“The Simpsons Movie” sold a strong $71.9 million in tickets at United States theaters over the weekend and another $100 million overseas, according to 20th Century Fox. That total easily made the movie, which was also a hit with many film critics, No. 1 at the box office.
Industry analysts had expected a three-day opening of $30 million to $40 million, on the assumption that the glory days of “The Simpsons” had long passed. The television series, which became a cultural phenomenon when it began in 1989, has slipped sharply in the ratings in recent years. In the early 1990s it drew an average of 22 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, but attracted only about 9 million for the 2006-7 season.