|Directed by||Lawrence Kasanoff|
|Music by||Walter Murphy|
|Distributed by||Viva Pictures|
Foodfight! is a 2012 American computer animated adventure comedy film produced by Threshold Entertainment and directed by Larry Kasanoff. The film features the voices of Charlie Sheen, Wayne Brady, Hilary Duff, and Eva Longoria. It tells the story of brand mascots ("Ikes") who come to life in a supermarket after closing time, and their struggles against the villainous forces of "Brand X".
Despite Kasanoff raising tens of millions of dollars in funding, Foodfight! had a troubled and much delayed production. The film was originally scheduled for a Christmas 2003 theatrical release, however this failed to materialize and later planned release dates were also missed. Eventually, after the producers defaulted on a loan, in September 2011 creditors auctioned off the film's assets and all associated rights. In 2012, the film had a low-key release, being direct-to-DVD in most territories.
Foodfight! takes place in the "Marketropolis" supermarket. After closing time, the supermarket transforms into a city in which all the citizens are personified well-known marketing icons, A.K.A. "Ikes". The story opens with the protagonist Dex Dogtective (Charlie Sheen) saving kittens before he tells his friend, Daredevil Dan (Wayne Brady), that he is about to ask his girlfriend Sunshine Goodness (Hilary Duff) to marry him. However, Dan attempts to draw a picture of Dex proposing in the sky using the smoke exhaust from his plane but crashes and Sunshine goes to assist Dan before Dex can propose. Dan returns, but has no idea of what happened to Sunshine.
Six months later, Mr. Clipboard (Christopher Lloyd), the Brand X representative, arrives at Marketropolis to persuade the manager (Ed Asner) to stock products made by a large parent company known as Brand X. While there, he crushes some potato chips, which becomes a large topic of discussion with the Ikes. At the Copabanana, Dex's club, Dex talks to the Ike whose chips were stomped, before meeting the Brand X detergent Ike, Lady X (Eva Longoria). A fight breaks out, forcing Dex to order everybody out of his club. Lady X leaves with Dan.
Later, back in Dex's home, Lady X drops in on Dex where she attempts to seduce him while using him as an alibi for when they find a group of Ikes dead in the street, which causes their respective products to expire. Dex is asked to investigate but doesn't want to get involved until he finds out Dan is missing. New Brand X products and Ikes quickly replace the destroyed products, which causes Dex to suspect Lady X, who tries to bring him over to her side. He refuses and gets locked into a dryer with Dan to be melted, but they escape. Dan and Dex find out that the secret ingredient in Brand X is addictive and toxic to humans and decide to send for a recall with the owner's computer.
They get to the computer and find out that Sunshine and the Ugly Prune brand were recalled and the computer gets shut off by a Brand X Ike before they can be sure their recall went through. They decide to fight, and Dex has a plan where everyone puts lightning rods on their buildings while one Ike goes to cut the power while the Brand X Ikes are distracted in a massive food fight. The cut power somehow causes a lighting storm that destroys Brand X buildings because they don't have lightning rods.
Dex goes inside a Brand X tower to find that they have Sunshine and are holding her hostage. They escape the building with the help of Dan to see that Mr. Clipboard has entered their world, but it's soon revealed that he was just a robot with Lady X inside (as it was hinted by his stiff and bizarre movements). Lady X reveals that she was the Ugly Prune Ike. She had grown jealous of Sunshine and had them both recalled. She got a makeover and was able to make a new brand using Sunshine's essence. Lady X tries to kill Dex, but Sunshine fights Lady X and reverts her back to the Ugly Prune Ike and is taken to the expiration station. They find a cure for the poison, and then Dex and Sunshine get married.
Despite the presence of many licensed characters, the principal characters of this film are original characters.
- Charlie Sheen as Dex Dogtective, a anthropomorphic dog private investigator, as well as the owner of the Copabanana nightclub. Dex's girlfriend is missing and he is searching for her.
- Wayne Brady as Daredevil Dan, a squirrel pilot of a small aircraft. Dan is a chocolate squirrel and the story's comic relief.
- Hilary Duff as Sunshine Goodness, a cat-like mascot for a raisin brand.
- Eva Longoria as Lady X / Priscilla the Ugly Prune Ike, the main antagonist; she dresses in costumes when attempting to woo Dex.
- Larry Miller as Vlad Chocool
- Christopher Lloyd as Mr. Clipboard
- Robert Costanzo as Maximillus Moose
- Chris Kattan as Polar Penguin
- Ed Asner as Mr. Leonard
- Jerry Stiller as General X
- Christine Baranski as Hedda Shopper
- Lawrence Kasanoff as Cheasel T. Weasel
- Harvey Fierstein as Fat Cat Burglar
- Cloris Leachman as Brand X Lunch Lady
- Haylie Duff as Sweetcakes
- Shelley Morrison as Lola Fruitola
- Edie McClurg as Mrs. Butterworth
- George Johnsen as Kaptain Krispy
- Greg Ellis as Hairy Hold
- James Arnold Taylor as Doctor Si Nustrix
- Jeff Bennett as Lieutenant X
- Stephen Stanton as Mr. Clean (deleted scene) and Lord Flushington
- Jeff Bergman as Charlie Tuna
- Enn Reitel as Kung Tofu / François Fromage
- Daniel Franzese as Twinkleton
- Jason Ortenberg, Zachary Liebreich-Johnsen, Andrew Ortenberg and Jennifer Keith as the Ike Kids
- Joshua Wexler, George Johnsen, Jason Harris and Greg Eagles as the Hairless Hamster Henchmen
- Additional voices are provided by Melissa Disney, Jennifer Keith, Bob Bergen, Susan Silo, Daniel Bernhardt, Jeff Bennett, Stephen Stanton, James Arnold Taylor and John Bloom.
Lawrence Kasanoff and a Threshold Entertainment employee named Joshua Wexler created the concept in 1999. A $25 million joint investment into the project was made by Threshold and the Korean investment company Natural Image. The producers of the film expected that foreign pre-sales and loans against the sales would provide the remaining portion of the budget. The estimated remainder was $50 million.
The film was created and produced by the digital effects shop at Threshold, located in Santa Monica, California in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. In late 2002/early 2003, Kasanoff reported that hard drives containing unfinished assets from the film had been stolen in what he called an act of "industrial espionage". The film was supposed to be computer-animated, with an exaggerated use of "squash and stretch" to resemble the Looney Tunes shorts, but after production resumed in 2004, Kasanoff changed it to a style more centered in motion capture, with the result being that "he and animators were speaking two different languages".
Lions Gate Entertainment established a distribution deal and the financing company StoryArk represented investors who gave $20 million in funding to Threshold in 2005 due to the Lions Gate deal, the celebrity voice actors, and the product tie-ins. A release date in 2005 was later announced, but missed. Another distribution deal was struck in 2007, but again, nothing came of it. Lions Gate had a negative reaction to the delays. The investors had grown impatient due to the film production company defaulting on its secured promissory note and the release dates that were not met. Finally, in 2011, the film was auctioned for $2.5 million. StoryArk investors had ultimately invoked a clause in their contract that allowed the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, which had insured Foodfight!, to complete and release the film as inexpensively and quickly as possible.
The insurance company received the copyright to the film in 2012 and began releasing it and its associated merchandise. In June 2012, Foodfight! received a limited release in the United Kingdom, grossing approximately $20,000 of ticket sales on its opening weekend. It was released on DVD in Europe that October.
At the time Foodfight! was announced, the film was denounced for taking product placement to the extreme, and doing it in a film targeted at children. Kasanoff responded to the controversy by noting that they were not paid money for the brand inclusion and therefore the addition of known brands did not constitute product placement, though the brands were expected to provide $100 million worth of cross-promotion.
The A.V. Club stated that "...the grotesque ugliness of the animation alone would be a deal-breaker even if the film weren't also glaringly inappropriate in its sexuality, nightmare-inducing in its animation, and filled with Nazi overtones and iconography even more egregiously unfit for children than the script's wall-to-wall gauntlet of crude double entendres and weird intimations of inter-species sex". The A.V. Club additionally stated that "Foodfight! doesn't just represent one of the entertainment world's most appalling lapses of taste, restraint, and judgment in recent memory; it's one of those fall-of-civilization moments". A New York Times article condemned the film, saying: "The animation appears unfinished ... And the plot ... is impenetrable and even offensive." The article also reported that Foodfight! has been "seized upon by Internet purveyors of bad cinema". Indiewire called it "one of the worst animated movies ever made", while Hollywood News called it "by far the crappiest piece of crap I have ever had the misfortune to watch". Tim Brayton of Antagony & Ecstasy described it as "the absolute ugliest animated feature that has ever been released by something resembling an actual animation studio". Brayton concluded by stating: "This is, in all sincerity, one of the very worst movies I have ever seen".
In February 2013, the film was released on VOD and was released on DVD in the United States on May 7, 2013. Jake Rossen of The New York Times described the film's United States release as "a muted debut". The United States release was delayed because the American distributor, Viva Pictures, wanted to release it when Walmart could arrange for a satisfactory product display for the film. According to company president Victor Elizalde, Viva Pictures' modest investment of an unspecified sum had proved profitable.
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- DeMott, Rick. Animation World Network, 23 September 2011. "Foodfight Animated Feature Up for Auction". Accessed November 24, 2011.
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- Official cast list. Accessed December 23, 2009.
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The latest word is that England’s Boulevard Entertainment has picked up the rights for DVD – in Europe.
- "Foodfight!". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Commercial Alert Criticizes Movie-Length Ad Targeted at Kids".
- Eisenberg, Daniel. "It's an Ad, Ad, Ad World". Time. p. 3. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Rabin, Nathan (February 27, 2013) Supermarket Brands Sponsored Case File #34: Foodfight!, The A.V. Club, retrieved April 17, 2013
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- "Twinkies Live On -- in Film! Foodfight Will Hit Screens in 2013 From Viva Pictures". Marketwire. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Foodfight! (2012)". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- Foodfight! at the Internet Movie Database
- Foodfight! at Box Office Mojo
- Foodfight! at Rotten Tomatoes
- Archive of Official website. Original url http://www.thresholdanimationstudios.com/foodfight.html
- Information at Threshold Entertainment website at the Wayback Machine (archived January 22, 2009). Original url http://www.thethreshold.com/Threshold_foodfight.html
- Foodfight! at Behind the Voice Actors