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'Being Elmo' gets PG rating, expands at the box office

December 2, 2011 |  2:45 pm

If seeing "The Muppets" inspired any moviegoers to wonder about the people behind the puppets, the documentary "Being Elmo" supplies an answer.

The film about Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who created "Sesame Street's" Elmo, was just rated PG by the Motion Picture Assn. of America, enabling it to expand this weekend from a handful of urban arthouses to movie chains in more far-flung locations.

"Being Elmo" was released unrated in a handful of theaters this fall, where it has so far collected less than $200,000. This weekend it expands to 29 theaters, and niche distributor Submarine Deluxe says it plans to grow the release to 100 locations by March. (For a list of theaters showing "Being Elmo," visit  www.BeingElmo.com.)

Most of Elmo's devoted fans still have all their baby teeth, but the documentary is pitched at a decidedly more grown-up audience -- "Being Elmo" traces Clash's story from his childhood in Baltimore staging puppet shows at his mother's nursery school through an apprenticeship with Jim Henson to his current status as the Tom Cruise of puppeteers.

"I was a little concerned about children seeing it because it’s so behind the scenes, but I find that it’s a wonderful education for them to find somebody creating something and doing something that they love," Clash said in an interview in October.

For more about Clash - -and the surprisingly resilient art form of puppeteering - -see this recent story in our Calendar section:  'Being Elmo,' 'The Muppets' show puppets' real touch.




'Being Elmo,' 'The Muppets' show puppets' real touch

'The Muppets': Movie critics welcome the return of felt friends

'The Muppets': Can the felt-y and wide-eyed find hipness?


--Rebecca Keegan


Photo: Kevin Clash in "Being Elmo." Credit: Submarine Deluxe

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