- Directed By: Lawrence Kasanoff
- Written By: Lawrence Kasanoff, Brent V. Friedman, Rebecca Swanson, Sean Catherine Derek
- Release Date: May 7, 2013
- Domestic Distributor: Viva Pictures
- Cast: Charlie Sheen, Hilary Duff, Eva Longoria
Box Office Info:
|Budget: $65 million||Financed by: Threshold Entertainment; Natural Image; StoryArk|
|Domestic Gross: $0||Overseas Gross: $73,706|
Writer/director Lawrence Kasanoff, Threshold Entertainment’s Chairman was responsible for this mess, who ambitiously cleared the legal rights for 80 major brand name products to use as animated characters and foolishly took on directing duties with no animation experience — the result is arguably the worst animated feature with a legitimate budget. Kasanoff’s Threshold Entertainment began putting Foodfight! together in 2000, where Threshold and a Korean investment organization called Natural Image invested $25 million into the budget and expected pre-sales to worldwide distributors to cover the remaining $25 million of their expected $50 million budget. After animation was well underway, the hard drives were stolen around Christmas 2002 and since there was no backup data, the animators had to start over.
Kasanoff used this as an opportunity to change the animation style to motion capture and the mishandling of that technology made the cheapest flash animation seem sophisticated by comparison. In this NYtimes article about the production, Kasanoff’s directing would apparently consist of telling the animators the scene needed to be “more awesome” or “30 percent better” and didn’t understand the difference between a person trained in texturing vs modeling. Despite missing release deadlines due to the theft and Kasanoff’s inability to keep the production moving fluidly, Threshold Entertainment was pushing itself to be the “the next-generation Pixar.” Kasanoff predicted $100 million in advertising on behalf of the companies that licensed their products to the film, which was essentially one giant piece of product placement.
Kasanoff continued with ambitious plans for web episodes leading to release, toys, books and more delusionally, a live Foodfight! show on ice. In 2005, Kasanoff secured an additional $20 million from private investors through StoryArk, who were impressed by the licensing deals and Lionsgate came on as US distributor. After missed release dates in 2006 and 2007 Lionsgate dropped the film, StoryArk’s investors seized control of this trainwreck and invoked their right to have insurance company Fireman’s Fund take over the production. The insurance company pushed through the remaining bits of animation as quickly and cheaply as possible. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, through International Film Guarantors sold off the movie at auction for just $2.5 million after Threshold lost the rights from defaulting on a loan.
Viva Pictures took US distribution for a VOD/DVD release and delayed the movie, until Walmart could have a display for Foodfight! and Viva claims their modest investment in Foodfight! has been profitable. Foodfight! saw a brief theatrical release in the UK and Russia to all of $73,706 and it went straight to video or TV in the few countries that picked up the picture. The budget for Foodfight! has been reported as high as $65 million and the movie has small signs of life in the annals of bad cinema.