The Rugrats Movie opened on this day 25 years ago. Believe it or not, it actually made history as the first non-Disney animated feature to make $100 million stateside (and probably would have made even more if it hadn’t been for the release of A Bug’s Life a few days later). This was perhaps not terribly surprising, as Rugrats was fucking everywhere back in the day, and marketing for the film proved to be no different, turning it into an instant success (even if audiences were outraged at the time over the movie’s “big reveal” that all of the show’s main characters were dead except for Angelica).
Burger King in particular made a huge deal over their promotion, advertising it on posters in stores as early as February 1998, more than half a year before it started! Naturally, there were toys, but there were twelve of them, which at least felt like a lot! I only had one of these, which was the circus monkey (circus monkeys somehow become a part of the movie’s plot if you haven’t seen it), which would bounce around like crazy all over the place when you wound his arms up.
There were also watches. Talking watches! Typically, these would be collector’s items aimed “at adults” so to speak, but in this case, they were clearly aimed at kids (not that adult me wouldn’t enjoy having these). They were $1.99 with the purchase of a value meal or kid’s meal. Also, this commercial makes a very daring argument that hamsters can’t go to Burger King, but human kids can. Look, it was the late 90s. That’s just how these ads worked back then! This was normal to us!
And the advertising didn’t stop there! A number of commercials were hosted by the Rugrats themselves, as they tried to sell you “Rugrats-shaped” chicken nuggets and such for a dollar. It was a different era. Everyone had more money then. Getting onion rings for a dollar made you feel like a king! (Also, remember how so much of the Rugrats merch tried to turn Angelica into this “girl power” icon when her whole thing on the cartoon was that she was a brat?).
Have a great night, y’all!