The Movie is a heavily expanded, one-shot episode of a TV series usually meant for theatrical distribution. Often times the film will be used to further the storyline of the show (see Myth Arc). However, usually there are other motivations for this, generally involving green slips of paper going into the pockets of film executives from the hard-working fanbase of a show.
This trope primarily dates from before DVD, and occurred a lot during the 80s and early 1990s. A cinematic feature was considered much more important for a particular series or franchise at the time, than it would be now; although it can still sometimes occur. Although not always, The Movie tends to be a death knell for the franchise in question, as well.
The Movie usually takes two main forms.
- A distilled/compressed summary or Ur-Example of the entire central arc of the series it is based on. The X-Files: Fight the Future was a good example of this. A subtype here is the Compilation Movie.
- It will raise the stakes, (often changing the dynamic of the original work) or otherwise contain a story with a scope larger than the usual series' budget, in which case you tend to have a Big Damn Movie. It can also act as the Grand Finale, or a Series Fauxnale, should they make sequels. Serenity would qualify as an example of this, as would the original animated Transformers movie.
Not all movies are The Movie; compare Non-Serial Movie and The Film of the Series. See also Made-for-TV Movie, and note that not all examples of The Movie are theatrical. (A Reunion Show, for instance, will often take the form of a movie.) Most anime movies, for example, are either non-serial adventures or the Arc or Myth Arc of the entire series compressed into the space of two hours. The latter frequently requires an Alternate Continuity to pull this off.
In the 1960s and 1970s it was also common for episodes of a TV series, especially two-part stories, to be edited together as feature films for theatrical distribution both domestically (in the era before home video) or internationally in markets where the original TV series did not yet air. The Man From Uncle was introduced to many European and Asian countries not by the broadcast series, but by the film series derived from the TV show (with additional racy and violent footage added that couldn't be shown on TV).
If it's a series' first attempt at making one, it might even be called some variation of Title: The Movie. You know, in case you didn't realize.
For the inverse, a series based off a movie, see Recycled: The Series. Sister Trope of The Film of the Book (adaptation of a book into a film) and The Film of the Play (adaptation of a theatre play into a film).
Examples are sorted according to the original source.
Examples with their own subpages:
- Happy Heroes has three theatrical films so far. The first, simply titled Happy Heroes: The Movie, was released in 2013. The second, Happy Heroes: The Battle of Planet Qiyuan, was released in 2014. The third, Happy Hero Alliance: The City of Mystery, was released in 2018.
- Motu Patlu has received quite a few direct-to-TV films throughout its run, plus one theatrical outing titled Motu Patlu: King of Kings.
- Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf has nine films so far. Production company Creative Power Entertaining intended to make films for every animal of the Eastern Zodiac but they stopped basing their projects off it.
- Mortadelo y Filemón:
- A 2003 Live-Action Adaptation movie exists.
- A 2008 sequel: "Mortadelo y Filemón. Misión: Salvar la Tierra" (Mortadelo & Filemón. Mission: Save Earth) with the popular Spanish comedian Eduard Soto replacing Benito Pocino in the role of Mortadelo.
- Then, in 2014, a new film, this time an animated film, "Mortadelo y Filemón contra Jimmy el Cachondo" (Mortadelo & Filemon vs Jimmy the Joker, marketed internationally as "Mortadelo and Filemon: Mission Implausible").
- Zipi y Zape:
- One in 1981, which almost nobody in Spain remembers today.
- Then another one based on the Animated Adaptation.
- Boogie, el Aceitoso, movie from 2009.
- Condorito, which was released in 2017.
- Werner Beinhart! was celebrated as this back in 1990. Since then, another four feature-length movies have been released, and some people know ''Werner'' for the films rather than for the books.
- Neon Exodus Evangelion, despite being a fanfic, has a The Movie, set after the episodes and wrapping everything up with an epic fight scene.
- Red Dead Witchdemption, by John Egbert takes place during the filming of Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff the Featur Filim: Teh Mvoie
- Jimmy Two-Shoes The Movie: Misery Loves Company is a fanscript for one based on Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- ABBA: The Movie. Guess what it's about. It also had album and sheet music tie-ins, called ABBA: The Album and ABBA: The Folio.
- Spice World, the Spice Girls film.
- Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny is the origin story of the D, and would chronologically lead to the earlier HBO shorts. Of course, everybody was probably too baked to care about canon.
- Seems to be the case in fake Rockumentaries like This Is Spın̈al Tap or Fraktus: Das letzte Kapitel der Musikgeschichte, but in those cases (as well as in the case of Leningrad Cowboys Go America), the bands were made up for these movies in the first place. The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash is an exception, though: The parody band existed well before the film.
- Parodied with Ninja Sex Party: The Movie (That's Totally Not Happening), available as a poster when purchasing the physical version of the band's three albums.
- Atlantis, Octagón, and Máscara Sagrada formed "Los Movie Stars" in CMLL, based on the fact they had all been in movies. The most famous lucha libre movies were of course of El Santo though.
- WCW's "Ready to Rumble", better known as the dud that put the belt on David Arquette.
- Pro Wrestling Zero 1 has Oh! My Zombie Mermaid\Ah! House Collapses about a pro wrestling promoter(a Captain Ersatz of Shinya Hashimoto) and the attempts of a rival promoter to destroy him out of jealousy at his success and envy when not Hashimoto buys a new house.
- Greeny Phatom's has a feature-length movie that is particularly bizarre (even by the show's usual standards). It was subsequently plagiarized and remade as GoAnimate: The Movie.
- The Grossery Gang webseries has The Grossery Gang vs. The Clean Team: Putrid Power , a feature length movie (still on Youtube), which is actually a half-hour episode of the webseries, which is still long in comparison to the two minute length of standard episodes.
- DSBT InsaniT: The Quest for the Sacred Gem, a DTYT (Direct to YouTube) "movie", which only has a teaser trailer so far.
- Marble Hornets will have a movie taking place in the same universe released at some unspecified point in the future.
- Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
- Smosh: The Movie
- GIRLTRASH: All Night Long is a prequel to the webseries Girltrash.
- Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure and Agents of Secret Stuff. The latter, however, was a thirty minute YouTube video presented in the form of a movie.
- To an extent, Googlebrains' Disgust Destroys Fluxburgh. It was a direct-to-YouTube movie.