Foodfight! (lost early version of CGI animated film; 2002)
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|A promotional still released in 2003.|
Foodfight! (Early Version) is a lost CGI-animated movie from Threshold Animation Studios, having been originally slated for a Christmas 2003 release. However, the hard drives that contained the film were stolen, and production was delayed for a decade.
- 1 History
- 2 Plot
- 3 Discoveries
- 3.1 Notes about the original trailer
- 3.2 Early version assets seen in the final film
- 3.3 List of known mascots and products who are/were going to be in the film, and possibly the early version
Conception for the lost early version of the film first materialised in 1997, from Lawrence Kasanoff and Joshua Wexler, at the time, an employee of Threshold. In late 1997, Threshold applied for two trademarks for the "Foodfight" name related to merchandising. A $25 million grant was issued on behalf of a Korean capital firm, at the request of Wexler, and an additional $50 million was expected through various product placement and pre-sale market hype of the film. With cash in hand, development of the film began in 2002. CGI and voice over work took place at Threshold's Santa Monica, California studio.
However, the film reached an impasse in development in December 2002. Hard drives containing the film's progress were reportedly stolen, leading to the entire film having to be made over again from scratch. As the majority of the budget was already spent on licensing products, mascots, actors, and production, it was given a new "live-action" take and was produced on a very restricted budget, using the insufficient software. On its heavily delayed release in 2012, the movie received negative reviews, with most criticism directed towards the abysmal CGI animation. Critics described the movie as "stiff, jerky, lifeless and unfinished," in addition to noting other problems, like uncomfortable sexualization and a terrible script.
The pre-theft version was a hopeful production that was expected to showcase the uniqueness and ability of Threshold Animation Studios. Critics and investors were initially so confident in the film that some of them actually called Threshold "the next-generation Pixar."
Foodfight! is stylised as "Toy Story in a supermarket," as it was about a supermarket that came to life when the store closed. The film includes many legendary food mascots, representing the large portion of the budget that came from product placement. The film stars actors and actresses such as Charlie Sheen and Hillary Duff, playing original mascots Dex Dogtective and Sunshine Goodness, respectively.
It's unknown whether Foodfight! could have somewhat lived up to the hype surrounding its original production. The early progress on the film that may have been salvageable currently resides on the hard drives that, to this day, are still lost. It's estimated that there may be around 60% of the completed film in existence. The few things that are available from the early version of Foodfight! include an early trailer with significantly better animation, displaying the various merchandise made to promote the film.
Early article mentioning the dropped, web-only prequel series, The Pre-Expiration Date Adventures of Dex Detective: http://kidscreen.com/2001/06/01/30907-20010601/
Threshold Animation Reel containing the same footage with different audio, possibly from the early version of the film (2:03 - 2:05): https://web.archive.org/web/20140415123943/http://thresholdanimationstudios.com/video/reel.ogg
Kung Foolish clip with intro that seems to be at the very least based on the early version's assets (0:00 - 0:11): https://vimeo.com/135513847
Old Foodfight! website: http://web.archive.org/web/20060421111622/http://www.foodfight.com/FF-flash.html
Notes about the original trailer
- Most of the scenes and even shots are identical to the final film, which goes along to show just how much may have been similar. Some of the completely original parts not seen anywhere in the final film include:
- (0:20 - 0:23) Chester Cheetah scene, as he didn't make it into the final movie. This could be from the opening where the market is coming to life considering its placement in the trailer.
- (0:26 - 0:28) Dex fighting the red ninja mascot. In the final film, he is seen confronting the Fat Cat Burglar and Hairless Hamsters, but there wasn't any physical combat involved, and it took place on top of an air balloon.
- (0:55 - 0:57) Lord Flushington gets trampled by a manhole cover. This also happens in the final film but in daytime and with Mr Clean in the background instead.
- (1:08 - 1:09) Dex is seen dancing with an unknown redhead. This could be the scene from the final movie where he dances with Lady X.
- (1:36 - 1:41) Second Chester Cheetah scene.
- Around the 0:09 mark, an image of Donkey Kong: Coconut Crackers minus the "Donkey Kong" part of the logo can be seen in the background. It is unknown why, but it may have been either a placeholder or other type of product in the store. It's also unusual in that Donkey Kong: Coconut Crackers wasn't released to the public, except reworked as It's Mr. Pants in 2004 after Rare lost the rights to the Donkey Kong series after being bought out by Microsoft in 2002.
- (1:09 - 1:11)(1:22 - 1:26) These are actually shots from the final movie, implying the trailer may have been made after the theft if not for the mismatched audio still being overheard on these parts, meaning the new footage may have been placed over certain parts of the trailer. In the first one, the voice of someone that could be Twinkleton can be heard. In the second, a laugh from the dictator can be heard as well as marching, a plane soar, and a scream.
Early version assets seen in the final film
List of known mascots and products who are/were going to be in the film, and possibly the early version
Apparently, the film was originally going to have animated versions of 80 name-brand products and their associated characters.
- K.C. Penguin
- Energizer Bunny
- Charlie the Tuna
- Mr. Clean
- Twinkie the Kid
- Curly Cupcake
- Vlasic Stork
- Duncan Hines
- Lenders Bagel Boy
- Mrs. Buttersworth
- Mama Celeste
- Tootsie Roll Owl
- Tootsie Roll Midge
- Dinty Moore Lumberjack
- The California Raisins
- Mr. Bubble
- Chef Boyardee
- Aunt Jemina?
- Chester Cheetah (Trailer, Commercial Alert, The Wall Street Journal, Box Office Prophets)
- Lipton Tea Man (Trailer, Commercial Alert)
- Brawny Paper Towel Man (The New York Times (first article), The New York Times (second article))
- Coca-Cola Polar Bears (The New York Times (first article))
- Uncle Ben (The Wall Street Journal, Box Office Prophets)
- Count Chocula? (The Wall Street Journal)
- Alphabits (The Wall Street Journal, Box Office Prophets)
- M&M's (The Wall Street Journal, Foodfight! website, Commercial Alert, The New York Times (second article))
- Contadina Lady (Scrapped before theft)(The Wall Street Journal)
- Dolly Madison (The Wall Street Journal)
- Mr. Pringle (Commercial Alert, Box Office Prophets)
- Silly Rabbit (Box Office Prophets)
- Honey Bear (Box Office Prophets)
- Chiquita Banana Lady (Box Office Prophets)
- Cocoa Puffs Bird (Box Office Prophets)
- Honey Nut Cheerios Bee (Box Office Prophets)
- Lucky (Box Office Prophets)
- Cap'n Crunch (Cartoon Brew)
- Angel Soft Baby (The New York Times (second article))
- Little Debbie (The New York Times (second article))
Products (not including those of the characters)
- Blue Bunny
- The Hostess Truck
- Wonderbread, The Wonderbread Truck
- Log Cabin
- Van De Kamp's
- Mrs. Paul's
- Open Pit
- Sugar Babies
- Spam?, Spammobile?
- Palmotive (Trailer)
- Colgate (Trailer)
- Kleenex (Trailer)
- Gilette (Trailer)
- Reese's Puffs (Trailer)
- Fruit Loops (Trailer, Promotional Image)
- Cookie Crisp (Promotional Image)
- Kix (Promotional Image)
- Creamette (Promotional Image)
- Honey Bunches of Oats (Promotional Image)
- Cream Wheat (Promotional Image)
- Pops (Promotional Image)
- Eggo Cereal (Promotional Image)
- Crispix (Promotional Image)
- Special K (Promotional Image)
- Rasin Bran (Promotional Image, Commercial Alert)
- Corn Pops (Promotional Image)
- Waffle Crisp (Promotional Image)
- Imperial Margerine (Commercial Alert)
- Ragu (Commercial Alert)
- Cup-A-Soup (Commercial Alert)
- Wishbone (Commercial Alert)
- Pedigree (Commercial Alert)
- Whiskas (Commercial Alert)
- Skittles (Commercial Alert)
- Snapple (Commercial Alert)
- RC Cola (Commercial Alert)
- Motts Applesauce (Commercial Alert)