Foodfight! (lost early version of CGI animated film; 2002)


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Foodfight (original 2002 version)
A promotional still released in 2003.
A promotional still released in 2003.
Status Lost

Foodfight! is a CGI-animated movie from Threshold Animation Studios, considered by many to be one of the worst animated films of all time. The early version of the film seemed to be a lot different from the original and was slated for a Christmas 2003 release. However, the hard drives that contained the film were stolen, and production was stuck in development hell for a decade.

History

Conception for the first version of the film materialized 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. Threshold thought that the pre-theft version was going to showcase the uniqueness and ability of their studio. Critics and investors were initially so confident in the film that some of them actually called Threshold "the next-generation Pixar."

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 the uncomfortable sexual jokes and a terrible script.

Plot

Foodfight! is stylized as a "Toy Story in a supermarket," as it was about products in a supermarket that come to life when the store is closed. The film includes many legendary food mascots, representing the large portion of the budget that came from the product placement. The film stars actors and actresses such as Charlie Sheen and Hillary Duff, playing original mascots Dex Dogtective and Sunshine Goodness respectively.

Discoveries

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.

Larry Kasanoff, the film's director, with concept art and stills of the original version of the film.
Promotional image from Foodfight!.
The original trailer for the film.
Daniel Browning Smith's stunts reel containing his clip of the early version of the film (2:01 - 2:13).
Threshold Animation Reel containing the same footage from the prequel with different audio (2:03 - 2:05).
Kung Foolish clip with intro that seems to be at the very least based on the early version's assets (0:00 - 0:11).

Notes about the original trailer

-Most of the scenes and shots are identical to the final film, which goes along to show just how much the two versions have been similar. Some of the completely original parts not seen anywhere in the final film include:

- (0:20 - 0:23) A Chester Cheetah scene, as he didn't appear in the final version of the film. 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 a red ninja mascot. In the final film, the ninja 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) A scene where the character 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) A 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.

Mascots

Final Film
  • K.C. Penguin
  • Energizer Bunny
  • Punchy
  • Charlie the Tuna
  • Mr. Clean
  • Twinkie the Kid
  • Curly Cupcake
  • Vlasic Stork
  • Duncan Hines
  • Lenders Bagel Boy
  • Mrs. Buttersworth
  • Hungry-Man
  • Mama Celeste
  • Tootsie Roll Owl
  • Tootsie Roll Midge
  • Spammy
  • Dinty Moore Lumberjack
  • The California Raisins
  • Mr. Bubble
  • Chef Boyardee
  • Aunt Jemina?
Cut
  • 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)

Final Film
  • Blue Bunny
  • Swifter
  • Crest
  • Glide
  • The Hostess Truck
  • Wonderbread, The Wonderbread Truck
  • Ding-Dongs
  • Suzy-Os
  • Ho-Hos
  • Zingers
  • Log Cabin
  • Van De Kamp's
  • Mrs. Paul's
  • Open Pit
  • Swanson?
  • Dots
  • Crows
  • Sugar Babies
  • Hormel?
  • Spam?, Spammobile?
  • Ascendia
  • Farmland
Cut
  • 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)

External Links

Comments


avatar

Anonymous user #1

20 months ago
Score 3++
It is rather impressive how despite having TEN YEARS to re-do the whole thing, the animators somehow made it infinitely more ugly.
avatar

Reynard

20 months ago
Score 0++
And with so much money!!
avatar

Dinglus

20 months ago
Score 2++
I'd say this is because the animators had not much of a clue as to what the film was going to be like. Also, there are a handful of post-mortems you might be able to find. Then again, I doubt any of animators would want to go in depth with their experience on this film.
avatar

Anonymous user #2

20 months ago
Score 0++
I read somewhere that the majority of the budget was spent on actors, product placement, etc. for the original film. So when the work was lost, the film makers had little money left to play with.
avatar

Anonymous user #3

19 months ago
Score 0++
One thing I don't get is the lack of hindsight. I mean, not all of the advertising mascots (if they were expecting brand name recognition) are used outside of North America, so international audiences wouldn't recognise them and just think of it as some generic animated adventure rather than getting all the humour and in-jokes relating to old advertising campaigns. Since the vast majority of movies gain their budget back through INTERNATIONAL screenings rather than just domestic, I can't imagine it was the cleverest of ideas that's ever gone through Mr. Kasanoff's head...
avatar

Anonymous user #6

18 months ago
Score 0++
They actually waited 9 years to start doing it again.
avatar

SilverTheGamer

8 months ago
Score 0++
The original looks decent for 2003, but THIS is impossible to excuse.
avatar

Reynard

20 months ago
Score 0++
But then, the director originally worked on some crappy Mortal Kombat adaptations before this... you know, Mortal Kombat WITHOUT what made it cool, i.e. the awesome violence! If he can't even do that right...
avatar

Kablamoid

20 months ago
Score 0++
But not as bad.... as the mortal Kombat cartoon... you know the one wi- KOMBAT TIME (i hated that show so much)
avatar

Reynard

20 months ago
Score 0++
Turning a gory-bloody game to a kid cartoon. What were they thinking?? Wouldn't the parents object? Just because of its legacy?
avatar

Bazzard

9 months ago
Score 0++
The first MK movie is an amazing film with tons of camp that manages to make the source material work directly because it didn't want to be a 1:1 adaption of the game. The later MK materials...sure, not so good, but don't talk shit about MK1.
avatar

BluebearPudge8000

19 months ago
Score 0++
I would have liked to see the original 2003 version, even though it would still have those sexual innuendos and terrible script.
avatar

TPJ

19 months ago
Score 3++
A lot of the shots in the original animation are the exact same even.
avatar

Anonymous user #4

19 months ago
Score 1++
Why did they not have back-ups? Always back up your hard drives!
avatar

Anonymous user #5

18 months ago
Score 0++
I think the funniest part of this movie is that they somehow kept the voice actors on board for TEN YEARS. I mean, hell, Hillary Duff isn't even relevant in pop culture anymore.
avatar

Anonymous user #6

18 months ago
Score 0++
They waited 9 years to start making it again,so it took them one year.
avatar

Anonymous user #7

12 months ago
Score 0++
it looks the same.
avatar

Anonymous user #8

11 months ago
Score 0++
And whatever the original version of foodfight were gonna find this early version
avatar

Mrkoolnerd

9 months ago
Score 0++
avatar

Mrkoolnerd

9 months ago
Score 0++
also the movie itself was sold at some point before being released
avatar

Anonymous user #9

9 months ago
Score 0++
They shoudl've just cut their losses and given up forever.
avatar

Anonymous user #10

8 months ago
Score 1++
Whoever stole it probably sold it to some shady people that have no idea what they have... This is just a random guess, of course.
avatar

Anonymous user #15

3 months ago
Score 1++
Or they stole the hard drive because it's the big, fancy, expensive type used by Hollywood. They could have just wiped it and sold the equipment to whoever was willing to deal with the shady past.
avatar

Josh2000

7 months ago
Score 2++

This article mentions that the concept began development in 1999. From some of my research I've been doing into Foodfight! I've been able to see that Threshold filed two trademarks for Foodfight on December 15, 1997. You can see them here:

1 - http://www.t...5978287.html

2 - http://www.t...5405140.html

So yeah, the concept was created around late 1997 at the latest. Maybe earlier then that. So can we update the article to reflect this?
avatar

Anonymous user #11

7 months ago
Score 2++
It's easy to tell when the newer footage was inserted into the trailer: the aspect ratio changes. The article lists all but one of the new shots, at around 0:38.
avatar

Anonymous user #12

6 months ago
Score 0++
We're talking about 1:24-1:56
avatar

Anonymous user #13

5 months ago
Score 0++
Why would anyone even wanna steal this?
avatar

Let's groinaworld

3 months ago
Score 1++

They were trying to prevent this from happening.

They failed. Oh lordy, did they fail.
avatar

UglyBarnacle58

4 months ago
Score 1++
ITS DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME
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SADLAD84

4 months ago
Score 1++
frankly my dear i don't give a spam
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Anonymous user #14

3 months ago
Score 0++
one of the worst movies ever
avatar

William8456

3 months ago
Score -1++
Don't u measn best?
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Happy Brian

2 months ago
Score 0++

It should be noted that Donkey Kong: Coconut Crackers did technically get released to the public in 2005, but with a different character named Mr. Pants after Rare got bought by Microsoft in 2002 which meant they lost the rights to make games with Nintendo's characters and either had to cancel the games planned for them or rework them entirely with one of their original characters.

Here is the GameFAQs page for the reworked game: https://www....its-mr-pants and the Unseen64 page for the original game mentions it was reworked into It's Mr. Pants: https://www....rs-gba-beta/
avatar

Anonymous user #17

1 months ago
Score 0++
Why'd you mention that here? That literally has nothing to do with the topic!
avatar

Happy Brian

1 months ago
Score 0++
I wanted to correct a minor detail in the article before I got my email confirmed. The "Coconut Crackers" part of the logo is in the original trailer at 0:09 if you look closely.
avatar

Anonymous user #16

2 months ago
Score 0++
I wonder where all the footage is at as of now....we will never know...
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