Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (film)

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Phil Lord
Christopher Miller
Produced by Pam Marsden
Written by Phil Lord
Christopher Miller
Based on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by
Judi and Ron Barrett
Starring Bill Hader
Anna Faris
Neil Patrick Harris
James Caan
Bruce Campbell
Andy Samberg
Mr. T
Bobb'e J. Thompson
Benjamin Bratt
Al Roker
Lauren Graham
Will Forte
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Editing by Robert Fisher Jr.
Studio Sony Pictures Animation
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) September 18, 2009 (2009-09-18)
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $100 million
Box office $243,006,126[1]

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a 2009 American computer-animated family comedy film, produced by Sony Pictures Animation, distributed by Columbia Pictures, and released on September 18, 2009. The film is loosely based on the children's book of the same name by Judi and Ron Barrett.

The film features the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Bruce Campbell, James Caan, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Andy Samberg, Mr. T, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Al Roker, Lauren Graham, and Will Forte. It was written and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who both are best known for the animated TV series, Clone High, which starred Forte.



The town of Swallow Falls, located on a tiny island hidden under the “A” in "Atlantic" on the world map (corresponding to the real-life location of Bermuda), suffers an economic downturn after the demand for sardines plummets ("everyone in the world realized that sardines are super gross"). Now stuck with their supply, sardines became the sole food in Swallow Falls. The audience is introduced to Flint Lockwood, (Bill Hader) a scientist whose inventions, beginning as a child (Max Neuwirth), have all ended in disaster. Flint's latest invention, Flint Lockwood's Diatomic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator (or the FLDSMDFR, which several characters unsuccessfully try to pronounce), is a device which mutates water molecules into food; he hopes that it will end the town's sardine dependency, but his home does not have enough power to make it work.

Meanwhile, he is forced by his unsupportive and technophobic father, Tim (James Caan), to work at Tim's Bait and Tackle shop. Flint sneaks out while his father is at the unveiling of Sardine Land, a new tourist attraction created by Mayor Shelbourne (Bruce Campbell) and "Baby" Brent (Andy Samberg), the town's immature mascot. Flint, along with his pet monkey, Steve, who speaks through a "monkey-thought translator" (Neil Patrick Harris), travel to the town's power station and Flint hooks up the FLDSMDFR to the station. However, the machine absorbs so much power that it rockets off to the stratosphere and destroys Sardine Land. Flint hides under a ladder in the docks, he hears footsteps and meets Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), an intern whose chance in reporting the weather was ruined by Flint's accident. The two witness giant purple clouds raining cheeseburgers over Swallow Falls; Sam reports the events and mentions Flint is responsible. Flint becomes famous, with new foods raining down daily. The greedy Mayor Shelbourne convinces Flint to rain food three meals a day every day for a month, turning Swallow Falls into a new tourist attraction called "Chewandswallow".

Flint is becoming increasingly popular as the town is rebuilt around the food weather, while the leftovers scooped up into a catapult-like machine and flung out of the town, piling up in a small valley outside. The huge pile of food is called "Mt. Leftovers", and it is dammed up to prevent it from spillage. To make sure the FLDSMDFR doesn't become overworked, Flint has installed a remote transmitter in his lab with a monitor in the form of a gauge with a green "Safe" zone, a yellow "Danger" zone, and a red "Critical" zone.

During the week before the grand reopening, the town cop, Earl (Mr. T), request an ice cream snow day for his son, Cal's (Bobb'e J. Thompson) birthday. By this time the FLDSMDFR has begun to enter the yellow danger zone, indicating that it may become hard to control. Flint and Sam grow closer the day before the grand reopening in a giant jell-o mold that he made for her. That night, Flint invites his father to dinner as a VIP at a roofless restaurant in order to impress him with his new success. Tim instead questions the wisdom of an endless supply of food , angering Flint. After storming off, Flint notices giant hot dogs falling from the sky, and heads to his lab to investigate. He deduces that the machine is becoming unstable and tries to shut it off. The Mayor, now morbidly obese and having to move with a scooter, shows up, and convinces Flint that keeping the machine running despite it being overworked is the only way people will like him. At the Mayor's request, Flint orders spaghetti and meatballs.

The next day, tourists from around the world are arriving. Sam, who discovered that a food storm will hit Chewandswallow, tries to warn Flint about the storm that is approaching, but he does not listen to her. After Flint cuts the ribbon, a spaghetti tornado destroys half the town. Sam rejects Flint for not believing her, and Flint returns to his lab to turn off the machine, but finds the Mayor placing a huge order. Flint tries to send a kill code to the FLDSMDFR, but is thwarted by the Major; instead communication device for the FLDSMDFR is destroyed. Dismayed, Flint asks the Mayor what he ordered, and the Mayor, also dismayed, says "A Vegas style all you can eat buffet." Earl's son, Cal passes out due to excessive consumption of junk food, and Sam's cameraman Manny (Benjamin Bratt) cures him, since he was a former doctor in Guatemala. Sam patches through to the network to warn the world of the impending food storm. Flint decides that he really is a failure, but his father reassures him. Flint redesigns a previously failed Flying Car and uploads the kill code into a flash drive and heads to the center of the food storm. He encounters the townspeople turning against him, blaming him for what has happened, but Earl arrives to the rescue, stating that the mess would've never happened if Flint wasn't pushed to make so much food for the whole town (especially for the Mayor). The citizens and remaining tourists agree with Earl, who then orders them to build sandwich boats to escape into the ocean, while Flint, along with Steve, Sam, Brent, and Manny (who is also a pilot), flies up into the stratosphere to destroy the FLDSMDFR. The Mayor steals one of the sandwich boats and gets a head start while eating it at the same time, leaving the citizens on their own.

Nearing the location of the FLDSMDFR, Flint and the others find that it is inside in a giant "meatball" composed various foods. They are attacked by mutant foods genetically altered to protect the FLDSMDFR. After they escape a mutant pizza, the flash drive containing the kill code flies out the window. Flint, Sam, and Brent enter the meatball and make their way towards the FLDSMDFR. Flint calls his father and asks him to send the kill code from his lab computer to his cell phone. As Tim struggles to send Flint the kill code, the dam holding back Mt. Leftovers gives way and food covers the town. However, Tim survives the "foodalanche" and sends an email. The food storm begins to cover the world, destroying famous landmarks with giant food. In the sky, Brent, who possesses the body of a man-sized sentient chicken, holds off several other mutant chickens while Sam, attempting to save Flint, suffers an allergic reaction from a peanut allergy after being cut by a shard of peanut brittle. Sam and Flint reveal their true feelings for each other and Flint descends into the machine alone.

At the center of the meatball, Flint discovers the rogue FLDSMDFR, and sees that it has redesigned itself to expel huge amounts of giant food. He plugs in his phone and finds that his father has erroneously sent a popular Internet video of kittens singing "Fight the Power." The machine starts shooting food at Flint. As the machine prepares to expel a final blast of giant food, Flint uses his impervious Spray-On Shoes formula (also a failed invention due to the shoes being impossible to remove) to block the spout, causing the FLDSMDFR and the meatball to explode. The giant food clouds around the world disappear, and Sam, Brent, Steve, and Manny manage to land safely. They at first assume Flint was killed in the explosion, but are relieved to find he has been saved by a flock of rat-birds (failed experiments that bred at a surprising rate). Tim is finally able to express his love and admiration for his son by using Steve's monkey-thought translator, and Sam and Flint kiss. The Mayor is lost in the sea, holding a pretzel which he starts to eat.

In the end credits, shown using a different animation style than the rest of the movie, the town is named Chewandswallow 2. The famous worldwide landmarks are rebuilt, except for London; it remains as gloomy looking as it was before. Flint and Tim are shown opening a business using Spray-On Shoes as roof sealant. As for the Mayor, he is retrieved, deflated to normal size, and arrested by Earl and Cal for his actions.


  • Bill Hader as Flint Lockwood, an inventor. Max Neuwirth voices the younger Flint. Hader also did the voice of the "FLDSMDFR" machine.
  • Anna Faris as Samantha "Sam" Sparks, a weather intern from New York City and Flint's love interest.
  • Neil Patrick Harris as Steve the Monkey, Flint's pet monkey who communicates using a Speak and Spell monkey thought translator.
  • James Caan as Tim Lockwood, Flint's technophobic father.
  • Bruce Campbell as Mayor Shelbourne, the gluttonous, egotistical mayor of Swallow Falls.
  • Andy Samberg as Brent McHale, an infamous celebrity mascot of Baby Brent's Sardines.
  • Mr. T as Officer Earl Devereaux, the town's athletic cop who is very loving to his son.
  • Bobb'e J. Thompson as Calvin Devereaux, Earl's son.
  • Benjamin Bratt as Manny, Sam's Guatemalan cameraman and a former doctor, pilot, and comedian.
  • Al Roker as Patrick Patrickson, the anchorman of the weather station.
  • Lauren Graham as Frances Lockwood, Flint's mother who always believed in her son. She died ten years before Flint invented the FLDSMDFR.
  • Will Forte as Joseph Towne, a redneck citizen of Chewandswallow.


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. The Brizzi brothers were brought to direct the film, with Wayne Rice adapting the screenplay.[2] In 2006, it was reported that the film had been helmed by new directors and writers, Phil Lord and Chris Miller.[3]

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.[4]

Co-writers and co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher 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.[5]

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the second film (after Monster House) made using animation rendering software, Arnold,[6] and the open source image toolkit OpenImageIO.[7]

Marketing and release

The first trailer was released online on March 18, 2009 and premiered with Monsters vs. Aliens in 3-D, released March 27. The second trailer was released on July 1, 2009 with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 2-D and 3-D. The film released on September 18, 2009 in the US and in Japan on September 19, 2009.

The film's second trailer and some of its commercials feature Journey's "Any Way You Want It" and Europe's "The Final Countdown". For the Japanese release, Shoko Nakagawa performed a song titled "Rainbow Forecast" for the film, released on her single "Arigatō no Egao".

Home media

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 5, 2010. A 3-D Blu-ray is both as a Sony exclusive and retail on June 22, 2010.[8]


Critical response

The film has received favorable reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 86% of critics gave positive reviews based on 130 reviews (112 "Fresh", 18 "Rotten") with an average score of 7.3/10.[9] Another review aggretator, Metacritic, which normalizes a rating from mainstream critics, gave the film an approval rating of 66 based on 24 reviews.[10]

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."[11] 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." [12] 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." [13] Sandie Angulo Chen of Common Sense Media gave the film a negative review (2 out of 5 stars), saying that the "age-appropriate 3-D food adventure doesn't fully satisfy."[14]

Box office

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a box office success. The film earned $8,137,358 on its opening Friday, and ranked #1 at the box office[15] with a total of $30,304,648 for the first weekend. On its second weekend, it remained at #1 with a decrease of only 17 percent. It currently holds the record for third largest-opening weekend in the month of September. It has made a worldwide total of $243 million.[16][17]


Group Category Recipient Result
Annie Awards Animated Effects Tom Kluyskens Nominated
Best Animated Feature Nominated
Directing in a Feature Production Phil Lord and Chris Miller Nominated
Writing in a Feature Production Phil Lord and Chris Miller Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Animated Feature Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Animated Feature Film Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Animated or Mixed Media Feature Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Nominated
Outstanding Effects Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Nominated

Names in other countries

  • In Germany, the film is called "Wolkig mit Aussicht auf Fleischbällchen" (meaning the same as the English title, in the spirit of a weather forecast).
  • In Japan, the film is called "くもりときどきミートボール" ("kumori tokidoki miitobooru" the Japanese weather report version of the English title) and was released in theatres on September 19, 2009.
  • In South Korea, the film is called "하늘에서 음식이 내린다면" (meaning "If the food falls from the sky").
  • In Spain, the movie is named "Lluvia de albóndigas" (meaning "Meatball Rain").
  • In Latin America, the movie is named "Lluvia de hamburguesas" (meaning "Hamburger Rain"), except in Brazil, where it is called "Tá Chovendo Hambúrger" (meaning "It's Raining Hamburgers") .
  • In Israel, the movie is named "גשם של פלאפל" (meaning "Rain of Falafel").
  • In Italy, the movie is named "Piovono polpette" (meaning "It's raining meatballs")
  • In France, the movie is named "Tempête de Boulettes Géantes" (meaning "Giant Meatball Storm")


Video game

A video game based on the film was released by Ubisoft on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable and Microsoft Windows in September 2009.

Art book

In August 2009, Insight Editions published a companion book to the film called The Art & Making of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.


On April 12, 2010, website Io9 reported that there is a sequel in production.[18] John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the writers of Horrible Bosses and Burt Wonderstone are writing a draft of the script, which will be based on an original idea, and not on Pickles to Pittsburgh, Barrett's follow-up book. It was also reported that the original directors Lord and Miller are not returning to direct the sequel.[19]


  1. ^ "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)". Retrieved December 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Sony Taps Six to Direct Animated Slate". Animation Magazine. 2003-05-09. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  3. ^ Nguyen, Hanh (2006-08-16). "Sony Forecasts 'Chance of Meatballs'". Zap2it.,0,1483855.story. Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  4. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (2008-09-18). "Hader, Faris spice up 'Meatballs". Variety. Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  5. ^ Sloan, Sam (2006-08-16). "It’s Raining………Food?". Slice of SciFi. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  6. ^ Bharwani, Asim (2009-07). "Sneak Peek: 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs'". Moving Pictures magazine. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  7. ^ Larry Gritz (2009-09-18). "Oiio-dev mailing list: 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs...'". Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  8. ^ 3D Blu-ray announcement
  9. ^ "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  10. ^ "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  11. ^ "Go Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". LA Weekly. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  12. ^ "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Movie Review - Michael Phillips". Chicago Tribune. September 17, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  13. ^ Smith, Kyle (September 18, 2009). "Forecast: Fishy". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  14. ^ Angulo Chen, Sandie. "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Movie Review". Common Sense Media. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Friday Estimates: Meatballs And Informant Do Well, Jennifer's Body And Love Happens Don't". The Box Office Junkie. September 19, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Boxofficemojo data". 
  17. ^ "'Cloudy' Outshines Surrogates And Fame In Box Office". LexiB. January 24, 2010. 
  18. ^ Meredith Woerner (2010-04-12). "Cloudy With Meatballs 2 Is Happening — Minus The Original Directors". Io9. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  19. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (2011-07-06). "With sequel, 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' looks to continue its rain". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 

External links

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