The Simpsons Movie

The Simpsons Movie is a 2007 American animated adventure comedy film based on the Fox television series The Simpsons. The film was directed by David Silverman, and stars the regular television cast of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Tress MacNeille, Pamela Hayden and Russi Taylor (in her last feature film role before her death in 2019), as well as Albert Brooks. The film follows Homer Simpson, whose irresponsibility gets the best of him when he pollutes the lake in Springfield after the town has cleaned it up, causing the Environmental Protection Agency to imprison the town under a giant dome. After he and his family narrowly manage to escape, they ultimately abandon Homer for his selfishness, he works to redeem his folly by stopping Russ Cargill, the head of the EPA, who intends to destroy Springfield.

Although previous attempts to create a Simpsons film had been made, they failed due to the lack of a script of appropriate length and production crew members. Eventually in 2001, producers James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, Richard Sakai and Mike Scully began development of the film, and a writing team consisting of Brooks, Groening, Jean, Scully, Ian Maxtone-Graham, George Meyer, David Mirkin, Mike Reiss, Matt Selman, John Swartzwelder and Jon Vitti was assembled. They conceived numerous plot ideas, with Groening's being the one developed into a film. The script was re-written over a hundred times, and this rewriting continued after the animation had begun in 2006. Consequently, hours of finished material was cut from the final release, including cameo roles from Erin Brockovich, Minnie Driver, Isla Fisher, Kelsey Grammer and Edward Norton; Tom Hanks and the members of Green Day appeared in the final cut as their animated selves, while Brooks, a frequent guest performer on the series, provided the voice of Cargill.

Tie-in promotions were made with several companies to promote the film's release, including Burger King and 7-Eleven, the latter of which transformed selected stores into Kwik-E-Marts. The film premiered in Springfield, Vermont on July 21, 2007, and was released six days later by 20th Century Fox across the United States. The Simpsons Movie was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $527 million worldwide, making it the eighth highest-grossing film of 2007, the second highest-grossing traditionally animated film (behind the original version of The Lion King) and the highest-ever grossing film based on an animated television series.

In August 2018, it was reported that a sequel is in development.[5]

The Simpsons Movie
Film poster showing Homer Simpson eating a donut.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Silverman
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onThe Simpsons
by Matt Groening
Starring
Music byHans Zimmer
Edited byJohn Carnochan
Production
companies
Distributed by20th Century Fox[1]
Release date
  • July 21, 2007 (Springfield)
  • July 27, 2007 (United States)
Running time
87 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$75 million[4]
Box office$527.1 million[4]

Plot

While performing on Lake Springfield, the band Green Day perishes when the lake's pollution dissolves their barge. At their memorial, Grampa prophesies the destruction of the town, but only Marge takes this seriously. Later that day, Homer dares Bart to skateboard naked to Krusty Burger, but is caught by the police, who handcuff him to a nearby lamppost. Bart considers their neighbor Ned Flanders a better father after Homer refuses to take responsibility for the incident, while Lisa and her new friend named Colin convince the entire town to clean their lake.

Meanwhile, Homer rescues a pig from Krusty Burger. He stores its feces in a large silo, until Marge tells him to safely dispose of the waste. Homer initially intends to take his silo to the waste management plant, but after Lenny calls to tell him that Lard Lad Donuts is giving away free donuts, Homer dumps the silo straight into the lake, severely polluting it. Moments later, a squirrel jumps into the lake and is mutated by the pollution. Flanders and Bart, who have bonded, discover the creature before the EPA captures it. Russ Cargill, head of the EPA, presents five "unthinkable" options to U.S. President Arnold Schwarzenegger to keep the town's pollution contained. The slow-witted president picks an option without reading it, and Springfield is encased in a gigantic glass dome. Later that night, the police discover Homer's silo in the lake and accuse Homer of being responsible for the dome. The townspeople form an angry mob and advance on the Simpsons' home but they escape through a sinkhole, which then destroys their house and car. With the EPA on their trail, the Simpsons flee to a motel. Homer wins a truck at a carnival by riding a motorcycle inside a spherical steel cage and drives the family to Alaska.

After three months of many escape attempts, Springfield's residents finally make a small crack in the dome. Pointing out the damage, Cargill manipulates Schwarzenegger into ordering the town's destruction. In Alaska, the Simpsons see an advertisement for a new Grand Canyon on the site of Springfield. Realizing that the town is in danger, Marge and the children want to return to save it, but Homer refuses, so they leave him behind. Later, Homer receives a video recording message left by Marge that she taped over their wedding video. Having a change of heart, he goes searching for his family, but is stranded on a slab of ice and floats away. He has an epiphany and decides to save Springfield in order to save himself. Meanwhile, Marge and the children are captured by the EPA.

As Homer finally arrives, a helicopter lowers a "small but powerful bomb" down a rope through a hole in the dome. While Homer climbs the dome from the outside using superglue on his hands, the townspeople inside attempt to climb the rope to escape through the still-opened hole. However, Homer slides down the rope and accidentally knocks them off along with the bomb. After reuniting and reconciling with Bart, Homer rides a motorcycle up the dome interior, similar to the earlier carnival attraction. Bart, riding with him, manages to hurl the bomb through the hole which detonates seconds later, shattering the dome into shards and saving the town. Homer and Bart are confronted by Cargill, who intends to kill Homer for foiling his plan, but Maggie knocks him out with a large boulder.

As Cargill is fired from his job and sent to prison for his actions, the townspeople finally praise Homer as a hero and forgive him. He rides into the sunset with Marge and Maggie, whereupon the townspeople restore Springfield to normal. As a symbol of their gratitude, the townspeople help the Simpsons rebuild their house that was destroyed by the sinkhole.

Cast

Voice actor Credited roles Uncredited roles (in order of appearance)
Dan Castellaneta Homer Simpson, Abe Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Groundskeeper Willie, Mayor Quimby, Sideshow Mel, Mr. Teeny, EPA Official, Itchy, Barney Gumble Stage Manager, Blue Haired Lawyer, Multi-Eyed Squirrel, Hans Moleman, Panicky Man, Kissing Cop, Bear, Boy on Phone, NSA Worker, Officer, Rich Texan, Santa's Little Helper, Squeaky-Voiced Teen
Julie Kavner Marge Simpson, Selma Bouvier, Patty Bouvier
Nancy Cartwright Bart Simpson, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, Nelson Muntz Maggie Simpson, TV Daughter, Woman on Phone
Yeardley Smith Lisa Simpson
Hank Azaria Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum, Cletus Spuckler, Professor Frink, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, Lou, Comic Book Guy, Captain McCallister, Bumblebee Man, Dr. Nick Carl, Male EPA Worker, Dome Depot Announcer, Kissing Cop, Carnival Barker, Gas Station Clerk, Drederick Tatum, EPA Passenger, Robot, Wiseguy
Harry Shearer Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, Lenny, President Arnold Schwarzenegger, Seymour Skinner, Kent Brockman, Dr. Hibbert, Otto Mann Scratchy, Skull, Toll Booth Operator, Guard
Pamela Hayden Milhouse Van Houten, Rod Flanders, Jimbo Jones
Tress MacNeille Medicine Woman, Agnes Skinner, Crazy Cat Lady, Colin, Cookie Kwan Sweet Old Lady, Mrs. Muntz, Plopper, Female EPA Worker, Lindsey Neagle, GPS Voice, TV Son, Girl on Phone
Albert Brooks (as "A. Brooks") Russ Cargill
Karl Wiedergott EPA Officer, Man
Marcia Wallace Edna Krabappel (scenes deleted)
Russi Taylor Martin Prince
Maggie Roswell Helen Lovejoy Miss Hoover
Phil Rosenthal TV Dad
Billie Joe Armstrong Green Day (Themselves)
Frank Edwin Wright III
Michael Pritchard
Joe Mantegna Fat Tony
Tom Hanks Himself

Production

Development

The production staff had considered a film adaptation of The Simpsons since early in the series.[6] The show's creator, Matt Groening, felt a feature-length film would allow them to increase the show's scale and animate sequences too complex for a TV series.[7] He intended the film to be made after the show ended, "but that [...] was undone by good ratings".[8] There were attempts to adapt the fourth season episode "Kamp Krusty" into a film, but difficulties were encountered in expanding the episode to feature-length.[9] For a long time the project was held up. There was difficulty finding a story that was sufficient for a film, and the crew did not have enough time to complete such a project, as they already worked full-time on the show.[10] Groening also expressed a wish to make Simpstasia, a parody of Fantasia; it was never produced, partly because it would have been too difficult to write a feature-length script.[11] Before his death, Phil Hartman had said he had wished to make a live-action Troy McClure film, and several of the show's staff had expressed a desire to help create it, even Josh Weinstein proposed to use the plot of the 1996 episode "A Fish Called Selma" for the film, before the cancellation of the project.[12][13]

"If every episode of The Simpsons is a celebration, which we try to make it, then the movie is like a big celebration. It's a way of honoring the animators, allowing them to really strut their stuff and really go as far as they can with the art of the handwritten gesture. It's a way of honoring the writers, because we were able to get the best all-star writers of The Simpsons and write our hearts out, and it's a way of honoring all the great actors."
— Matt Groening[7]

The voice cast was signed on to do the film in 2001,[14] and work then began on the script.[15] The producers were initially worried that creating a film would have a negative effect on the series, as they did not have enough crew to focus their attention on both projects. As the series progressed, additional writers and animators were hired so that both the show and the film could be produced at the same time.[16] Groening and James L. Brooks invited back Mike Scully and Al Jean (who continued to work as showrunner on the television series) to produce the film with them.[17] They then signed David Silverman (who, in anticipation of the project, had quit his job at Pixar) to direct the film.[17] The "strongest possible" writing team was assembled, with many of the writers from the show's early seasons being chosen.[16] David Mirkin, Mike Reiss, George Meyer, John Swartzwelder, and Jon Vitti were selected. Ian Maxtone-Graham and Matt Selman joined later, and Brooks, Groening, Scully, and Jean also wrote parts of the script.[16] Sam Simon did not return having left the show over creative differences in 1993. Former writer Conan O'Brien expressed interest in working with the Simpsons staff again, although he later joked that "I worry that the Simpsons-writing portion of my brain has been destroyed after 14 years of talking to Lindsay Lohan and that guy from One Tree Hill, so maybe it's all for the best."[18] The same went for director Brad Bird who said he had "entertained fantasies of asking if [he] could work on the movie", but did not have enough time due to work on Ratatouille.[14] The producers arranged a deal with Fox that would allow them to abandon production of the film at any point if they felt the script was unsatisfactory.[19]

Work continued on the screenplay from 2003 onwards,[19] taking place in the small bungalow where Groening first pitched The Simpsons in 1987.[20] The writers spent six months discussing a plot,[21] and each of them offered sketchy ideas.[20] Jean suggested the family rescue manatees, which became the 2005 episode "The Bonfire of the Manatees", and there was also a notion similar to that of The Truman Show where the characters discovered their lives were a TV show. Groening rejected this, as he felt that the Simpsons should "never become aware of themselves as celebrities", but the idea was later used in the video game The Simpsons Game.[14] Groening read about a town that had to get rid of pig feces in their water supply, which inspired the plot of the film.[17] The decision for Flanders to have an important role also came early on, as Jean wished to see Bart wonder what his life would be like if Flanders were his father.[22] Hank Scorpio, a character from the 1996 episode "You Only Move Twice", was originally meant to return as the main antagonist, but the staff dropped the idea and created Russ Cargill instead.[23] Having eventually decided on the basic outline of the plot for the film, the writers then separated it into seven sections. Jean, Scully, Reiss, Swartzwelder, Vitti, Mirkin, and Meyer wrote 25 pages each, and the group met one month later to merge the seven sections into one "very rough draft".[16] The film's script was written in the same way as the television series: the writers sitting around a table, pitching ideas, and trying to make each other laugh.[19] The script went through over 100 revisions,[21] and at one point the film was a musical. However, the songs were continually being shortened and the idea was dropped.[24] Groening described his desire to also make the film dramatically stronger than a TV episode, saying that he wanted to "give you something that you haven't seen before".[25]

Animation

David Silverman in 2007-cropped
Director David Silverman looked at some of the television episodes he had directed for inspiration.

Animation for the film began in January 2006,[17] with the Itchy & Scratchy short being the first scene to be storyboarded.[26] Groening rejected making either a live-action or a CGI film,[20] calling the film's animation "deliberately imperfect" and "a tribute to the art of hand-drawn animation".[27] The film was produced in a widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio, to distinguish it from the look of the television series,[16][26] and colored with the largest palette the animators ever had available to them.[7] A lot of the animation was produced using Wacom Cintiq tablets, which allowed images to be drawn directly onto a computer monitor to facilitate production.[26] Animation production work was divided among four studios around the world: Film Roman in Burbank, California, Rough Draft Studios in Glendale, California, and AKOM and Rough Draft's division in Seoul, South Korea. As with the television series, the storyboarding, characters, background layout, and animatic parts of production, were done in America. The overseas studios completed the inbetweening, digital ink and paint, and rendered the animation to tape before being shipped back to the United States.[28]

Director David Silverman said that unlike the TV series where "you [have] to pick and choose", the film gave them the opportunity to "lavish that attention [on] every single scene". The characters have shadows, unlike in the show.[19] Silverman and the animators looked to films such as The Incredibles, The Triplets of Belleville, and Bad Day at Black Rock for inspiration, as they were "a great education in staging because of how the characters are placed".[19] They also looked for ideas for a dream sequence, in Disney films such as Dumbo and the Pluto cartoon Pluto's Judgment Day,[20] and for crowd scenes in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.[22] Silverman looked at some of the Simpsons episodes he had directed, primarily his two favorites, "Homie the Clown" and "Three Men and a Comic Book".[29] Mike B. Anderson, Lauren MacMullan, Rich Moore, and Steven Dean Moore each directed the animation for around a quarter of the film under Silverman's supervision, with numerous other animators working on scenes.[28]

Casting

For inspiration for the crowd scenes in the film, the production staff referenced a poster featuring more than 320 Simpsons characters.[30] Groening said they tried to include every single character in the film, with 98 having speaking parts,[17] and most members of the crowds being previously established characters instead of generic people.[26] The series' regular voice actors: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer, as well as semi-regular performers Tress MacNeille, Pamela Hayden, Marcia Wallace, Maggie Roswell, Russi Taylor, and Karl Wiedergott, reprised their roles.[8] Joe Mantegna returned as Fat Tony,[31] while Albert Brooks, who supplied many guest voices in episodes, was hired as Russ Cargill,[16] after he told the staff that he wanted to be part of the film.[22] For "about a week", he was to reprise the role of Hank Scorpio, but when the character was omitted from the film, he ended up voicing Cargill.[28]

Simpsons angry mob
The shot of an angry mob coming for Homer features cameos from more than 320 characters.[21]

The cast did the first of three table readings in May 2005,[8][32] and began recording every week from June 2006 until the end of production.[33] James L. Brooks directed them for the first time since the television show's early seasons. Castellaneta found the recording sessions "more intense" than recording the television series, and "more emotionally dramatic".[34] Some scenes, such as Marge's video message to Homer, were recorded over one hundred times, leaving the voice cast exhausted.[22]

The writers had written the opening concert scene without a specific band in mind. Green Day were cast in that role having requested to guest star in the show. Tom Hanks also appears as himself in the film and accepted the offer after just one phone call.[22] Everybody Loves Raymond creator Philip Rosenthal provides the voice of the father in the "new Grand Canyon" commercial with Hanks.[26] Due to time restraints, several guests who had recorded parts were cut from the film. Minnie Driver recorded the part of a patronizing grievance counselor in a scene that ended up being cut.[35] Edward Norton recorded the part of the man who gets crushed as the dome is implemented, performing a Woody Allen impression. The staff felt the voice was too distracting, so Castellaneta re-recorded Norton's dialogue with a different voice.[26] Isla Fisher and Erin Brockovich also recorded cameos, but their scenes were cut.[17][36] Kelsey Grammer recorded lines for Sideshow Bob, who was to appear at several different points,[26][28] but these scenes were also cut.[22] Johnny Knoxville was also touted as a possible guest star.[22]

Although he does not provide the voice, Arnold Schwarzenegger is President of the United States rather than then-President George W. Bush because, according to Groening, "in two years ... the film [would be] out of date".[21] Brooks was nervous about the idea, noting that "[Schwarzenegger's] opinion polls were way down", and has said that they "were [hoping] he'd make a political comeback".[7] The animators began by drawing an accurate caricature of Schwarzenegger,[22] but one of the staff instead suggested an altered version of recurring character Rainier Wolfcastle as President.[29] This idea was developed, with the design of Wolfcastle, himself also a caricature of Schwarzenegger, being given more wrinkles under his eyes and a different hairstyle.[22]

Editing

Every aspect of the film was constantly analyzed, with storylines, jokes, and characters regularly being rewritten.[26] Although most animated films do not make extensive changes to the film during active production due to budget restrictions,[14] The Simpsons Movie crew continued to edit their film into 2007, with some edits taking place as late as May, two months before the film was released.[26] James L. Brooks noted, "70 percent of the things in [one of the trailers]—based on where we were eight weeks ago—are no longer in the movie."[30] Groening said that enough material for two more movies was cut.[20] Various new characters were created, and then cut because they did not contribute enough.[14] Originally Marge was the character who had the prophetic vision in church. The writers however considered this to be too dark and it was changed to Grampa.[26] The role of Lisa's love interest Colin was frequently revised. He was previously named Dexter and Adrien, and his appearance was completely altered.[22] One idea was to have Milhouse act as Lisa's love interest, but the writers realized "the audience was not as familiar with [his] long-standing crush on [Lisa] as [they had] thought".[26] A car chase in which Homer throws flaming mummies out of a truck at the EPA was replaced with "more emotional and realistic" scenes at the motel and carnival that allowed for a change of pace.[26]

Further changes were made after the March 2007 preview screenings of the film in Portland, Oregon and Phoenix, Arizona.[26] This included the deletion of Kang and Kodos heavily criticizing the film during the end credits.[17][37] A lot of people at the screenings found the original film too coarse, and some of Homer's behavior too unkind, so several scenes were toned down to make him appear nicer.[26] Russ Cargill was redesigned several times, originally appearing as an older man whose speech patterns Albert Brooks based on Donald Rumsfeld. The older model was the one used by Burger King for the action figure.[26] Cargill's scene with Bart and Homer at the film's conclusion was added in to fully resolve his story, and the "Spider-Pig" gag was also a late addition.[22] One excised scene, before the dome is put over Springfield, had Mr. Burns reminding viewers that it was the last point in the film that they could get a refund.[26] Other deletions included Homer's encounter with a sausage truck driver, which was featured on the DVD, a scene with Plopper the pig at the end,[38] and a news report, showing the dome's effect on daily life in Springfield in areas such as farming and sport, was cut because it did not fit the overall context of the film.[26] Several musical numbers, at various intervals throughout the film, were cut.[26] These included a song about Alaska, featuring music by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics. Jean said it "got pretty far along in the animation, and then we got scared that the movie began to drag in that section."[39][40]

Music

James L. Brooks chose Hans Zimmer to compose the film's score, as they were good friends and regular collaborators.[41] Zimmer felt that the score was a "unique challenge", and he had to "try and express the style of The Simpsons without wearing the audience out".[42] He used Danny Elfman's original opening theme, but did not wish to overuse it. He created themes for each member of the family. Homer's leitmotif was a major focus, and Zimmer also composed smaller themes for Bart and Marge.[43] Regular television series composer Alf Clausen was not asked to score the film, noting: "sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug".[44]

In addition to their appearance in the film, Green Day recorded its own version of the Simpsons theme, and released it as a single.[45] Zimmer turned the Spider-Pig song into a choral piece, which was a joke he never intended to be put into the film. Zimmer also had to write foreign-language lyrics for the 32 dubbed versions of the song when the film was released internationally. He found translating the song into Spanish the hardest to write. The same choir learned to sing the piece for each of the foreign-language dubs.[43]

Themes

Lisacolinappletree
An apple tree was inserted into the background here, in reference to Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.[28]

Al Jean described the film's message as being "a man should listen to his wife". In addition, the film parodies two major contemporary issues, religion and environmentalism.[46] The theme of environmentalism is present throughout the film: in Homer's polluting of Lake Springfield, Green Day's cameo, Lisa's activism and her romance with Colin. The villainous Russ Cargill is head of the Environmental Protection Agency.[17] Reviewer Ed Gonzalez argued the plot was a satire of the government's reaction to the effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans.[47] Ian Nathan of Empire magazine criticized this focus, believing it gave the film an "overt political agenda [which] border[s] on polemic".[48] James D. Bloom of Muhlenberg College commented on the "explicitness" of the film's "intellectual agenda", on this issue, shown particularly through Lisa. He wrote that the film's first post-opening credits scene, which sees Green Day fail in an attempt to engage their audience on the issue of the environment, "sets in motion a plot expressly built around cultural agenda-setting" and "reflection on timely 'issues'."[49]

Religion is focused on in Grampa's momentary possession, and Marge believing what he said to be a message from God.[50] Groening joked the film "posit[s] the existence of a very active God", when asked if he believed it was likely to offend.[46] Mark I. Pinsky, author of The Gospel According to The Simpsons, said the film "treats genuine faith with respect, while keeping a sharp eye out for religious pretension and hypocrisy of all kinds". Regarding the scene where the tenants of Moe's Tavern and the Church switch locations, he believed it took the "chance to unmask everyone's human fallibility." In analyzing the role of Ned Flanders, he wrote, "It is [the] willingness of The Simpsons to depict all the different sides of us [...] that makes it so rich and funny on our complicated relationship with religion."[51] Trees are a motif in the film, and they were implemented in every important or emotional scene throughout the film. The animators inserted an apple tree behind Lisa and Colin during their initial meeting, a reference to the biblical figures of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.[28]

Cultural references

Many cultural references and allusions are made throughout the film. Green Day play "Nearer, My God, to Thee" on violins as their barge sinks, in a sequence parodying the film Titanic.[26][52] When Bart is riding his skateboard naked, different passing objects are almost constantly covering his genitalia, a nod to similar techniques used in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.[28] Homer and Marge's love scene parodies many Disney films, including Cinderella,[20] with Disney-style animals helping them undress.[22] Originally, the music from The Wizard of Oz was used in that scene, and the fawn had white spots; these were removed because the animators felt it resembled Bambi too clearly.[26] Bart impersonates Mickey Mouse on the train, calling himself "the mascot of an evil corporation".[22] Homer plays Grand Theft Walrus, an allusion to the video game series Grand Theft Auto. In the game, his character shoots a tap-dancing penguin in reference to the film Happy Feet.[26] The "Spider-Pig" song is a parody of the theme song of the 1967 Spider-Man TV series,[43] and the name of Lisa's lecture is An Irritating Truth, a play on Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth.[50] The bomb disposal robot was based on Vincent D'Onofrio's character Leonard "Pyle" Lawrence from the film Full Metal Jacket, who commits suicide in a similar way.[28] At the end of the film, the crowd's celebration is similar to the conclusion of Return of the Jedi, with Carl performing exactly the same hand gestures as Lando Calrissian.[28]

The $1,000 Homer received when entering Alaska is a reference to the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend.[53] As Homer leaves Eski-Moe's he grabs on to a passing truck and uses it to propel himself back to the house, a tribute to actor Buster Keaton,[26] while the epiphany scene features homages to the film Brazil and the works of Salvador Dalí.[28] Hillary Clinton appears as Itchy's vice president, while an Orc from The Lord of the Rings appears in the mob scene.[26] A scene that was cut had Marge and the kids appear on the TV talk show The View to spread the news of Springfield's impending doom. Parts were written for the show's entire panel and the scene was planned to feature Russ Cargill having a gunfight with Joy Behar.[26] Another dropped scene featured Moe describing Springfield's varying physical states inside the dome, one of which was the Disneyland ride Autopia.[26] There are several references to events in previous TV episodes of The Simpsons. These include the wreckage of the ambulance from the episode "Bart the Daredevil" crashed into a tree next to Springfield Gorge.[22] The Carpenters' song "(They Long to Be) Close to You" was used in Homer and Marge's wedding video and had also been used in several emotional moments between them in the TV series.[26]

Release

SimpsonsMarquee
The Marquee from the film's premiere, which took place in Springfield, Vermont

On April 1, 2006, 20th Century Fox announced that the film would be released worldwide on July 27, 2007.[54] The film was released a day earlier in Australia and the United Kingdom.[55][56][57][58] Little information about the plot was released in the weeks building up to the film's release. Groening did not feel that "people look in the TV section of the newspaper and think, 'I'll watch this week's Simpsons because I like the plot.' You just tune in and see what happens."[14]

Fox held a competition among 16 Springfields across the United States to host the American premiere.[59] Each Springfield produced a film, explaining why their town should host the premiere, with the results being decided via a vote on the USA Today website.[60] Springfield, Minnesota dropped out on May 31, 2007.[61] The winner was announced on July 10 to be Springfield, Vermont.[62] The town beat Springfield, Illinois by 15,367 votes to 14,634. Each of the other 14 entrants held their own smaller screenings of the film on July 26.[60] Springfield, Vermont hosted the world premiere of the film on July 21 with a yellow carpet instead of the traditional red.[62]

The film was rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "irreverent humor throughout".[63] The production staff had expected this rating.[15] However, the British Board of Film Classification passed the film as a PG with no cuts made.[64] A BBFC spokeswoman said regarding Bart's brief nude scene, "natural nudity with no sexual content is acceptable in PG films".[65] The film was banned in Myanmar and Burma, not for the scene of nudity, but for excessive use of the colors yellow and red, which is prohibited in the two countries,[66] and which is viewed in the latter as a sign of support for rebel groups.[67]

Marketing

Kwik-e-mart-7-11
A 7-Eleven store in Seattle transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart

The convenience store chain 7-Eleven transformed 11 of its stores in the U.S. and one in Canada into Kwik-E-Marts, at the cost of approximately $10 million.[68][69] 7-Eleven also sold Simpsons-themed merchandise in many of its stores. This included "Squishees", "Buzz Cola", "Krusty-O's" Cereal, and "Pink Movie Donuts".[69] This promotion resulted in a 30% increase in profits for the altered 7-Eleven stores.[70] Homer performed a special animated opening monologue for the edition of July 24, 2007 of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as part of another promotion.[71]

Promotions also occurred around the world. 20th Century Fox erected a "giant pink donut" in the town of Springfield in Canterbury, New Zealand to celebrate being named Springfield,[72][73] while in London a double decker-sized floating inflatable Spider Pig was set up by the Battersea Power Station.[74] In Dorset, England, an image of Homer was painted next to the hill figure, the Cerne Abbas Giant. This caused outrage amongst local neopagans who performed "rain magic" to try to get it washed away.[75]

McFarlane Toys released a line of action figures based on the film,[76] EA Games released The Simpsons Game, to coincide with the film's DVD release, although the plot of the game was not based on the film.[77][78] Samsung released The Simpsons Movie phone,[79] and Microsoft produced a limited edition The Simpsons Movie Xbox 360.[80] Ben & Jerry's created a Simpsons-themed beer and donut-flavored ice cream, entitled "Duff & D'oh! Nuts".[81] Windows Live Messenger presented their users with the opportunity to download a free animated and static content for use within their conversations.[82] Burger King produced a line of Simpsons toy figures that were given away with children's meals, and ran a series of Simpsons-themed television adverts to promote this.[70] JetBlue Airways held a series of online sweepstakes to win a trip to the film's Los Angeles, California premiere. They also included a channel dedicated to The Simpsons on their planes' in-flight entertainment system.[70]

Home media

Empire State Building yellow
The Empire State Building was illuminated yellow to promote the film's home video release.

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc worldwide on December 3, 2007 and on December 18, 2007 in the U.S. It contains commentary tracks from both the producers and animators, six short deleted scenes, and a selection of material used to promote the film release.[83] An unfinished deleted scene of the townspeople singing the Springfield Anthem was also included on The Simpsons The Complete Tenth Season DVD box set.[84]

Promotions for the DVD release occurred across the United States. The Empire State Building was illuminated yellow, the first time the building had ever been used as part of a film promotion.[85] In the United Kingdom, Fox launched a £5 million advertising campaign.[86] They also signed a £1.6 million deal with the yogurt company Yoplait, to produce a The Simpsons Movie design for their brand Frubes.[87] In its first week it topped the U.S. DVD chart, and generated $11.8 million in rental revenue.[85]

The Simpsons Movie
Set Details Special Features
  • 1-disc set (DVD)
  • 1-disc set (Blu-ray)
  • 4:3 1.33:1 Full Screen (DVD)
    16:9 2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD and Blu-Ray)
  • AUDIO (DVD)
    • English 5.1 Dolby Digital
    • English 5.1 DTS
    • Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround
    • French 2.0 Dolby Surround
  • AUDIO (Blu-Ray)
    • English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio
    • Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
    • French 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • SUBTITLES
    • English SDH
    • Spanish
    • Cantonese
    • Korean
  • Audio Comentary by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, Mike Scully, David Silverman, Dan Castellaneta and Yeardley Smith.
  • Audio Comentary of the directors by David Silverman, Mike B. Anderson, Steven Dean Moore and Rich Moore.
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailers
  • Image Galleries
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2
December 18, 2007 December 10, 2007

Reception

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 88% based on 220 reviews and an average rating of 7.52/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Simpsons Movie contains the hearty laughs, biting satire, and honest portrayal of an American family that makes the show so popular. And it boasts slicker animation and polished writing that hearkens back to the show's glory days."[88] On Metacritic, it received a score of 80 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[89] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[90]

British newspapers The Guardian and The Times both gave the film four out of five stars. The Times' James Bone said that it "boasts the same sly cultural references and flashes of brilliance that have earned the television series a following that ranges from tots to comparative literature PhDs".[91] The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw stated that it "gives you everything you could possibly want" and that he thought, "Eighty-five minutes [was] not long enough to do justice to 17 years of comedy genius".[92] Ed Gonzalez praised the film for its political message, likening the Itchy & Scratchy cartoon at the beginning to President Schwarzenegger's situation later on, as well as the film's visual gags.[47] Randy Shulman praised the cast, and described them as having "elevated their vocal work to a craft that goes way beyond simple line readings", and particularly praised Kavner who he said "gave what must be the most heartfelt performance ever".[93] Roger Ebert gave a positive review of three out of four stars, but admitted he was "generally [not] a fan of movies spun off from TV animation". He called it "radical and simple at the same time, subversive and good-hearted, offensive without really meaning to be".[94] Richard Corliss of Time said that the film "doesn't try to be ruder or kinkier, just bigger and better".[95]

Julie Kavner 1974
Julie Kavner (pictured in 1974) was praised for her emotional performance as Marge and was nominated for an Annie Award for voice acting.

USA Today film critic Claudia Puig said that the story did "warrant a full-length feature, thanks to a clever plot and non-stop irreverent humor".[96] Patrick Kolan believed that the film was "easily the best stuff to come [from the Simpsons] since season 12 or 13" and praised the animation, but also said that the appearances of characters such as Comic Book Guy and Seymour Skinner were "small and unfunny".[97] Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film's good nature, stating that the laughs "come in all sizes", but also noted that, "little has been gained bringing the Simpsons to the screen."[98]

Variety's Brian Lowry called it "clever, irreverent, satirical and outfitted" but that it was "just barely" capable of sustaining a running time longer than a television episode.[99] Lisa Schwarzbaum praised the voice cast but stated that the "'action' sequences sometimes falter".[100] When comparing the film to the early episodes of the show, Stephen Rowley concluded that the film "has more going for it than the show in its later years, but is still a long way short of what made it so invigorating".[101] The Monthly critic Luke Davies echoed Lowry's concerns about the length: "everything moves with the whip-crack speed of a half-hour episode. And that's the paradox: it makes the film feel like three episodes strung together. We're in a cinema, and we expect something epic." He opined that "in the great arc that is the history of The Simpsons, this film will come to be seen as oddity rather than apotheosis."[102]

More negative reception came from the magazine Empire, where reviewer Ian Nathan compared the film to New Coke, saying that "it utterly failed".[48] Phil Villarreal believed that there were "too few laugh-worthy moments" and that "instead of stretching to new frontiers, the film rests on the familiar".[103] Sheila Johnston criticized the pacing of the film and its joke level saying that "the overall momentum flags at times" and that it was "a salvo of comic squibs, some very funny, others limp".[104] David Edwards agreed with this, writing that although "there's a great half-hour show rattling around...the rest is padding at its very dullest", concluding that it "isn't a terrible film, just a terribly disappointing one."[105] Cosmo Landesman believed, "the humour seem[ed] to have lost its satirical bite and wit" and that "much of the comedy is structured around the idiocy of Homer".[106] This assessment was shared by Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times, who felt that "once the movie wanders into its contemplation of mortality and meaning, the trenchancy kind of creaks and falls off." She negatively compared it to South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999), a film similarly adapted from an animated television series, saying that, in terms of satire, it offers "nothing we don't hear every night on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."[107] Bruce Newman criticized the fleeting appearances of many of the show's secondary characters, and found the film to be "a disappointment".[108]

Box office

The film earned $30,758,269 on its opening day in the U.S. making it the 25th-highest, and fifth-highest non-sequel opening day revenue of all time.[109] It grossed a combined total of $74,036,787 in its opening weekend on 5,500 screens at 3,922 theaters, reaching the top of the box office for that weekend.[110] This made it the tenth-highest revenue of all time, for an opening weekend in July, and highest among non-sequels, and the highest animated TV adaptation of all time.[111] This outperformed the expectations of $40 million that Fox had for the release.[112]

It set several American box office records, including highest grossing opening weekend for a non-CG animated film and for a film based on a television series, surpassing Mission: Impossible 2. It was also the third-highest grossing opening weekend for an animated film.[113] It opened at the top of the international box office taking $96 million from 71 overseas territories, including $27.8 million in the United Kingdom, the second-highest UK opening ever for a 20th Century Fox film.[114] It contributed to over half of the record 5.5 million people attending British cinemas that weekend.[115] In Australia, it grossed $13.2 million, the third-highest opening weekend in the country, and the highest for an animated film.[116] The United Kingdom is the highest-grossing country for the film outside the US with a $78,426,654 gross overall, with Germany in second place with a $36,289,250 gross overall.[117] The film closed on December 20, 2007 with a gross of $183,135,014 in the United States and Canada and a worldwide gross of $527,068,706. It was the eighth-highest-grossing film worldwide and the twelfth-highest grossing in the United States and Canada of 2007.[4]

Accolades

The Simpsons Movie won the award for Best Comedy Film at the British Comedy Awards,[118] Best Animation at the inaugural ITV National Movie Awards,[119] and Best Movie at the UK Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, beating Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, and Shrek the Third.[120] The film's trailer won a Golden Trailer Award in the category Best Animated/Family Film Trailer at the 8th Annual Golden Trailer Awards.[121] Forbes named the film the third best of the year, based on its box office takings and Metacritic critical response score.[122] The film's website received a Webby Award at the 12th Annual Webby Awards in the category "Best Movie and Film Website".[123]

At the 35th Annie Awards the film was nominated in four categories: Best Animated Feature, Directing in an Animated Feature Production, Writing in an Animated Feature Production, and Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production for Julie Kavner. All four awards were won by Ratatouille.[124][125] It was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 65th Golden Globe Awards, the BAFTA for Best Animated Film, and the Producers Guild Award for Animated Theatrical Motion Picture.[126][127][128][129] It also received nominations for the Satellite Award for Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature, the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Animated Feature, and the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Animated Feature.[130][131][132][133]

Before its release, the film received a nomination at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards for "Best Summer Movie You Haven't Seen Yet", with the award ultimately won by Transformers,[134] and lost the Teen Choice Award for "Choice Summer Movie – Comedy/Musical", which was won by Hairspray.[135] It was also nominated for Favorite Movie Comedy at the People's Choice Awards, losing to Knocked Up.[136]

Sequel

In 2014, Brooks stated that he had been approached by Fox and that they had requested a second film. He added that there were no immediate plans, stating, "We've been asked to [develop it], but we haven't. We're doing a lot of other stuff."[137]

In December 2014, just prior to the broadcast of the episode "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner", Jean wrote on Twitter that the episode (which had been produced in 2012 and was originally set to air in 2013) had been held back by himself and Brooks because it was being considered for adaptation into a sequel film as the episode was "cinematic."[138][139] Jean later expanded that there was the fear of the potential film being considered "not canonical" with the TV series[139] and the potential backlash of overcoming it by using a "memory wipe."[140]

In July 2017, Silverman and Jean said that the sequel was in the early stages of development and stressed the toll production of the first picture took on the entire staff.[141] On August 10, 2018, it was reported that a sequel is in development.[142]

On July 22, 2019, Groening stated that he has "no doubts" that Disney will likely produce a sequel one day.[143]

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External links

Albert Brooks

Albert Lawrence Brooks (born Albert Lawrence Einstein; July 22, 1947) is an American actor, comedian, writer, director and voice actor. He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for 1987's Broadcast News and was widely praised for his performance in the 2011 film Drive. His voice acting credits include Marlin in Finding Nemo (2003) and Finding Dory (2016), Tiberius in The Secret Life of Pets (2016) and recurring guest voices for The Simpsons, including Russ Cargill in The Simpsons Movie (2007) and Hank Scorpio.

He has written, directed, and starred in several comedy films, such as Modern Romance (1981), Lost in America (1985), and Defending Your Life (1991). He is also the author of 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America (2011).

Bob Anderson (director)

Bob Anderson (born 1965) is an American animation director on The Simpsons. He also contributed additional sequence direction on The Simpsons Movie.

After high school, Bob Anderson enrolled at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art to pursue an education in animation. Before Bob graduated from The Joe Kubert School, he began his professional career. Hired by Broadcast Arts in New York City, he started work on a variety of commercials. In 1990, Anderson moved to Los Angeles to work as an assistant director for The Simpsons. In the fifth season, after fourteen episodes as an assistant to Jim Reardon and one episode for Mark Kirkland, he made his directorial debut with the episode "Bart's Inner Child" in 1993.

FXX

FXX is an American basic cable channel owned by the Walt Disney Television unit of The Walt Disney Company through FX Networks, LLC. It is the partner channel of FX, with its programming focusing on original and acquired comedy series and feature films for a primary demographic of men aged 18–34.

FXX launched on September 2, 2013 at 7:00 a.m. Eastern/6:00 a.m. Central, replacing Fox Soccer.

The channel is best known for setting the record for the longest continuous marathon in the history of television, which featured every single episode of The Simpsons that had already been released at the time (552 episodes) and The Simpsons Movie over the course of twelve days. This record has since been broken.As of September 2018, approximately 87 million households in the United States (78% of those with television) receive FXX.

Jon Vitti

Jon Vitti (born 1960) is an American writer best known for his work on the television series The Simpsons. He has also written for the King of the Hill, The Critic and The Office, and has served as a screenwriter or consultant for several animated and live-action movies, including Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005). He is one of the eleven writers of The Simpsons Movie and also wrote the screenplays for the film adaptions Alvin and the Chipmunks, its sequel and The Angry Birds Movie.

Kwik-E-Mart

The Kwik-E-Mart (spelled "Quick-E-Mart" in "Bart the General") is a convenience store in the animated television series The Simpsons. It is a parody of American convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven and Wawa Inc., and depicts many of the stereotypes about them. It is notorious for its high prices and the poor quality of its merchandise. It is run by an Indian-American named Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. It first appeared in the episode "The Telltale Head" and has since become a common setting in The Simpsons.

In July 2007, eleven 7-Eleven locations in the United States and one in Canada were transformed into Kwik-E-Marts as part of a special promotion for The Simpsons Movie. Also in 2007, gift shops modeled after the "Kwik-E-Marts" were opened in Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood, where they are a companion to "The Simpsons Ride".

List of 2007 box office number-one films in Mexico

This is a list of films which placed number one at the weekend box office for the year 2007.

List of The Simpsons writers

The following is a list of writers who have worked on the Fox animated television series The Simpsons in the order of first credited episode (by broadcast). As of October 13, 2019, 137 people have been credited with writing or co-writing at least one episode of The Simpsons.

List of awards and nominations received by Matt Groening

The following is a list of awards and nominations received by American cartoonist, writer, producer, animator, musician, and voice actor Matt Groening.

Maggie Simpson

Margaret Evelyn "Maggie" Simpson is a fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. She first appeared on television in the Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Maggie was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. She received her first name from Groening's youngest sister. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three years, the Simpson family was given their own series on the Fox Broadcasting Company which debuted December 17, 1989.

Maggie is the youngest child of Homer and Marge, and sister to Bart and Lisa. She is often seen sucking on her red pacifier and, when she walks, she trips over her clothing and falls on her face (this running gag is used much more in earlier seasons). Being an infant, she has not learned how to talk. However, she did appear to talk in the first Tracey Ullman Show short.

Though she rarely talks, she frequently makes a characteristic sucking noise with her pacifier, which has become synonymous with the character. Her pacifier sucking noises are provided by the show's creator, Matt Groening and early producer Gabor Csupo. Maggie's occasional speaking parts and other vocalisations are currently provided by Nancy Cartwright, but she has also been voiced by guest stars James Earl Jones, Elizabeth Taylor and Jodie Foster, and by series regulars Yeardley Smith and Harry Shearer. Maggie has appeared in various media relating to The Simpsons – including video games, The Simpsons Movie, The Simpsons Ride, commercials and comic books – and has inspired an entire line of merchandise.

Marge Simpson

Marjorie Jacqueline "Marge" Simpson (née Bouvier) is a fictional character in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons and part of the eponymous family. She is voiced by Julie Kavner and first appeared on television in The Tracey Ullman Show short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987. Marge was created and designed by cartoonist Matt Groening while he was waiting in the lobby of James L. Brooks' office. Groening had been called to pitch a series of shorts based on Life in Hell but instead decided to create a new set of characters. He named the character after his mother Margaret Groening. After appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show for three seasons, the Simpson family received their own series on Fox, which debuted December 17, 1989.

Marge is the matriarch of the Simpson family. With her husband Homer, she has three children: Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. Marge is the moralistic force in her family and often provides a grounding voice in the midst of her family's antics by trying to maintain order in the Simpson household. She is often portrayed as a stereotypical television mother and is often included on lists of top "TV moms". She has appeared in other media relating to The Simpsons—including video games, The Simpsons Movie, The Simpsons Ride, commercials, and comic books—and inspired an entire line of merchandise.

Marge's distinctive blue beehive hairstyle was inspired by a combination of the Bride's in Bride of Frankenstein and the style that Margaret Groening wore in the 1960s. Julie Kavner, who was a member of the original cast of The Tracey Ullman Show, was asked to voice Marge so that more voice actors would not be needed. Kavner has won several awards for voicing Marge, including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992. She was also nominated for an Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature for her performance in The Simpsons Movie. In 2000, Marge, along with the rest of her family, was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Michael Price (writer)

Michael Price is an American writer and producer, best known for his Emmy and Writers Guild award-winning work on The Simpsons. Price is a writer and co-executive producer of the ABC series Teacher's Pet. He served as a script consultant on The Simpsons Movie and wrote the Lego Star Wars special, Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace. He works at Lucasfilm writing and producing Lego Star Wars Franchise.

Other television shows he has written for include What About Joan?, The PJs, Teen Angel, Homeboys in Outer Space, The Newz and One Minute to Air.

Price co-wrote and co-produced the Bill Burr series F Is for Family in 2015 on Netflix. The show is an Animated sitcom, and draws from Burr's standup.

He grew up in South Plainfield, New Jersey, and attended Montclair State University, where he earned a B.A. degree in Theatre Arts, and Tulane University, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in directing for the theatre.

Mike Scully

Michael Scully (born October 2, 1956) is an American television writer and producer. He is known for his work as executive producer and showrunner of the animated sitcom The Simpsons from 1997 to 2001. Scully grew up in West Springfield, Massachusetts and long had an interest in writing. He was an underachiever at school and dropped out of college, going on to work in a series of jobs. Eventually, in 1986, he moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a stand-up comic and wrote for Yakov Smirnoff.

Scully went on to write for several television sitcoms before 1993, when he was hired to write for The Simpsons. There, he wrote twelve episodes, including "Lisa on Ice" and "Team Homer", and served as showrunner from seasons 9 to 12. Scully won three Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on the series, with many publications praising his episodes, but others criticizing his tenure as a period of decline in the show's quality. Scully still works on the show and also co-wrote 2007's The Simpsons Movie.

More recently, Scully co-created The Pitts and Complete Savages as well as working on Everybody Loves Raymond and Parks and Recreation. He co-developed the short-lived animated television version of Napoleon Dynamite. Scully is married to fellow writer Julie Thacker.

Products produced from The Simpsons

The long-running television animation The Simpsons has featured a number of fictional products, sometimes spoofs of real-life products, that have subsequently been recreated by real world companies attempting to exploit the popularity of The Simpsons. In 2007, as part of a "reverse product placement" marketing campaign for The Simpsons Movie, real life versions of a number of Simpsons products were sold in 7-Eleven stores. Real cans of Buzz Cola, boxes of Krusty-O's cereal, Squishees, and a special edition (#711) of the Radioactive Man Comic were all sold in stores alongside other The Simpsons merchandise.

Rob Oliver

Rob Oliver (born 1977) is a director for The Simpsons. He has also been a character layout artist, storyboard artist, assistant director, second unit director, and technical director over the course of his long career on the show. He graduated from Owosso (MI) High School in 1995, and the next year he was hired to draw characters on "The Simpsons". He has worked on hundreds of episodes. Rob has also worked on Simpsons commercials, DVD menus, DVD boxes, and consumer products for the brand. His Renault Kangoo commercial was a mix of live-action and animation.

Received an Emmy nomination for directing "Holidays of Future Passed", an episode of "The Simpsons". He conceptualized many of the visuals for the episode himself, while storyboarding it.

Two of his artists -- Charles Ragins and Dima Malanitchev -- won individual Emmy awards for their work on his "Treehouse of Horror XXIV", for "The Simpsons".

Steven Dean Moore

Steven Dean Moore is an American animation director. His credits include 65 episodes of the television series The Simpsons, as well as several episodes of the series Rugrats. Moore was also one of four sequence directors on The Simpsons Movie. He was nominated for an Emmy award in 2002.

The Simpsons (franchise)

The Simpsons is an American animated comedy franchise whose eponymous family consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The Simpsons were created by cartoonist Matt Groening for a series of animated shorts that debuted on The Tracey Ullman Show on Fox on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into The Simpsons, a half-hour prime time show that was an early hit for Fox, becoming the first Fox series to land in the Top 30 ratings in a season (1989–1990). The popularity of The Simpsons has made it a billion-dollar merchandising and media franchise. Alongside the television series, the characters of the show have been featured in a variety of media, including books, comic books, a magazine, musical releases and video games.

The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in 2007 and was the eighth highest-grossing film of that year. A variety of merchandise, including T-shirts, DVDs, board games and action figures has been released. The Simpsons merchandise has sold well, generating $2 billion in revenue during the first 14 months of sales. In 2003, about 500 companies around the world were licensed to use The Simpsons characters in their advertising. In 2008, $750 million worth of The Simpsons merchandise was purchased worldwide. Peter Byrne, Fox executive vice-president of licensing and merchandising, called The Simpsons "without doubt the biggest licensing entity that Fox has had, full stop, I would say from either TV or film."

The Simpsons Theme

"The Simpsons Theme", also referred to as "The Simpsons Main Title Theme" in album releases, is the theme music of the animated television series The Simpsons. It plays during the opening sequence and was composed by Danny Elfman in 1989, after series creator Matt Groening approached him requesting a retro-style theme. The piece has been noted by Elfman as the most popular of his career. The theme, as used for the opening sequence, was re-arranged during season 2, and the current arrangement by Alf Clausen was introduced at the beginning of the third season.

It has also been edited many times to coincide with edits of various lengths for the opening sequence, and there have been extended edits and re-recordings for lengthened opening sequences. Several versions of the saxophone solo riff, ostensibly played by character Lisa Simpson in the animated sequence, have been created over the course of the series. The theme is in the acoustic scale.A slightly different arrangement of the theme usually plays over the end credits of the show. Originally, there were two main versions of the closing theme, with the longer version ending in a lower key. Both versions were re-arranged for season 3, but only the short version was in use by the time the show switched domestic production from Klasky Csupo to Film Roman season 4, and that version was edited to be even shorter by the end of season 6. The alternate longer closing theme however resurfaced in a handful of post-season 4 episodes, but mostly in credit sequences that do not play music during the first half of the sequence (either with dialogue heard underneath or video footage playing under the first half of the credits).

The Simpsons discography

The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening that has aired on the Fox Broadcasting Company since December 1989. It is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its eponymous family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, and many aspects of the human condition. The popularity of The Simpsons led to the release of the 1990 double platinum album The Simpsons Sing the Blues, which contains original songs performed by the cast members of the show as their characters. The album spawned two hit singles—"Do the Bartman" and "Deep, Deep Trouble". A less successful sequel, The Yellow Album, was released in 1998.

Three soundtrack albums featuring music and songs from the show have been released—Songs in the Key of Springfield in 1997, Go Simpsonic with The Simpsons in 1999, and The Simpsons: Testify in 2007. The first two charted on the US Billboard 200, reaching number 103 and 197, respectively. The Simpsons Movie: The Music, a soundtrack album featuring the score of The Simpsons Movie, was released along with the feature-length film in July 2007. The choral piece "Spider Pig" that appeared in the film and on the soundtrack entered the charts in several countries around the world.

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