Fans Get Taste of ‘The Simpsons’ Movie
LOS ANGELES — To learn some long-awaited news about “The Simpsons,” television’s most popular cartoon family, fans had to go to the movies on Friday.
Film studio 20th Century Fox released a 25-second promotional trailer at showings of its new computer-animated movie “Ice Age: The Meltdown” to announce the first big-screen version of “The Simpsons” would be coming to theaters on July 27, 2007.
The trailer begins with a giant superhero-sized letter “S” while an announcer declares, “Leaping his way onto the silver screen … the greatest hero in American history!”
The scene cuts to Homer Simpson sitting on his couch in his underwear, saying, “I forgot what I was supposed to say.”
Now in its 17th season, “The Simpsons” is the longest-running U.S. comedy series in prime time.
Beginning as a string of cartoon shorts on “The Tracey Ullman Show” in 1987, “The Simpsons” made their debut as a half-hour series on the then-fledgling Fox network in December 1989.
At the outset, the series centered on the antics of the wisecracking, underachieving 10-year-old Bart Simpson, a spiky-haired misfit who darts around town on his skateboard and drives his fourth-grade teacher nuts.
But as the show evolved, the focus shifted to Bart’s bone-headed father, Homer, who works at a nuclear power plant and punctuates his frequent mistakes with the anguished, half-syllable utterance “D’Oh!”
Rounding out the Simpsons brood are beehive-haired mother Marge, the sensible, good-natured anchor of the family, and Bart’s two sisters — pacifier-sucking baby Maggie, a silent observer of all, and second-grade prodigy Lisa, a baritone saxophone virtuoso and intellectual of the family.
Behind them is a huge cast of regulars who populate the fictional town of Springfield — extended family members, neighbors, teachers, classmates, Homer’s co-workers, his pals at Moe’s Tavern, Apu the Kwik-E-Mart clerk, police chief Wiggum and even the Comic Book Guy.
The series averages 9.6 million viewers a week on Sunday nights, down from its peak ratings several years ago, but remains a critical favorite and worldwide pop culture phenomenon seen in dozens of countries.
It also is a cash cow for 20th Century Fox TV for the handsome revenues it generates in syndication.