The freshening of both former Henson enterprises comes at a time when the traditional divide separating youth entertainment from adult entertainment is shrinking thanks to the troubled economy, which is allowing young adults to hold on to their adolescence longer than their parents did, and the proliferation of home technology, such as sophisticated video-gaming consoles and mobile devices, that not only delivers more around-the-clock entertainment but requires users, even young children, to be both savvy programmers and consumers.
Todd Lieberman, who coproduced the new film, says the intention all along was to reach a general audience – "We're not making entertainment specifically for children," he says – because the characters are so rich and have the ability to work on different levels.
"The Muppets are a couple of generations old in a good way," he says. "When I was a child, I appreciated them as a child, and now that I'm significantly older, I appreciate them in a completely different way, and there are hopefully lots and lots of people like me."
The Disney 'hipster' effect