Hollywood has been full of creative ideas for movies. From animation to pure action, some films are simply too amazing and gain the audience’s attention. Among the very famous animation films of all time is Garfield which is also known as the Hollywood cat. Being a major influence on pop culture, trends, and audience perception, Garfield is known to be one of the most successful franchises.
Who is Garfield?
Garfield is an American comic character who was created by Jim Davis. It was initially published with the name of Jon in 1976 but later named Garfield in 1978. The comic is about the funny ways in which the cat, dog, and their human owner live. Garfield has become so successful ever since its first publication that it currently holds the record for being the World’s Most Widely Syndicated Comic Strip. One of the main reasons why Garfield got so popular over time was because the cartoonist Jim Davis consistently came up with comics to publish in the magazines.
The Garfield Comics
Cartoonist Jim Davis created Garfield based on the cats that he saw in the nearby vicinity. The name of the cat goes after the name of his grandfather, James A. Garfield. There are several themes that were discussed in the comic strip which included cat habits, overeating, obsession for coffee, lasagna, tiring routines of Mondays, and other similar topics. The comics also showed the manipulative version of Garfield who could trick people into getting what he wanted.
Garfield comics have been in more than 2580 newspapers and journals which is the largest number for any comic. Seeing the success of Garfield, the creator of the character decided to post many new comics over the internet as well. This helped Garfield reach a large audience increasing the popularity of the character even more.
Garfield and Television Shows
The comics got the attention of many television show producers to have Garfield aired. The animation debut was on The Fantastic Funnies in 1980 with the voice of Garfield by Scott Beach. This gave Garfield a major growth in its popularity. As a result, a sequence of 12 primetime cartoon specials was started in 1982 which were aired till 1991.
The twelve specials were half-hour long with direction by Phil Roman and story writing by Davis. In these shows, the voiceover for Garfield was done by Lorenzo Music. All of these television specials were nominated for the Emmy Awards and four of them were won as well. In addition to these specials, there was the Saturday Morning Cartoon Show called Garfield and Friends which was aired between 1988 and 1994.
For a while after 1994, there were not many shows developed for Garfield but in 2008, The Garfield Show premiered on the 30th anniversary on the Cartoon Network channel. There are many new series planned for Garfield and expected to be aired on the kids’ tv channel, Nickelodeon.
Garfield: The Movie
After gaining immense success in comics and television, it was time to take the famous character of Jim Davis to the next level. Garfield: The Movie was released in 2004 which was an action-comedy animated film directed by Peter Hewitt. Stars of the film include Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Bill Murray who performed the on-screen voice for Garfield.
The film considers the story of Garfield, an overweight cat living with his owner and goes on to various adventures. Just like the tremendous success of TV shows, the movie was very well received at the reception. With a $50 million budget, it grossed over $200 million. Despite the financial success of the movie, it received negative responses from the critics with the claims that it appears to be a very childish movie and not generally targeting a whole family including the adults.
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Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties
Despite the negative response, there was another Garfield movie which was released in 2006. Directed by Tim Hill, this was yet another comedy action movie and a sequel to the 2004 movie. Other than Bill Murray doing a voiceover for Garfield, this movie had Breckin Meyer and Jennifer Love as the stars. Other casts include Billy Connolly, Ian Abercrombie, and Oliver Muirhead as well.
The story is about Garfield, Odie, Liz, and Jon who travel to the United Kingdom where an exact look-alike of Garfield is ruling the kingdom in a negative manner with many evil plans. It was not as successful as the first one since it had a higher budget of $60 million while the total earnings were only about $143 million. It again got the negative reviews from critics despite being widely watched by the audience.
Garfield and Pop Culture
Being one of the most famous characters of Hollywood, Garfield became an influence to pop culture as well. In 2006, right after the movie Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties was released, a game was also launched with the same name. This game was playable on different consoles including Playstation 2, Nintendo DS, and Microsoft Windows. This game had the same story as that of the original movie. The ratings for this game were above average as GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 71.5 and 72 out of 100 for the PC Version while 63 and 59 respectively for the Nintendo DS.
Made as a good and marketable character, it became major selling merchandise as well which earned about $1 billion annually. The merchandise was basically targeted towards the kids that were really fantasizing about Garfield but later on, it was popular among the adults too. The merchandise of Garfield was owned by the cartoonist Jim Davis. Ever since it started becoming popular after the TV shows and Hollywood movies, Garfield was seen on almost everything including cameras, rugs, toothbrushes, chairs, clothes, and others as well. The fat cat was truly something that sparked everyone’s interest.
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Garfield has been the favorite character for many and with the comic strips still coming in, the cat is likely to stay famous for more. Many fans believe that the comic strip series was way funnier than the movie or the television specials. Nonetheless, the entire franchise has been truly amazing with many people coming up with their controversies and conspiracies regarding Garfield. The legacy of this fat cat is surely going to stay for long unless it gets replaced by another character but we don’t see that happening anytime soon.