Scooby-Doo (also known as Scooby-Doo: The Movie) is a 2002 American family horror comedy mystery film. Based on the long-running Hanna-Barbera animated television series of the same name, the film was directed by Raja Gosnell, written by James Gunn and stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, Matthew Lillard and Rowan Atkinson. It is the first installment in the Scooby-Doo live-action film series.
The plot revolves around Mystery Incorporated, a group of four young adults and a talking dog who solve mysteries. After a two-year disbandment, the group reunites to investigate a mystery on a popular horror resort. Filming took place in and around Queensland.
Produced by Atlas Entertainment and Mosaic Media Group, The film was released on June 14, 2002 by Warner Bros. Pictures. Despite receiving mixed-to-negative reviews from critics, the film was a box office success, grossing $275 million worldwide against an $84 million budget.
A sequel, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, was released on March 26, 2004, followed by two made-for-television prequels: Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins, which first aired on Cartoon Network on September 13, 2009 and Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster, which also aired on Cartoon Network on October 16, 2010. This is the final film William Hanna served as the executive producer before he died of throat cancer on March 22, 2001.
At a factory, the group are investigating the Luna Ghost in a typical case. Daphne has been captured, bound with jump rope and gagged with her own scarf. The gang trap goes wrong, but despite this the ghost is captured. The ghost is revealed to be a creepy janitor. After solving the case of the Luna Ghost, the members of Mystery Inc. argue over Fred's taking credit for Velma's plan and Daphne being told she always gets captured, and the group disband. After two years, Fred, who was the group's leader, becomes a celebrity who writes his own book; Daphne, who was the team's damsel in distress, is now a black belt in karate and Velma, the team's genius, is now a NASA employee, while Shaggy and Scooby, the group's dimwitted but heroic backup, have now become beach bums.
Two years later after breaking up, the gang are each invited to the remote amusement park Spooky Island. After an airplane flight to the island in which Shaggy falls in love with a young woman named Mary Jane, who loves Scooby Snacks like him but is allergic to dogs. They meet the park's owner, Emile Mondavarious, who explains that something strange is happening to the visiting students.
Despite Fred, Velma and Daphne still refusing to work together—although Scooby and Shaggy are fine with their friends,—the five investigate. A man named N'Goo Tuana explains that the island's demons seek vengeance against Mondavarious for building the theme park, and a demon lures Scooby into the forest. Despite a warning from Voodoo Maestro, Daphne goes to a castle containing a closed-down ride, only to find the rest of the gang, who realize it is the obvious place for mysterious wrongdoing. Daphne finds a tetrahedron-shaped artifact called the Daemon Ritus, and Velma and Fred discover a classroom with a training video for non-humans. They all flee when confronted by N'Goo's henchmen, including a masked wrestler named Zarkos.
At the island's hotel, Velma reminisces about Scrappy Doo, Scooby's nephew and a little dog who was kicked out of Mystery Inc. due to his annoying behavior. Just then, monstrous demons storm in and captures Fred, Velma, Mondavarious, and most of the guests. After Scooby, Shaggy, Mary Jane and Daphne escape from the demons, Daphne learned Fred and Velma have always been there for whenever she got kidnapped and the never gave up on her now she's not giving up on them because she realizes her friendship with them is special. Mary Jane calls the Coast Guard for help, but they do nothing, having already been possessed by demons. The next day, Fred, Velma, Mary Jane and more guests are possessed, and Zarkos captures Daphne and the Daemon Ritus. When Scooby falls down a hole due to him and Shaggy falling out because Scooby saw Mary Jane's demon who had possessed her in her eyes, Shaggy follows him into an underground hideout and finds the Daemon Ritus near a vat full of protoplasmic heads containing people's souls. When he pulls Velma, Daphne and Fred out of the vat, they return to their bodies. Daphne and Fred initially get mixed up with each other, but with help from the Daemon Ritus, the sleuths return to their original bodies and find Maestro, who explains that the demons can rule Earth for the next 10,000 years if their leader absorbs a "purely good soul". They realize that the pure soul is Scooby, and that the plans mastermind is Mondavarious, who arranged for Scooby to come to the island to trick him into being a sacrifice (Although Fred notes that this still fails to explain why he and the others were brought here).
Meanwhile, Velma has discovered that the demons explode in sunlight, which is why they need to possess the guests. Finally working together again, Mystery Inc. sets a trap to kill the demons by reflecting sunlight from a skull-shaped disco ball, but it doesn't work. Fred and Velma are captured, and Scooby's protoplasm is extracted from his body leaving it limp and presumably dead. In desperation, Shaggy attacks Mondavarious as he absorbs the protoplasmic heads, freeing Scooby and revealing Mondavarious to be a robot controlled by Scrappy Doo, hoping to gain his revenge on the gang after summoning them to the island to witness his triumph. Using his newly absorbed protoplasm, Scrappy expands into a giant version of himself, and another madcap battle ensues in which Daphne uses her martial-arts skills to defeat Zarkos, who falls into the hole and lands on the vat.
When the vat tips over, the protoplasmic heads return to their bodies and Daphne deploys the disco skull, which reflects sunlight streaming down the hole, killing the demons. Shaggy sucks the remaining protoplasm back out of Scrappy, who returns to his original appearance, Fred and Daphne share a kiss, and Shaggy finds the real Mondavarious trapped underground. After a public presentation in which Fred finally allows Velma credit for her work, the members of Mystery Inc. do their signature hands-together cheer. Scrappy, N'Goo, and Zarkos are arrested and taken away by coast guard helicopters. At the Spooky Island Hotel, Scooby and Shaggy enjoy the 'all you can eat' deal that was used to lure them to the island while the credits roll. They both eat hot peppers and scream as smoke comes out of the hotel, ending the movie.
- Neil Fanning as the voice of Scooby-Doo: The titular main protagonist. He is Shaggy's best friend, and a member of Mystery Incorporated.
- Matthew Lillard as Shaggy Rogers: The cowardly member of Mystery Incorporated and Scooby's best friend. When asked about watching several cartoons before playing Shaggy, Lillard responded, "Everything I could get my hands on. If I ever have to see another episode of "Scooby-Doo," it will be way too soon." Lillard would continue voicing Shaggy in the rest of the Scooby-Doo media. Jim Carrey was originally attached to play Shaggy. Mike Myers also expressed interest in playing Shaggy.
- Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Fred Jones: The self-proclaimed leader of Mystery Incorporated. Prinze said of his character, "[He] always showed more arrogance than everyone else. So in the movie, I took the opportunity to make him as narcissistic and self-loving as possible."
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne Blake: The danger prone member and the glamor enthusiast of Mystery Incorporated.
- Linda Cardellini as Velma Dinkley: The intelligent member of Mystery Incorporated. Cardellini was also a fan of the Scooby-Doo series.
- Rowan Atkinson as Emile Mondavarious: The owner of Spooky Island.
- Isla Fisher as Mary Jane, Shaggy's girlfriend. Fisher grew up watching Scooby-Doo in Australia, and said that the "best part of making this movie was being part of an institution, something that has been in people's childhoods and is something that means a lot to a lot of people."
- Scott Innes as the voice of Scrappy-Doo: Scooby's nephew.
- Miguel A. Núñez, Jr. as Voodoo Maestro.
- Sam Greco as N'Goo Tuana.
- Steven Grives as Zarkos, Scrappy-Doo's henchmen.
- J. P. Manoux as the voice of Scrappy Rex.
Note: The cast also includes: Sugar Ray as themselves; Nicholas Hope as Old Man Smithers, a criminal involved in the Luna Ghost mystery; Michala Banas as Carol, a college student; Kristian Schmid as Brad, Carol's friend; Martin Broome as Melvin Doo; Jonathan Coffey as Fitzgibbon, a security guard; Jess Harnell and Frank Welker as the creatures who kidnap and possess humans. Pamela Anderson also makes an uncredited guest appearance in the beginning of the movie as herself. Actors Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar, who portray Fred and Daphne and are romantically involved in the film and series, became real-life husband and wife shortly after the film was released.
Producer Charles Roven began developing a live-action treatment of Scooby-Doo in 1994. By the end of the decade, the combined popularity of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, along with the addition of the script and updated digital animation led Warner Bros. to fast track production of the film. Jim Carrey, as well as Mike Myers, expressed interest in playing Shaggy. In October 2000, the film was officially given the green light, Variety reported that Raja Gosnell had been hired to direct the film.
The movie was filmed on location in and around Queensland, Australia. Production was started on February 12, 2001 at the Warner Bros. Movie World theme park, and wrapped in June 2001. The film was originally set to have a much darker tone, essentially poking fun at the original series, much like The Brady Bunch Movie, and was set for a PG-13 rating. Shaggy was set to be a stoner, and there were many marijuana references. Several rumors about these aspects in the original cartoon series were passed around by fans of the original and were to be incorporated into the live action film. In March 2001, one month into filming, the first official cast picture was released. According to actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, after the cast had signed on there was a change, and the film became more family friendly, though some of the original adult jokes are still in the film. They are also included in deleted scenes on the home media releases. In January 2001, it was reported that Rowan Atkinson was in negotiations to play Mondavarious.
Gellar also said her character and Linda Cardellini's shared an onscreen kiss that did not make the final film. "It wasn't just, like, for fun," she said, explaining it took place in the body-switching scene. "Initially in the soul-swapping scene Velma and Daphne couldn't seem to get their souls back together in the woods. And so the way they found was to kiss and the souls went back into proper alignment."
In 2017 in time for the the 15th anniversary of the release of "Scooby-Doo", James Gunn, the screenwriter for the movie revealed in a Facebook post that there was an R-rated cut of "Scooby-Doo" and that CGI was used to remove cleavage of the female cast members.
The film's score was composed by David Newman. A soundtrack was released on June 4, 2002 by Atlantic Records. It peaked at number 24 on the Billboard 200 and 49 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Shaggy performs the theme song from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, which was retitled "Shaggy, Where Are You?".
The film was released theatrically on June 14, 2002.
Reggae artist Shaggy and rock group MxPx performed different versions of the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! theme song. The Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster, a ride based on the film was built in Warner Bros. Movie World in Gold Coast, Australia in 2003.
The film was released on VHS and DVD on October 11, 2002. The release included deleted scenes and an alternate opening animated in the style of the original television series. It was later released as a double feature with its sequel on Blu-ray on November 9, 2010.
Scooby-Doo debuted with $19.2 million on its opening day, and $54.1 million over the weekend from 3,447 theaters, averaging about $15,711 per venue and ranked #1 at the box office. The film closed on October 31, 2002, with a final gross of $153 million in the United States and Canada. It made an additional $122 million in other territories, bringing the total worldwide gross to $275.7 million, making it the 15th most successful film worldwide of 2002. The film was released in the United Kingdom on July 12, 2002, and topped the country's box office for the next two weekends, before being dethroned by Austin Powers in Goldmember.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 30% based on 143 reviews with an average rating of 4.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though Lillard is uncannily spot-on as Shaggy, Scooby-Doo is a tired live-action update filled with lame jokes."On Metacritic, the film has a score of 35 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film one out of four stars, stating that the film "exists in a closed universe, and the rest of us are aliens. The Internet was invented so that you can find someone else's review of Scooby-Doo. Start surfing."Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, "Get out your pooper-scoopers. Doo happens June 14th so warn the ads for Scooby-Doo. And they say there's no truth in Hollywood."
Robin Rauzi of the Los Angeles Times called the film "entertainment more disposable than Hanna-Barbera's half-hour cartoons ever were."Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel said that although children who liked the animated version of Scooby-Doo will "probably like" the film, he urged parents to "know that the violence is a bit harder-edged than in the cartoon version". He would later go on to say that adults who remember the cartoon version "may get caught up in what Scooby would call the 'nostalgia'", but said that "adults who do not fondly recall the Scooby-Doo cartoons are strongly advised to steer clear."
Conversely, Hank Struever of The Washington Post gave the film a positive review, stating that "You don't want to love this, but you will. Although Scooby-Doo falls far short of becoming the Blazing Saddles of Generations X, Y and Z, it is hard to resist in its moronic charms."
Gellar won Choice Movie Actress – Comedy at the Teen Choice Awards. Prinze was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award (Razzie) for Worst Supporting Actor, but he lost to Hayden Christensen for Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. It was also nominated for another Razzie, Most Flatulent Teen-Targeted Movie, but lost against Jackass: The Movie.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar, who plays Daphne in the film, didn't like her go-go boots. In some shots where the camera frame doesn't show her full body, Sarah wears comfy sneakers whenever she was able.
- Freddie Prinze Jr. weren't keen on wearing Fred's trademark red ascot.
- There are hints that Mondavarious is actually Scrappy during the course of the film. During Scooby's freak-out when he saw a monster from a window, Mondavarious is seen scratching behind his ear as if he had fleas. During the scene where he convinces Scooby to be the sacrifice, his office also has bookends in the shape of dog heads and a carved dog head statue.
- When Fred, Velma, and Daphne meet up in the airport, there was originally going to be flashbacks for them during their last two years. Fred was on a book tour with his latest book, but some of the fans shun him. Velma was in a social group at NASA, but they don't seem to remember Velma when she mentions the Mystery gang. And Daphne was learning Martial Arts, but gets stuck in a tree. They were cut out from the final film because they were deemed to drag out the scene.
Differences from the animated television series