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 Barrett 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 Chris Miller.
The film received very positive reviews, and was a modest box office success, earning $243 million worldwide. A sequel, titled Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, is scheduled to be released on September 27, 2013.
Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) has always wanted to construct something spectacular; however, his devices have repeatedly failed. Among his failed inventions are Spray on shoes, remote controlled television, rat birds, hair unbalder and the flying car. He lives in Swallow Falls with his technophobic father Tim (James Caan) who misunderstands his son's talent. The Baby Brent Sardine cannery within their town had closed down, leaving the town to only feed on sardines for nourishment.
Flint, along with the aid of his pet monkey, Steve (Neil Patrick Harris), invents a mechanism that mutates water into food, called the "Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator" the FLDSMDFR for short. The mechanism absorbs masses of megawatts of electricity from the nearby power plant and ends up rocketing through town and shooting up into the stratosphere, destroying Sardine Land. While recuperating from his failure, he meets Samantha "Sam" Sparks (Anna Faris), a weather intern whose big break was foiled by Flint's actions. The two witness clouds floating over the town that rain cheeseburgers, much to everyone's astonishment and happiness.
Realizing his accomplishment and potential, Flint invents a communication device to send orders to the FLDSMDFR to order certain types of food. Swallow Falls (now renamed Chewandswallow) is now attracting tourists. Everyone is going well until Tim fails to show appreciation for his son including the fact that the people (including the Mayor) start greedily requesting food for Flint to rain. Flint notices that the food is beginning to rain in massive quantities, but the Mayor (now morbidly obese) sees it as a better outcome for him and the city.
Citizens and worldly tourists in Chewandswallow are blissful until suddenly a large destructive tornado formed of spaghetti and meatballs threatens the town. Flint rushes to the lab to turn the FLDSMDFR off and attempts to send a 'kill code' to stop the machine. However, the Mayor accidentally destroys the communication device while trying to stop Flint from turning off the machine. A massive food storm threatens the world and Flint loses hope. However, his father encourages him to fix the mess. Flint gains self-confidence and places the kill code in a USB flash drive and invents the Flying Car 2. Flint, Sam, her cameraman, Manny (Benjamin Bratt), Steve and Brent (Andy Samberg) set out to terminate the FLDSMDFR. Entering the stratosphere, they find that the machine is the sole core of a giant meatball and sends sentient food to attack them. In the chaos, Flint loses the kill code when the flash drive flies out of the Flying Car 2.
Meanwhile in Chewandswallow, the citizens and tourists, with the help of Earl (Mr. T), escape. Mt. Leftovers collapses, causing an avalanche of food — a foodalanche — to destroy Chewandswallow. The foodalanche covers Flint's Lab with Tim still trying to send Flint the kill code. However, he survives and he successfully clicks send. Flint encounters the machine and jams the phone into the USB port. However, Tim had sent him the wrong document, but Flint destroys the machine by using his Spray-On formula and it explodes. They return safely to the aftermath of Chewandswallow. Tim finally shows his appreciation for his son and his inventions and then Flint and Sam celebrate with a kiss.
Meanwhile, the obese mayor gets stranded in the middle of the sea, having eaten nearly all of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich boat.
None of the characters in the film exist in the books and are completely original to the film.
The town was always known as Chewandswallow, and there is no mention of it ever being called Swallow Falls.
There is no mention of the town ever having been an export of sardines in the books.
In the books, it is unknown what causes the strange and wondrous weather phenomenon.
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. In 2006, it was reported that the film had been helmed by new directors and writers, Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
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.
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.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the second film (after Monster House) made using animation rendering software, Arnold, and the open source image toolkit OpenImageIO.