Yet another Simpsons Movie post.
Fox, we're informed, was expecting a $45 million gross on opening weekend (and yes, this could be retroactive spin. But there's probably a kernel of truth to it.) To their delighted surprise, the flick raked in $74 million, and lo and behold, Fox-News Corp has another tent pole on their hands.
But why is this? Is the writing a big cut above the teevee version? The story? I think, probably, it is. To a degree. But here's a film critic who gets a major reason:
The answer lies in the animation. Unlike the TV show, the characters have shadows and the color scheme is larger – which makes it a truly different visual experience. As a cartoon, The Simpsons’ animation has always been very crude. “It’s deliberately imperfect,” said creator Matt Groening, and “a tribute to the art of hand-drawn animation, which is basically disappearing.”
While the film producers kept the animation similar to the show, there was a subtle upgrade in its quality that gave it a far more professional feel. I was very lucky to watch the film in a large multiplex theatre, and got a seat in the very back row. While I didn’t feel that the storyline was all that special, the animation quality was really what kept my interest captivated for 90 minutes.
So I'm guessing that Fox this morning is clapping itself on the back about keeping the "money animation" for the picture here in town. That they're aware that "quality paid off."
Which is why the next Simpsons feature (and there will be a next, bank on it), will be done in the same manner as the one that is now burning up the box office.
And there's the other bit of conventional wisdom that has been upended by The Simpsons Movie: "Nobody wants to look at hand-drawn animation anymore."
The new meme should be: "Nobody wants to look at hand-drawn animation anymore. Except when they do."