Based on Judi and Ron Barrett’s picture book of the same name, an animated film adaptation of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs hits theaters September 18. Originally published by Atheneum in 1978, the story is set in the town of Chewandswallow (renamed Swallow Falls in the film), which is plagued by food and beverages that rain down from the sky on a daily basis. To date, the New York Times Best Illustrated book has sold more than one million copies.
The film features the voices of Anna Faris (The House Bunny) and Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live) in the lead roles of weathergirl Sam Sparks and luckless inventor Flint Lockwood. Also contributing voices are Bruce Campbell, Neil Patrick Harris, Andy Samberg and James Caan, among others. Cloudy is the big-screen debut for directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who had previously created and directed the short-lived animated series Clone High on MTV.
The computer-animated film will be available in 3D in select theaters (read Wired magazine’s GeekDad blog’s interview with animator David Gibson for some behind-the-scenes info about the film’s animation). A trailer, games and downloadable wallpaper are available at the official movie Web site. And speaking of games, in September, Ubisoft will release a video game based on the film, which allows readers to play as Flint Lockwood. It will be available for Nintendo DS and Wii, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
In addition to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which remains in print, Simon & Schuster is offering seven tie-in books, including early readers, activity books and a junior novelization. In September, the publisher will release a paper-over-board edition of Pickles to Pittsburgh, the 1997 picture book sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. And in November, both picture books will be available in the same volume in The Complete Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Insight Editions plans a September release of The Art and Making of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Tracy Miller-Zarneke, which will include more than 300 pieces of art from the film, as well as interviews, scratch-and-sniff stickers and a foreword by Judi Barrett.
On the promotional front, Simon & Schuster has teamed up with First Book to offer a challenge to TV meteorologists. Between September 1 and 18, if weathermen/women mention that the weather forecast is “cloudy with a chance of meatballs,” Sony Pictures Animation and S&S will donate 1,000 books to First Book to distribute to children’s groups in the meteorologists’ communities. S&S will also advertise its Cloudy books on TheWeatherChannelKids.com and has provided copies for giveaways on the site.
Brooklyn-based author Judi Barrett will make select appearances in support of the book, participating in the Brooklyn Book Festival on September 13 and visiting the Brooklyn Public Library on September 17. The Barretts' latest collaboration, The Marshmallow Incident, pubbed this month from Scholastic Press.