatter (Vancouver casting)
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie N/A Nominated
MTV Movie Award Best Comedic Performance Ben Stiller Nominated
National Movie Award Best Comedy N/A Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Comedy and Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Ben Stiller Nominated
Taurus Award Hardest Hit Greg Fitzpatrick Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Actor Age Ten or Younger Jake Cherry Nominated


Night at the Museum was followed by a sequel titled Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, which was released on May 22, 2009 in North America. A third film, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, was released on December 19, 2014 in North America.

In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter stated that the Alibaba Pictures Group intended to remake the film. On August 6, 2019, following the purchase of 21st Century Fox and its assets by The Walt Disney Company, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that a fully animated sequel of Night at the Museum is in development. The project will be released as a Disney+ exclusive film, as a co-production between Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and 20th Century Studios.

In October 2020, the movie was officially titled Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again, with production beginning on November 2, 2020, and Shawn Levy serving as executive producer. While the majority of the original cast were initially not expected to return.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Night at the Museum para niños

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