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The New York Kids’-Film Reboot: A Survey

Somewhere along the way, kiddie-film directors decided that the way to make a sequel was to head for the big city.

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The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
New York–ification:
The Muppets’ musical transfers to Broadway. (A proto–Avenue Q?)
City cliché: Miss Piggy’s purse is snatched in Central Park.

Short Circuit 2 (1988)
New York–ification:
Protagonist takes robotics company to New York to sell cute robots on the street.
City cliché: New immigrant needs Johnny Five to help study for his citizenship test.


Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
New York–ification:
Hedonistic, ravenous monsters maraud over the city. They fit right in.
City cliché: Murderous gremlins perform Busby Berkeley–style “New York, New York.”

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
New York–ification:
First Eloise, now Kevin: The Plaza is seriously lax about kids who check in sans parents.
City cliché: A wishing scene by the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.


Super Mario Bros. (1993)
New York–ification:
John Leguizamo and Bob Hoskins play Brooklyn plumbers named Mario and Luigi.
City cliché: Mobsters from the Scapelli Construction Company.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)
New York–ification:
Wizard (Nicolas Cage!) trains NYU physics ace/sorcerer. Stone falcons on the Empire State Building come to life, too.
City cliché: NYU kid has dreams of grandeur.


Smurfs 3-D (2011)
New York–ification:
Smurfs arrive in the Manhattan mailbox of Neil Patrick Harris; neighbors are totally blasé.
City cliché: The Empire State Building glows blue; they can’t resist a Blue Man Group joke.


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