You can’t talk about Kitty Stars of Cartoons without mentioning the orange tabby by the name of Garfield. The lazy fellow is the highest grossing cat cartoon of all time and continues to still be a box office success.
Early Days of Garfield
In June 1978 cartoonist Jim Davis’ comic strip entitled Garfield debuted in 41 newspapers across the United States. Davis came up with the idea for Garfield after noticing there hadn’t been any new comic strips featuring cats at the time. In the 70s strips starring dogs were doing extremely well – leading to Davis wanting to take advantage of the open market.
At first the comic centered around the human Jon and it was not until editors told Davis to focus on Garfield that is was accepted for circulation. It took barely six months for the lasagna loving Garfield to double it’s circulation reaching over 100 by January 1979. Not long after that the first Garfield book, “Garfield at large” became a New York Times best seller, staying on the list for nearly two years. The book was joined by two other Garfield titles, “Garfield gains weight” and “Garfield bigger than life” at the same time on the best sellers list. By January 1982, Garfield could now be seen in over 1,000 papers worldwide.
Further Growth for Garfield
After his first TV special, appearing on the cover of People’s Magazine, being syndicated worldwide, and undergoing a creative
evolution – Garfield reached lofty heights. In 2002 Garfield became the worlds largest syndicated comic strip and by 2004 the strip had over 263 million readers in 111 countries.
Are you ready for this figure?
At that time in 2004 Garfield pushed between $750 – $1 billion worth of merchandise. Also in 2004 Garfield the Movie grossed over $200 million at the box office solidifying the character as a huge worldwide draw.
Future for Garfield
Comics, Movies, and Publications are all in the works for the Garfield property with new deals striking within this calendar year. No other cat figure has seen the financial success of Garfield and there’s no telling how much success is in the character’s future.