Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, the directors of this week's big new family release Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, have been working in the world of Flint Lockwood for the better part of a decade now.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, based on the beloved children's book, hit the theaters in 2009 after years in production and it wasn't long after the film hit and was a success that Sony Animation greenlit a sequel, of which Cameron and Pearn were to be in charge.
With the film in theaters today, the filmmakers joined ComicBook.com to discuss the process of getting the movie made, and how much more support they're getting from the studio this time around now that the film is an identifiable brand that Sony knows what to do with.
ComicBook.com: The thing that really struck me when I was reading the press materials is you, ah the film is picking up like less than a minute after the previous film ended
Kris Pearn: Yeah that's one of our conceits is that the film is going to really start like Flint celebrating the victory over the FLDSMDFR and all their relatives saying the future is great! We're going to have all these dreams and hopes come true and all a sudden a helicopter drops from the sky and they're scattered.
It just gave us kind of a comedy angle to get into the story and pick up where they were last time we both were very traumatized by Karate Kid Part II [laughter] Where is the girlfriend? They do everything off camera so we had to kind of rectify that and make sure our sequel picked up right where it left off
ComicBook.com: It's funny because that's kind of, I wasn't going to mention Karate Kid, Part II but I was going to say that's something that you don't see much anymore. My example was going to be Back to the Future.
Cody Cameron: Yeah definitely, they switched the gf out on that one because it wasn't Elizabeth Shue, but that one really was the same kind of thing, where it picked up right where the first film
Pearn: One of the difficulties that we've had in terms of our story breaking is we had to set up the idea of the FLDSMDFR, which isn't an easy concept. We had to make sure that if you didn't see the first film you didn't understand what this is, because it becomes a macguffin of this film, what they're chasing in the whole movie.
So by starting it there we kind of were able to talk about what had just happened in the first movie in a very, hopefully elegant way… lt didn't feel like 'last week on Blossom…' it kind of feels organic in terms of being a… you know just gutting everybody of the same page in terms of our audience for the people who have seen the movie and the people who haven't seen the first movie
ComicBook.com: It's funny, because obviously with these animated franchise movies, the studio targets the younger demographic and a lot of them weren't old enough to go to the theater when the first one hit.
Cameron: In our first or second year working on the sequel it was playing on cable like three times a night on different channels and it really kind of became popular then. It's definitely been a growing fan base over time.
ComicBook.com: The interesting thing is I didn't see it in the theaters because I didn't have kids yet of anything but I grabbed it when it was on DVD and it's one of those things I feel like from my totally unresearched point of view I feel like its the kind of film was just bound to do really really well on TV and in video because it didn't have the kind of franchise cache to bring in an 80 million dollar opening weekend but at the same time it was a really entertaining film that was… I think the key thing with a kids movie is the staying power in terms of people wanting to go buy it on Blu-ray is that it doesn't annoy you.
Pearn: Yeah, a lot of people discovered Cloudy and I think the thing that suprised them was that how, for the lack of a better word smart it was, it wasn't just like a cartoony kids movie it actually had a lot of ideas that were in play during the course of the film like the banter between Sam and Flint the whole story about kind of let who you really are out
Cameron: Yeah, your inner nerd for Sam…
Pearn: Consumption, you know bigger is not always better all these ideas are kind of playing though the movie in a very silly way and we were always trying to make original jokes, we didn't shy away from the silly, 'those aren't brown snowballs' jokes [breaking audio] in the eyes, we definitely had, also had really cerebral things like rat birds, like why would he make a rat bird, that just… it's sort of just random. All that kind of level of comedy appeals to people and I think when we were making the movie the studio didn't know what to do with it. You know it was a different sort of film, very cartoony, very muppety and a disaster movie which is kind of tricky sell.
So I think that the film has been something that people discovered, you know what I mean, as opposed to being a big blockbuster film - and hopefully - and I mean we're finding, making the second film is that we've had tremendous support from the studio - because they're familiar with the tone of the film now. They kind of know what it is. The other things that by evolving by the story to these food animals which is an extension off of what we did in the first film - now our hook is something that they can actually sell in a different way and I think - so it just made our process and breaking the story and kind of getting it up on the screen a lot quicker in terms of what we had to jump through to sell the movie.
ComicBook.com: Well that's actually one of the things that I was just going to kind of note that the nature of this picture with the food animals is - now you have Happy Meal toys. Like, in the first move that was a lot harder to do because….
Cameron: The other thing, I think in the Bay Area they're banning happy meal toys and the things is now food is a happy meal toy, like you can take your hamburger and stick french fries in it and you've got a cheese fighter
Pearn: I mean ultimately when we were making the movie I don't think that either of us were that calculating we knew that it would be… that opportunity would be sort of on the the table and we would get that kind of support from marketing because we started the movie basically with a genre flip - a disaster movie for the first film, we were invited to come back and break a story on the second story and we were like, why don't we try a monster movie? And that monster movie very quickly turned into a like a noble savage story because of Flint's story and we want dot kind of make the food empathetic by the end.
Cameron: Yeah when we start to see all these really cute food creatures, we're like we don't want to kill these guys. We want the film to be good…
Pearn: The idea that Flint is kind of chasing his own past and trying to put it down the idea that Flint has got to accept who he is a sort of nice thematic thing - that he's got to learn in this story.