Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (film)

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. 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.

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
Screenplay 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]

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.


Flint Lockwood is an aspiring scientist who lives in Swallow Falls, a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that has sardines as the base of its economy, but the Baby Brent Sardines cannery has closed and gone bankrupt due to worldwide disgust of sardines as food, which was all the residents had to eat from then on. Flint lives with Tim, his widowed father, and his pet monkey, Steve. One day, Flint invents a machine that transforms water into food called the "Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator" (FLDSMDFR). Flint turns on the FLDSMDFR in his laboratory, but ends up overloading and subsequently shorting out his house's electrical supply. Flint then decides to power the machine by hooking it up to the large riser pole at the nearby power substation. When Flint turns the machine back on, it ends up rocketing through town which accidentally destroys the town square of the Sardine Land (a park conceived by the town’s mayor) before ultimately rocketing up into the sky. While recovering from his failure, Flint meets Samantha "Sam" Sparks, a weather intern whose big break was ruined by the incident and accident. Their conversation is curtailed when brightly colored clouds float over the town and begin to rain cheeseburgers.

The town rejoices in their new food choices and Flint creates a communication device to send orders to the machine and order it to create different types of food. As a result, Swallow Falls (now renamed Chewandswallow) suddenly becomes a successful "food tourism" destination. Flint and Sam grow closer and Sam opens up to Flint about her bullied past and how she felt like she had to hide who she truly was: a “nerd”. Flint encourages Sam to be herself because she’s beautiful just the way she is, and the two almost kiss. Everything is going well until the townsfolk start greedily requesting food from Flint's machine. Flint notices that the food is beginning to grow larger in size. Although Flint is concerned that the food is starting to "over mutate", Mayor Shelbourne, now morbidly obese, schemes to use Flint's invention for his own personal gain. Citizens and worldly tourists in Chewandswallow are blissful until suddenly a large tornado formed of spaghetti and meatballs threatens the town. Flint rushes to his lab to turn off the FLDSMDFR by sending a "kill code" to stop the machine, but the mayor, while trying to stop him by throwing a giant radish at him. This destroys the communication device after ordering a Vegas-style all-you-can-eat buffet (VSAYCB). With the device destroyed, the FLDSMDFR becomes sentient and creates a massive food storm which threatens the entire world, and colossal food downpours terrorize various cities and their landmarks.

Flint soon loses hope; however, Tim encourages him to fix the mess. Flint gains self-confidence, places the kill code in a USB flash drive, and builds a new flying car to reach and destroy the FLDSMDFR, but when he tells the town his plan they attack him for the destruction his invention caused until Officer Earl defends him, stating that while Flint did make the food, it was their greed that pushed him to it. While Earl organizes the evacuation of the town, Flint with the aid of Sam, her cameraman Manny, Steve and Brent, go to stop the FLDSMDFR. 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, where clouds go in the top and large food storms comes out the bottom. The machine sends living food to attack them as the flash drive with the kill code flies out of the window when a slice of bread smashes the window. Flint calls Tim to go to his lab to email a kill code file to his phone. Sam,Brent and Flint enter the meatball they then run into living roast chickens which one of them eats Brent but he takes control of it. Back in Chewandswallow the citizens and tourists escape while the last leftovers fall. The dam at Mt. Leftovers collapses, due to the weight of the oversized food behind it causing an avalanche of food that destroys the town. Despite the avalanche ravaging Flint's lab, Tim manages to re-send the kill code to Flint's cell phone. While Brent fights the roast chickens Sam lowers Flint down a tunnel and suddenly the giant meatball jolts, causing Sam to fall and let go of the rope, causing Flint to fall. Sam grabs the rope but accidentally, gets cut by a piece of peanut brittle (which she's allergic to), and her face and arms begin swelling up. Flint instructs Brent to take Sam back to the plane and get her a shot, but Sam refuses to let Flint go. They two confess their love for each other before Flint selflessly cuts the rope and plummets down. Sam and Brent make it back to the plane after Brent fights off the roast chickens.

In the tunnel, Flint finds the machine which tries to shoot food at him, but he sneaks behind the machine, swings and ties it up, and connects the phone to a port. To his horror, Flint discovers that Tim accidentally sent him the wrong file, so he is unable to stop the FLDSMDFR which then breaks free and flails with Flint still holding on to it. Flint then uses his Spray-On Shoes formula on the machine by plugging the hole where the food comes out, causing it and the giant meatball to explode, seemingly killing him. With the machine destroyed, the food storm subsides 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.

Meanwhile, the Mayor, still stranded into the water, mutters to himself: "This was not well thought out," ending the movie.

Voice castEdit

  • 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
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 listingEdit

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 mediaEdit

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 bookEdit

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 responseEdit

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 officeEdit

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 franchiseEdit


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 seriesEdit

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 alsoEdit

Real life food spill disasters


  1. ^ Debruge, Peter (September 17, 2009). "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs". Variety. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  2. ^ "Info". Mutato Muzika. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  3. ^ "GeekDad Talks Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs with Directors Chris Miller & Phil Lord". Wired. August 6, 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
  4. ^ "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". The Numbers. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "L.A. Premiere of 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs'/". September 12, 2009. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
  8. ^ Ball, Ryan (May 9, 2003). "Sony Taps Six to Direct Animates Slate". Animation Magazine. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  9. ^ Nguyen, Hanh (August 16, 2006). "Sony Forecasts 'Chance of Meatballs'". Zap2it. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  10. ^ Phil Lord (October 11, 2012). Rewriting Collective Insights: Phil Lord at TEDxCoconutGrove. TEDx Talks. Retrieved September 20, 2018 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (September 18, 2008). "Hader, Faris spice up 'Meatballs". Variety. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  12. ^ Sloan, Sam (August 16, 2006). "It's Raining.........Food?". Slice of SciFi. Archived from the original on October 2, 2012. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
  13. ^ Bharwani, Asim (July 2009). "Sneak Peek: 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs'". Archived from the original on 2009-07-30. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
  14. ^ IMAX Corporation (July 29, 2009). "Sony Pictures Animation's Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs to be released in IMAX(R) 3D" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  15. ^ Nemiroff, Perri (November 27, 2009). "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs Pours Onto DVD In January". Cinema Blend. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  16. ^ McCutcheon, David (November 9, 2009). "Meatballs Cloud Up Home". IGN. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  17. ^ Calonge, Juan (June 10, 2010). "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 3D Blu-ray Announced". Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  18. ^ Silver, Curtis (October 21, 2009). "Get Visual With the Art of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs". Wired. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  19. ^ "The Art and Making of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Hardcover)". Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  20. ^ "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  21. ^ "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  22. ^ Kaufman, Amy (September 29, 2013). "'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2' is No. 1 on crowded weekend". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 14, 2017. Both installments received an average grade of A-, according to market research firm CinemaScore.
  23. ^ Hardy, Ernest (September 16, 2009). "Movie Reviews: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Jennifer's Body, Love Happens". LA Weekly. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  24. ^ Phillips, Michael (September 17, 2009). "'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs' -- 2 1/2 stars". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  25. ^ Smith, Kyle (September 18, 2009). "Forecast: Fishy". New York Post. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  26. ^ Litt, Stefan (November 26, 2013). "Smurfs 3". WikiLeaks. Archived from the original on August 20, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  27. ^ Gray, Brandon (September 21, 2009). "Weekend Report: Moviegoers Feast on 'Meatballs,' Slim Pickings for 'Jennifer'". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  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.
  30. ^ "37th Annual Annie Nominations and Awards Recipients". Archived from the original on August 15, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  31. ^ "15TH ANNUAL CRITICS CHOICE MOVIE AWARDS (2010) – BEST PICTURE: THE HURT LOCKER". November 21, 2011. Archived from the original on September 30, 2012. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  32. ^ "THE 67TH ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS NOMINATIONS". December 15, 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-07-31. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  33. ^ "2009 Satellite Awards". Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  34. ^ "8th Annual VES Awards". Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  35. ^ Sony Pictures Animation (August 21, 2012). "Delicious Voice Cast Storms In To 'Cloudy 2: Revenge Of The Leftovers'". PR Newswire. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  36. ^ Breznican, Anthony (August 21, 2012). "CAUTION: Food may eat YOU in 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' sequel -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  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 linksEdit