Homer moves to big screen at Fox


20th Century Fox made a virtue of recycling this summer. It turned an 18-year-old TV series into a big-screen, animated blowout. And it concentrated on sequels, reviving one of its storied franchises after eight years on the shelf.

Preceded by arguably the most inventive marketing campaign of the summer, which saw a dozen 7-Eleven's across North America transformed into Kwik-E-Marts, "The Simpsons Movie" rewarded a longtime fanbase that responded with a $74 million opening. Demonstrating that 2-D animation still can compete with flashier 3-D projects, the movie eventually grossed $178.5 million domestically.

The Fox team — co-chairmen Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos and president Hutch Parker — also dusted off "Die Hard," which first exploded in theaters in 1988. With Bruce Willis returning as beleaguered Detective John McClane, this time facing Internet terrorists, "Live Free or Die Hard" traded in R-rated expletives for PG-13 action and found a receptive audience. Its $133.6 million domestic haul was a new high for the series, whose previous peak had been "Die Hard 2's" $117.5 million in 1990.

The results weren't quite so upbeat for "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," arriving just two years after the original "Fantastic Four." Where the original grossed $154.7 million, the sequel checked in with $131.6 million. And the apocalyptic "28 Weeks Later," with $28.6 million, failed to equal 2003's specialty films hit "28 Days Later," which collected $45.1 million.