That feeling has spread to some fans. Anurag Kumar, a New York City financial analyst who has watched "The Simpsons" for 14 years, still tunes in for weeknight reruns of his favorite episodes. But he no longer schedules his weekend around new Sunday night shows.
"It's just not a lock," he said. "Before, it used to be always funny. You could guarantee it. But now, they stretch things a lot. I still laugh every time I watch it, but it's just not the same."
Will he still see the movie?
"Yeah, for sure," he said. "But on a scale of one to 10, my expectation is like a four."
So instead of getting audiences revved up for the show, "The Simpsons Movie" might make them reflect on a landmark series that's slowly but surely coming to an end.
"This is a show that is probably getting to a period where we realize it isn't going to be around forever," Thompson said. "'The Simpsons' has been on for 18 years. It certainly won't be on for another 18 years."