Monday Morning Quarterback

By BOP Staff

July 30, 2007

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You wouldn't believe the celebrities who did cameos! Dustin Hoffman, Michael Jackson. Of course, they didn't use their real names, but you could tell it was them.

Kim Hollis: The Simpsons Movie shocked the entire industry by earning an estimated $71.9 million this weekend, making it the largest traditional animated opening of all-time. To what do you attribute this incredible turn of events

Reagen Sulewski: As a fan, obviously I'm thrilled ("sequel?"). I always knew a Simpsons film would be big, but it was always going to be a matter of just how big. It's become the culture for a lot of people, and I think this film was a kind of homecoming for a lot of people that don't watch the show religiously anymore. Think about this - the show averaged 8.6 million viewers an episode this season. If all of them went to the movie, with an average ticket price of about $7, that would "only" be $60 million.

David Mumpower: I have always felt there was an Occam's Razor to the potential of this movie that was being widely ignored. The Simpsons Movie has been receiving free advertising for 18 years now. The ubiquity of this franchise is such that if you travel to any part of the world and say the word, "D'oh!", people will know what you mean. It is its own universal translator. The Simpsons is in the discussion with Harry Potter, Superman, Spider-Man, Mickey Mouse and Star Wars for most recognizable franchise branding in the world. I have had the discussion about how to rank them in other forums before, but I do believe it is one worth re-addressing later this week on our next edition of Shop Talk.

Of course, even though The Simpsons Movie did not need much help in building awareness, the marketing campaign is one of the best I have ever seen. Turning the 7/11s into Kwik-E-Marts is a masterstroke, quite possibly the finest advertising tie-in cinema has produced to date.

Shane Jenkins: I think for a lot of people, the opportunity to watch The Simpsons with a crowd of like-minded fans was a big draw. I attended the Thursday midnight screening, and I can tell you - those people were out to have a good time, and their enthusiasm was definitely contagious. The trailers were well-crafted, showing just enough of the goods to whet your appetite, but not enough to make it seem like you had seen the entire movie. The fact that the movie is actually good is just icing on the cake.

Joel Corcoran: I have to admit that I completely underestimated how well The Simpsons Movie would do this weekend. I'm a fan, but I expected the fan base to treat this movie with a bit of wariness, if not skepticism. One of the best attributes of The Simpsons (TV show) is how well the comic pacing fits the standard half-hour TV time-slot, and I had significant doubts that the team behind this movie would be able to sustain the same excellence over the span of a movie-length treatment. Obviously I was wrong. I think the "homecoming" aspect was in important part of why people flocked to the theaters to see The Simpsons this week, but I fully agree with David. The marketing behind this film was absolutely brilliant, particularly the Quik-E-Mart conversions at 7/11s across the country and the Burger King commercial tie-ins. These efforts, and others, brought great excitement and a fresh twist to the most ubiquitous piece of modern pop culture currently in existence.


James Wood: Yeah, 18 seasons and countless reruns are an awful lot of touchpoints to reach potential ticket buyers.

David Mumpower: There is a Simpsons episode entitled New Kids on the Blecch wherein the navy uses "sub-liminal, liminal, and super-liminal" advertising to get people to enlist. The Simpsons Movie falls in the category of super-liminal advertising.

Kim Hollis: I was always a touch surprised that people were so conservative on The Simpsons Movie's potential. The trailer got huge laughs every time I saw it and even if it's not a ratings juggernaut, it's been consistent and is a show that most people have probably seen and enjoyed at some point in the last 17 years. Giving it the big screen touch just felt...special, somehow.

David Mumpower: Also, the Spider-Pig gag that became the focus of the final phase of the marketing campaign is inexplicably hysterical. Like the best Looney Tunes gags, I can't explain exactly why it's so funny, but it definitely is.

Jim Van Nest: I'll preface this by saying, "I'm not a Simpsons fan and haven't been since I left college in 1991". I'm blown away by this figure. I can't believe that many people spent all that money to go see something they could stay at home and watch for free. That being said, Shane nailed it when he said that part of the draw was seeing it with other fans. I think that's dead on. I watched the Simpsons in the common room of a frat-house for the first couple seasons. It was standing room only. When I left school, I left the show behind with it. I think the show plays much better with a group and that probably was the one thing I had forgotten when trying to gauge how it would open.

I should add that I should have known better when my eight- and nine-year-olds (who've never seen a full episode of the show, as far as I know) were running around singing about Spider-Pig for the last two weeks.

Dan Krovich: It's also worth pointing out that The Simpsons made $96 million overseas, so it's a worldwide hit.

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