The Bee Movie Hits Broadway, Outsells Hamilton
By: Sherlyn Ong
According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyways. Because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible.
Jerry Seinfeld did likewise, and disregarded what humans thought was impossible and recreated the Bee Movie into a Broadway sensation that has surpassed Hamilton.
The Bee Movie, a family comedy animated film, was initially released in 2007 and was barely profitable due to mixed reviews and criticisms to the film’s premise. However, despite the fact that the Bee Movie was not that successful, in 2012-13, Jerry Seinfeld brought up the possibility of a Bee Movie 2 after a redditor brought up the topic as a joke. The public and internet responded to Seinfeld’s suggestion but the response was weak and the idea was consequently dropped.
Contrary to the previous responses, 2016 garnered an immense amount of attention to the Bee Movie once again, nine years after its original airing. On October 22nd, 2016, YouTuber wankerflaps uploaded a video titled “Bee Movie But it Keeps Getting Faster,” featuring the audio track from the film which is progressively sped up. From then on, many other YouTubers began to make variations of the original video, such as: “The entire bee movie but every time they say bee it gets faster”, “The Bee Movie But Without Bees”, “The bee movie but every time they say bee it gets more pixelated” and many more. This quickly became the meme that dominated the internet and the Bee Movie became relevant again.
Seinfeld realized that with the current reemergence of Bee Movie relevance, it would be an excellent time to start the continuation of the Bee Movie. Seinfeld then chose to collaborate with the creators of Shrek the Musical to recreate the Bee Movie into a musical as well. The decision was well-made since the Bee Movie musical managed to outsell Hamilton.
Another reason for the musical’s success includes the excellently selected cast. Barry B. Benson is played by Nathan Kress, former Nickelodeon star who played Freddie Benson on iCarly. This got fans particularly hyped because of Kress’s previous affirmation of a fan’s theory that Freddie Benson was the love-child between Barry and Vanessa, which implied that Mrs. Benson in iCarly was actually Vanessa from Bee Movie. Vanessa is played by Miranda Cosgrove, also a former Nickelodeon star, who played Carly Shay, Freddie’s love interest on iCarly. Many fans speculate that Cosgrove was chosen for the role as a joke because there were many memes about “bee-stiality” between Vanessa and Barry in the movie and considering Kress’s role, Cosgrove would bring out the romance between the two characters. This decision also brought in many iCarly fans.
The show is also unique because every Friday, the cast pays tribute to the YouTube memes that reignited the interest in the movie again by performing live versions of the YouTube edits. They change the special performances every week, variating between the kind of edits they replicated. Hence, Friday shows are the most expensive and sold out immediately when ticket sales started.
This movie’s Broadway success proved that memes are slowly integrating themselves into our daily lives and can be a huge marketing tactic. In fact, many experts have started looking into this topic to discover the miracles of memes.