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Posted on Nov 17, 2011

Franchises in Film: TGI Friday's Co-Stars in Zookeeper

TGI Friday's FranchiseThis summer’s Kevin James blockbuster Zookeeper featured James as a zookeeper who takes advice from a zoo full of talking animals to help him get back with the girl of his dreams.  It also featured a prominent appearance of the TGI Friday's franchise.

“Is TGI Friday's as incredible as it looks?,” a gorilla, voiced by Nick Nolte, asks Kevin James’ character.  James replies that “It’s pretty good.”  Later, James drives the gorilla to TGI Friday's, and upon arriving, the gorilla announces, “Shut up,” amazed by the look of the store.  Sony, the studio behind Zookeeper, approached the restaurant chain after the script was written to seek their approval, and TGI Friday’s agreed.  Zookeeper got poor reviews from critics, but was a strong success at the box office, making over $157 million worldwide.

Although Zookeeper is the most prominent film appearance of TGI Friday’s, with the restaurant appearing in the trailer and most film critics mentioning it in their reviews, it’s hardly the first on-screen appearance for the restaurant chain.

In 2006 film Failure to Launch, Zooey Deschanel, who plays Sarah Jessica Parker’s best friend, references TGI Friday’s in a less flattering light, noting that, “Yeah, everyone from work went to TGI Friday's, but I don't really like that place. Or anyone I work with.” In the film Click, also released in 2006, Adam Sandler stars as a man who possesses a remote control which controls the universe.  Using its powers, Sandler’s character is able to understand what a group of Japanese men are saying in Japanese about his chances of getting their business.  One of the businessmen tells the others to “eat as fast as you can” so that they can “get out of here and do Jell-O shots atAmerica’s greatest cultural achievement, TGI Friday’s.”  Having understood what they were saying, Sandler tells the businessmen that he’s changing the plan, and tells them to give him their account so that they can “get the hell out of this dump” and “go to a TGI Friday’s."  They quickly agree and give him their account.

The TGI Friday’s Franchise opened their first location in 1965, and as of March 2011, have 992 locations.  The first franchised unit of the chain opened in 1971 in the Overton Park area of Memphis,Tennessee.  295 of the units are franchised.

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