The Simpsons Movie was expected to gross around $50 million domestically this weekend but ended up surpassing even 20th Century Fox’s promising projections. The first feature outing for Homer and the family opened in nearly 4,000 theaters across North America and raked in an estimated $71.8 million. The pic did better than both of Pixar’s last two releases, proving that 2D animation can indeed attract an audience, especially when that audience is built in by way of a long-running TV series.
Simpsons fans had to wait 18 years for the big-screen debut and the final result was well worth the wait, judging by the reception the film and its creators received at Comic-Con Int’l in San Diego over the weekend. The movie has also been a big hit with professional critics. Lukewarm notices like the one found in The Los Angeles Times were in the minority as glowing reviews poured in from both major publications and online sources. The Washington Post counts it among the best films of the year and Time Magazine says it was ‘Worth Waiting for.’
Since The Simpsons is dubbed in a number of different languages and seen around the world, the movie is also doing blockbuster business internationally as well. The pic has already taken in around $96 million fro 71 foreign territories, breaking records in a number of countries. The movie did particularly well in the U.K., where moviegoers packed 500 theaters and plunked down approximately $27.8 million to see Bart on the big screen. The stellar worldwide reception should have Fox chomping at the bit to fast-track a Family Guy movie, which series creator Seth McFarlane says may only be a couple years away from going into production, despite that fact that there’s no script yet.
Universal’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry slipped to No. 2 in its second week but still managed and solid $19 million over the weekend, despite being largely panned by critics. Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was third with an estimated $17 million and a three-week domestic total reaching $241 million. New Line’s Hairspray and Warner Bros.’ No Reservations round out the top five with $15.5 and $11.7 million, respectively.