Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (film)

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Screenplay by
  • Phil Lord
  • Christopher Miller
Based onCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
by Judi Barrett
Ron Barrett
Produced byPam Marsden
Edited byRobert Fisher Jr.
Music byMark Mothersbaugh[1][2][3]
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing[5]
Release dates
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 animated science fiction comedy film produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. Loosely based on the 1978 children's book of the same name by Judi and Ron Barrett, the film was written for the screen and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (in their feature directorial debuts), and stars the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Benjamin Bratt, and Neil Patrick Harris. The film centers around an aspiring inventor named Flint Lockwood who develops, following a series of failed experiments, a machine that can convert water into food. After the machine gains sentience and begins to develop food storms, Flint must stop it in order to save the world.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs premiered at the Mann Village Theater in Los Angeles, California on September 12, 2009, and was released in the United States six days later on September 18, by Sony Pictures Releasing. 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, characters, voice acting, and the score, while the simple character designs 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 in Swallow Falls, a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Sardines are the base of Swallow Falls' economy, but the Baby Brent Sardines cannery has gone bankrupt due to worldwide dislike of sardines. One day, Flint invents the "Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator" (FLDSMDFR), a machine that turns water into food, which ends up shorting out his house's electrical supply. Flint decides to power the machine by hooking it up to the large riser pole at the nearby power substation, sending it rocketing through town and destroying a park conceived by the town's mayor before ultimately shooting up into the sky. Afterwards, Flint meets Samantha "Sam" Sparks, a weather reporter intern whose big break was ruined by the incident. Brightly colored clouds then float over the town and begin to rain cheeseburgers, delighting the residents.

Flint creates a communication device to send food orders to the machine, and Swallow Falls (now renamed Chewandswallow) becomes a successful "food tourism" destination. As Flint and Sam grow closer, and Sam opens up to Flint about her history of being bullied and the shame she feels about her nerdy demeanor, though Flint insists she's beautiful the way she is.

As the townsfolk become greedier, Flint notices that the food is growing larger. Despite Flint's concerns that the food is starting to "over mutate", Mayor Shelbourne, now morbidly obese, schemes to use the invention for personal gain. When a large tornado of spaghetti and meatballs ravages the town, Flint rushes to his lab to turn off the FLDSMDFR, but Shelbourne accidentally destroys the communication device after ordering a Vegas-style all-you-can-eat buffet. Now sentient, the FLDSMDFR creates a massive food storm that sends colossal food downpours to various cities and their landmarks.

After gaining encouragement from his father Tim, Flint places the kill code in a USB flash drive, and builds a flying car to reach and destroy the FLDSMDFR, with the aid of Sam, her cameraman Manny, Flint's pet monkey Steve, and Brent McHale (namesake of the Baby Brent Sardines cannery). As they approach the machine in the sky, they find that it is now serving as the core of a giant meatball asteroid which it created. The machine sends living food to attack them. Flint calls Tim and orders him to email the kill code file to his phone. As Sam, Brent and Flint enter the meatball, they are accosted by living roast chickens, one of which Brent manages to take control of after it eats him.

Back in Chewandswallow, a dam containing leftovers collapses, creating an avalanche of food that destroys the town. Tim manages to re-send the code to Flint's cell phone. Back in the meatball, while lowering Flint down a tunnel using rope, Sam gets cut by a piece of peanut brittle, causing an allergic reaction. Flint implores Brent to take Sam back to the plane and get her a shot, but she refuses to let Flint go. They confess their love for each other before Flint cuts the rope and plummets down. Sam and Brent make it back to the plane after Brent fights off the roast chickens.

While scuffling with the machine, Flint discovers that Tim accidentally sent him the wrong file. However, he uses his Spray-On Shoes formula to stop the machine, causing it and the giant meatball to explode, though also seemingly killing him. With the machine destroyed, the food storms subside and everyone is able to return safely to Chewandswallow. Flint is revealed to have survived the explosion by letting go of the machine and falling down the blowhole at the last second before the explosion. Tim finally shows his appreciation for his son and his inventions, and Flint and Sam celebrate with a kiss. Out at sea Mayor Shelbourne who escaped from the food storm on a sandwich boat begins to sink after eating his boat.

Voice cast[edit]

Voice actors in the film include:[8]

  • Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood, an unsuccessful and timid but determined young inventor, and Sam's love interest. Hader also voices the FLDSMDFR
    • Max Neuwirth as young Flint
  • Anna Faris as Samantha "Sam" Sparks, a weather intern from New York City and later Flint's love interest
  • Neil Patrick Harris as Steve, Flint's pet vervet monkey and best friend, who communicates through a thought translator Flint invented
  • James Caan as Timothy "Tim" Lockwood, Flint's technophobic fisherman father
  • Bruce Campbell as Mayor Shelbourne, the town's corrupt Mayor
  • Andy Samberg as "Baby" Brent McHale, arrogant and dim-witted mascot of the sardine cannery
  • Mr. T as Officer Earl Devereaux, athletic police officer 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, pilot, and comedian
  • Al Roker as Patrick Patrickson, weather station anchorman
  • Lauren Graham as Fran Lockwood, Flint's late mother who always expressed her belief in her son
  • Will Forte as Joe Towne, a redneck
  • Angela V. 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.[9] In 2006, it was reported that the film had been helmed by new directors and writers, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.[10] 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.[11]

Story and script[edit]

After a year working on the script, Lord and Christopher Miller 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 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.[12]


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.[13]


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the second film after Monster House that was made using the animation-rendering software Arnold.[14] Justin K. Thompson served as production designer.[15]


Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedSeptember 15, 2009
StudioAir Lyndhurst Studios
Angel Recording 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. "Raining Sunshine", performed by Miranda Cosgrove, was released as a promotional single on August 24, 2009.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18][19] A 3D Blu-ray was released on June 22, 2010. It was the first 3D Blu-ray sold individually in the United States.[20]

In April 2021, Sony signed a deal with Disney giving them access to their legacy content, including Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and its sequel to stream on Disney+ and Hulu and appear on Disney's linear television networks. Disney's access to Sony's titles would come following their availability on Netflix.[21][22]

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.[23][24]


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."[25] On Metacritic it has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 24 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[26] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[27]

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".[28] 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."[29] 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."[30]

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.[citation needed] 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.[31] On its second weekend, it remained at #1 with a decrease of only 17%.[32]


Group Category Recipient Result
Annie Awards[33] 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[34] Best Animated Feature Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[35] Best Animated Feature Film Nominated
Satellite Awards[36] Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards[37] 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.[38] Most of the main cast reprised their roles, but Earl, the town cop, is now voiced by Terry Crews since Mr. T declined to reprise the role. New cast also includes Kristen Schaal as orangutan Barb, and Will Forte in his new role of Chester V.[39]

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.[40] The series will be traditionally animated and will consist of twenty-six 22-minute episodes.[40] It will take place before the first film, showing Flint Lockwood as a high school student who dreams of becoming a serious scientist.[40] 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.[40] 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.[40] Commissioned by Teletoon in Canada, the series will air on Cartoon Network in the United States,[41] and on the Boomerang channel in other territories.[42] None of the original cast returned for the show and were replaced by Canadian voice actors.

See also[edit]

Real-life food spill disasters and weather phenomena


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External links[edit]