Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (film)

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Cloudy with a chance of meatballs theataposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • Phil Lord
  • Christopher Miller
Produced byPam Marsden
Written by
  • Phil Lord
  • Christopher Miller
Based onCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
by Judi Barrett
Ron Barrett
Music byMark Mothersbaugh [1][2][3]
Edited byRobert Fisher Jr.
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[5]
Release date
  • September 12, 2009 (2009-09-12) (Los Angeles)[6]
  • September 18, 2009 (2009-09-18) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes[5]
CountryUnited States
Budget$100 million[7]
Box office$243 million[7]

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a 2009 American computer-animated science fiction comedy film produced by Sony Pictures Animation and loosely based on the 1978 children's book of the same name by Judi and Ron Barrett. It was written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller in their directorial debuts, and features the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Benjamin Bratt, and Neil Patrick Harris. It is centered around an aspiring inventor named Flint Lockwood who develops a machine that can convert water into food following a series of failed experiments. After the machine gains sentience and begins to develop food storms, Flint must destroy the machine in order to save the world.

The film premiered in Los Angeles on September 12, 2009, and was released in the United States six days later on September 18 by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia Pictures label. It earned over $243 million worldwide on a budget of $100 million at the box office.[7] The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its colorful visuals, humor, characterizations, and voice acting, while the simple character designs and plot were said to be unfitting. The film has since been expanded into a franchise, with a sequel, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, released on September 27, 2013, as well as an animated television series based on the film that premiered on Cartoon Network on February 20, 2017, with none of the original cast returning.


Aspiring scientist Flint Lockwood lives with Tim, his widowed father, and his pet monkey, Steve, in Swallow Falls, an island in the Atlantic Ocean with an economy based on sardines. Due to sardines being considered "really gross" by the rest of the world, Swallow Falls' economy has fallen into decline, forcing the citizens to subsist on a mainly sardine-based diet. Flint invents the "Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator" (FLDSMDFR), a device which transforms water into food, in an effort to expand the town's diet, much to the chagrin of Flint's father, who intends for Flint to one day take over the family-owned fishing shop.

Flint's attempt to plug the device in knocks out his house's power, so he connects the FLDSMDFR to a local substation, overloading it and sending it rocketing across town, demolishing a sardine-themed amusement park meant to revitalize the town in the process before it disappears into the sky. The chaos earns Flint the ire of the town, along with that of Sam, an amateur field reporter, and the disappointment of his father. Soon after, however, cheeseburgers begin raining from the sky, and Flint realizes the FLDSMDFR is functioning successfully in the stratosphere, using the condensation from clouds to create food-based weather systems.

The town rejoices in their new food choices and Swallow Falls is renamed Chewandswallow and becomes a "food tourism" destination, making Flint a local celebrity. Flint and Sam grow closer after she reveals that she was teased as a child for her glasses and her fascination with meteorology. However, Flint notices the food has begun to "over-mutate", gradually becoming bigger and more unstable. He attempts to warn Mayor Shelbourne that the FLDSMDFR may be malfunctioning, but Shelbourne ignores his warnings. After a tornado made up of spaghetti and meatballs threatens the town, Flint attempts to turn the FLDSMDFR off, but the control device is mistakenly destroyed by Shelbourne while he is trying to stop Flint, causing the device to go rogue and creating a massive "food storm" across the planet.

Flint places the kill code in a USB flash drive and builds a flying car to reach and destroy the FLDSMDFR, accompanied by Sam, her cameraman Manny, Steve, and the town's former mascot Brent. Upon reaching the FLDSMDFR, they discover it has surrounded itself with a giant meatball for protection. Reaching the interior, the flash drive containing the code is lost, and Brent is eaten by one of the giant animated roast chickens. Flint calls his dad, Tim, and tells him to go to his lab, get on his computer to email the kill code to his cell phone. Brent survives after he is eaten by the chickens and he is no longer Baby Brent. Sam's peanut allergy is triggered by a piece of peanut brittle, and Flint tells her to return to the car while he carries on alone. The two profess their love for each other and Flint selflessly cuts the rope and plummets down. Sam and Brent, now wearing one of the roast chickens as makeshift armor, make it back to the car to get allergy medication.

In the tunnel, Flint connects his phone with the kill code sent by Tim to the FLDSMDFR but discovers Tim sent the wrong file. He uses his Spray-On Shoes formula on the machine, causing it to overload and destroy the meatball, ending the food storm. Flint, having survived the explosion, reunites with Sam and Tim, who finally shows appreciation for his son's inventions.

Voice cast[edit]

  • Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood: a young, timid, unsuccessful but determined inventor and Sam's love interest.
    • Max Neuwirth as young Flint Lockwood.
  • Anna Faris as Sam Sparks: a formerly nerdy weather intern from New York City and Flint's love interest. She has a severe allergic reaction to anything peanut-based.
  • Neil Patrick Harris as Steve: Flint's sugar-addicted pet monkey who can communicate through a speak and spell thought-translating device.
  • James Caan as Tim Lockwood: Flint's taciturn but caring technophobic fisherman father.
  • Bruce Campbell as Mayor Shelbourne: the corrupt, greedy and selfish mayor of Swallow Falls. Unhappy with his status as a small town mayor, he sees Flint as his route to greater success. He becomes obese through constant eating.
  • Andy Samberg as "Baby" Brent McHale: the arrogant and dim-witted mascot of Baby Brent's Sardines and Flint's former rival.
  • Mr. T as Officer Earl Devereaux: the town's athletic cop and Cal's father.
  • Bobb'e J. Thompson as Calvin 'Cal' Devereaux: Earl's young son.
  • Benjamin Bratt as Manny: Sam's Guatemalan cameraman and former doctor, comedian, and pilot.
  • Al Roker as Patrick Patrickson: the anchorman of the weather station.
  • Lauren Graham as Fran Lockwood: Flint's deceased mother who had always believed in her son and always expressed it unlike her husband Tim.
  • Will Forte as Joe Towne: a bearded redneck citizen of Swallow Falls who appears on numerous occasions throughout the film.
  • Angela Shelton as Regina Devereaux: Earl's wife and Cal's mother.


On May 9, 2003, a year after establishment, Sony Pictures Animation announced its first animated slate, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a film adaptation of the book of the same name. The Brizzi brothers were brought to direct the film, with Wayne Rice adapting the screenplay.[8] In 2006, it was reported that the film had been helmed by new directors and writers, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.[9]

After a year working on the script, they were fired for story issues and replaced with new writers, who after a year were also fired. Lord and Miller were then re-hired in 2006. The two completely redid the script, this time with the creative input of their crew. The new draft had the protagonist as a failed inventor who wanted to prove himself to his town. The two were almost fired again after Amy Pascal, then-head of Sony Pictures, criticized the film for a lack of story. Although the film succeeded on the comedic front in the animatic stage, Pascal cited the lack of an anchoring relationship in the film as a failure in the story telling. Unable to create new characters and environments to suit the new story demands, the two elevated the character of the tackle shop extra to be the protagonist's father, thereby creating the relationship Pascal had requested. The pair's experience on Cloudy taught them two valuable lessons: the power of creative collaboration and the importance of emotion in a story.[10]

On September 18, 2008, Variety announced that Bill Hader and Anna Faris had signed on to voice the two lead characters, with James Caan, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Benjamin Bratt, Al Roker, Lauren Graham, and Will Forte also in the voice cast.[11] Lord and Miller said later that year that it would be a homage to, and a parody of, disaster films such as Twister, Armageddon, The Core, and The Day After Tomorrow.[12] Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the second film after Monster House that was made using the animation rendering software Arnold.[13]


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedSeptember 15, 2009
StudioAir Lyndhurst Studios
Angel Studios
Abbey Road Studios
Henry Wood Hall
GenreFilm score
LabelSony Pictures Entertainment (Sony Music)
Mark Mothersbaugh chronology
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Ramona and Beezus

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, released under Sony Pictures Entertainment on September 15, 2009. The music of the film and this album are both credited to be composed and produced by American composer Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo.

Track listing[edit]

All music is composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, except where noted.

1."Raining Sunshine" (Matthew Gerrard, Jay Landers, Charlie Midnight)Miranda Cosgrove3:44
2."Swallow Falls" 0:47
3."Introducing Flint" 4:16
4."The Latest Invention" 1:23
5."The Mayor/Earl Warns Flint" 1:17
6."Sam's Big Break" 0:50
7."Powering Up" 1:05
8."Failure Again" 1:54
9."Meatier Shower" 3:10
10."A Father's Love" 1:19
11."Ice Cream Wonderland" 1:22
12."Snowball!" 1:15
13."The Mayor's Big Plan" 1:16
14."Activation and the Jell-O Dome" 1:39
15."Sam and Flint Bond" 2:00
16."Doubting Dad/Mutations" 2:57
17."The Spaghetti Twister" 3:08
18."Aftermath" 2:26
19."Flint's Determination" 2:44
20."The Food Storm" 2:08
21."The Mission Begins" 2:36
22."Outside the Meatball" 1:57
23."Inside the Meatball" 1:39
24."Earl Takes Charge" 2:00
25."Sentient Chickens" 2:42
26."Worldwide Chaos" 0:57
27."Anaphylactic Love" 1:41
28."Attack of the Gummi Bears" 1:40
29."Here's the Cheese" 1:25
30."The Heart of the Meatball" 1:17
31."Spray-On Triumph" 1:55
32."Flint Returns" 3:31
33."Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" (Marvin Hamlisch, Howard Liebling)Lesley Gore1:37
Total length:65:16


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs premiered on September 12, 2009, at the Mann Village Theatre in Los Angeles, California.[6] The film had its wide release on September 18, 2009, along with a digitally re-mastered release to IMAX 3D theatres.[14]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and PSP UMD on January 5, 2010 in the United States and Canada.[15][16] A 3D Blu-ray was released on June 22, 2010. It was the first 3D Blu-ray sold individually in the United States.[17]

Art book[edit]

In August 2009, Insight Editions published a companion book to the film called The Art and Making of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.[18][19]


Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a "Certified Fresh" rating of 86% based on 142 reviews with an average rating of 7.3/10. The consensus statement reads, "Quirky humor, plucky characters and solid slapstick make this family comedy a frenetically tasty time at the movies."[20] On Metacritic it has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 24 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[21] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[22]

Ernest Hardy of LA Weekly stated the film "is smart, insightful on a host of relationship dynamics, and filled with fast-paced action". Hardy also applauded the 3-D effects which "are wonderful, full of witty sight gags that play out both center-screen and on the periphery".[23] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film a mixed review stating that "Crazy doesn't always equal funny, and the gigantism of this 3-D offering's second half puts a damper on your enjoyment. But look: This film wasn't made for you, or me. It was made for dangerously, easily distracted 9-year-olds."[24] Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film two stars stating that the animated film "greatly expands on the kids' book on which it's based in a clever and engaging first half. But the second half leaves a foul aftertaste."[25]

Box office[edit]

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs earned a total of $243 million on a reported budget of $100 million. Of the gross, 51%, or $124,870,275, came from the domestic market, while the rest, $118,135,851, from other territories.[7] For the film's marketing, Sony spent $43.3 million in the United States, and $26 million in other countries.[26] The film earned $8,137,358 on its opening Friday, and ranked #1 at the box office with a total of $30.3 million for the first weekend.[27] On its second weekend, it remained at #1 with a decrease of only 17%.[28] It currently holds the record for third-largest opening weekend in the month of September.[7] Documents from the Sony Pictures hack revealed the film turned a profit of $6 million.[29]


Group Category Recipient Result
Annie Awards[30] Animated Effects Tom Kluyskens Nominated
Best Animated Feature Nominated
Directing in a Feature Production Phil Lord and Christopher Miller Nominated
Writing in a Feature Production Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards[31] Best Animated Feature Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[32] Best Animated Feature Film Nominated
Satellite Awards[33] Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards[34] Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Pete Nash, Chris Juen, Alan Hawkins, Mike Ford Nominated
Outstanding Effects Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Rob Bredow, Dan Kramer, Matt Hausman, Carl Hooper Nominated

Expanded franchise[edit]


A sequel, titled Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, was released on September 27, 2013. Directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, and it is based on an original idea, where Flint and his friends must again save the world from his food machine, which survived the explosion in the prequel. This time, the machine gains the ability to produce living food beasts.[35] Most of the main cast reprised their roles, but Earl the town cop was voiced by Terry Crews since Mr. T declined to return. New cast also includes Kristen Schaal as orangutan Barb, and Will Forte in his new role of Chester V.[36]

Television series[edit]

On October 9, 2014, DHX Media announced that it will develop and produce a television series based on the film franchise, titled Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: The Series.[37] The series will be traditionally animated and will consist of twenty-six 22-minute episodes.[37] It will take place before the first film, showing Flint Lockwood as a high school student who dreams of becoming a serious scientist.[37] In his adventures, he will be joined by Sam Sparks, a new girl in town and the school's "wannabe" reporter, along with Flint's dad Tim, Steve the Monkey, Manny as the head of the school's audiovisual club, Earl as a school gym teacher, Brent as a baby wear model, and mayor Shelbourne.[37] DHX Media will handle the global television and non-US home entertainment distribution, along with worldwide merchandising rights, while Sony will distribute home entertainment in the US.[37] Commissioned by Teletoon in Canada, the series will air on Cartoon Network in the United States,[38] and on the Boomerang channel in other territories.[39] None of the original cast returned for the show and are replaced by Canadian voice actors.

See also[edit]

Real life food spill disasters


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  28. ^ Gray, Brandon (September 28, 2009). "Weekend Report: Blue Skies for 'Cloudy,' Hazy Starts for 'Surrogates,' 'Fame'". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  29. ^ "Physical Year End 2011-Budget Presentation". WikiLeaks. March 17, 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
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  34. ^ "8th Annual VES Awards". Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
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  37. ^ a b c d e "DHX MEDIA AND SONY PICTURES ANIMATION TAKING CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS TO TELEVISION" (Press release). DHX Media. October 9, 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-10-10. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  38. ^ Sony Pictures Animation (June 20, 2016). "Sony Pictures Animation Announces 2017 & 2018 Slate" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  39. ^ DHX Media (October 5, 2015). "DHX Media and Sony Pictures Animation's Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs TV Series Goes Global" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved October 9, 2015.

External links[edit]