Okay, I swear I haven't run out of things to write about. Just because I have opted to write about such a trivial subject as Breakfast Cereals on a supposed cutting-edge movie site should not alarm you. In fact, you should be delighted that I would probe to such depths to show just how much the motion picture industry permeates our daily lives.
Or not. Maybe I am bored. Or crazy. Or both. But alls I know is that I'm kinda hungry, and could really dig a big bowl of Lucky Charms right about now. So in keeping with that theme, I'll go ahead and write about some cereals based on movie franchises.
Now I have to lay down some guidelines here; after all, the subject of movie cereals is a delicate matter, and I wouldn't want to misrepresent anything. First off, the cereal in question must be based off of a movie first. For instance, there was a Spider-Man cereal at one point, but it was based on the cartoon and comic Spidey and not the Tobey Maguire webslinger, therefore it does not qualify. There are a few comic heroes on my list, but their cereals were done as a merchandising tie-in to a movie, so therefore they are acceptable. Also, the cereal has to be something original. For instance, every friggin' Disney movie ever made has wound up on the Corn Flakes box, but Corn Flakes itself is not an original cereal based on that movie. Also, since I'm the one making the rules here, the cereal can be based on an animated television show, just so long as the cartoon was a movie first.
I haven't tried all of these, and some I may have eaten two decades ago, so I probably don't remember them too vividly. So I'm rating these as a collective of several factors, including obscurity, cleverness, movie coolness quotient, and where necessary, cereal quality. So without further ado, here are the top ten:
10. Addams Family Cereal
Addams Family Cereal, produced by Ralston, came out sometime around the release of the first ADDAMS FAMILY movie, which was highly successful. I can't say I ever tasted the cereal itself, nor can I find any information on the internet regarding just what the hell it consisted of. From looking at some very unflattering pictures, I'd say it was some sort of toasted puffed wheat creation. However, I'm not too sure how well a cereal tie-in could possibly be for a family who was "Creepy and cooky", "Mysterious and spooky", and "Altogether ooky".
9. Hulk Cereal
Currently on clearance at Target stores nationwide for $1.75 a box, Hulk Cereal is one of about 27 quadrillion tie-ins to this summer's HULK movie. Now, as a general rule, most character-driven cereals fall under one of two categories: Lucky Charms ripoffs or Cap'n Crunch ripoffs. A cereal with any other basis is a rarity in the merchandising tie-in category. Hulk Cereal is of the Lucky Charms variety, with puffy wheat crunch things peppered with mini-marshmallows. Of course, they're more like tightly compressed cotton candy lumps than marshmallows, but they've been getting away with calling them marshmallows for ages now. In the case of Hulk Cereal, the marshmallows are made to look like beakers, bricks, explosions, and the Hulk himself. The Hulk, however, looks more like a moldy gingerbread man than the gamma-radiated behemoth we all know and love. I haven't tried Hulk Cereal, which is made by Post, but I would guess it tastes about liek Pokemon Cereal, which I used to eat quite often as a viable cheap alternative to Lucky Charms.
8. Gremlins Cereal
There's a whole slew of jokes that could be made about Gremlins cereal, namely ones regarding what would happen if you added water instead of milk or if you ate them after midnight. I'd refrain from making those jokes, but seeing as to how I already made them, I guess it's too late. Gremlins cereal, which was a Ralston product, was basically just Cap'n Crunch in the shape of little Gizmos. Not exactly the most inspired cereal that ever rolled off the assembly line, but when your target market demographic is prepubescent kids who will pretty much eat anything with a picture of their favorite character on the box, it doesn't require that much effort.
7. Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters 2 Cereals
The GHOSTBUSTERS franchise spawned not one, not two, not even three, but four breakfast cereals, and -- get this -- they were all exactly the same. Aside from the two I have listed here, there were also two tie-ins with their animated television series, The Real Ghostbusters: The Real Ghostbusters Cereal, and Slimer! and The Real Ghostbusters Cereal. Well, that certainly is a mouthful. And the Ghostbusters cereals were perhaps the most sickeningly sugar-infested treats of their day. The "cereal" parts were merely Froot Loops with an extra bar in the middle to look like that anti-whatever-circle-with-the-line-through-it that has been universally accepted since 1984 as "The Ghostbusters Symbol". And then, if that wasn't enough sugar to give a kid seizures, they topped it off with marshmallow ghosts. The original Ghostbusters cereal had white marshmallows, but later versions of the cereal offered multicolored marshmallows. Ralston produced this cereal as well.
6. Batman Cereal
Apparently, Ralston had the market cornered on movie cereals in the 1980's, as is apparent here: Batman is the fourth cereal on our list thusfar produced by them, and we've only had five so far. I quite vividly remember eating Batman Cereal, and noting that it was basically just Cap'n Crunch in the shape of little bat symbols. However, if it is even possible, these things were even harder than the real Cap'n Crunch. Anyone who has eaten the Cap'n or any of its knockoffs has experienced a phenomenon I like to call Cap'n Crunchmouth, where the palate in the roof of your mouth gets shredded as if you had been chewing on gravel. Why one would willingly put themselves through this torturous process is beyond me, but for some reason, these type cereals remain immensely popular. There was apparently also a Batman Returns cereal produced a few years later, which was the exact same thing.
5. Jurassic Park Crunch
Somehow, I managed to completely miss Jurassic Park Crunch cereal. I only discovered its existence today while compiling information for this article. It was produced by General Mills and came out as a promotional tie-in for JURASSIC PARK 2: THE LOST WORLD. From what I can gather, it's basically just Lucky Charms with dinosaur-shaped marshmallows in it. I ranked it so high because of the obscurity factor, and because I really think it took some cajones to come up with a product called "Jurassic Park Crunch".
4. Star Wars Episode 2 Cereal
Another of the Lucky Charms variety of cereals, I quite fondly remember snacking on Star Wars Episode 2 Cereal while sifting through a drunken haze on the sunny beaches of Florida last summer. Produced by General Mills, these things wound up getting grabbed up by STAR WARS geeks all over the world as a potential investment. I recall seeing people trying to sell unopened boxes of the cereal at last year's DRAGON*CON convention, only a couple of months after their initial release. But the idea of selling breakfast foods "Mint In Package" on the aftermarket is a bit perplexing. I mean, it's cool if you want to save the box, but how much do you expect ages-old puffed corn to be worth in a few years? That's just silly, trying to hoard cereal so you can sell it in a decade. And anyone caught buying said aftermarket cereal varieties deserves to be drawn and quartered. If you've got that much money and nothing to do with it, I've got an Amazon Wish List you're welcome to buy me stuff from.
3. E.T. Cereal
General Mills' E.T. Cereal gets ranked so high partlybecause I remember loving it as a child. But perhaps even more than that is that it seems to be embroiled amidst quite a controversy amongst netizens. It seems there are two different parties of thought when it comes to what exactly E.T. Cereal was. Everyone agrees that the cereal itself was in the shape of little "E"s and "T"s. But you see, some folks remember that E.T. cereal was simply yet another Cap'n Crunch-alike, with the plain yellow corn flavor, almost as if someone spent painstaking hours just digging through boxes and boxes of Alpha-bits just to find those two letters en masse. However, most remember what I do: E.T. cereal had a peanut buttery/chocolatey flavor to it, much like E.T.'s favorite candy, Reese's Pieces. Now, the pictures I have found of this cereal lend credence to the theory that it was indeed a darker color, therefore indicating the Peanut Butter flavor is correct. However, I've read so much to the contrary that I'm inclined to believe that perhaps there were two different incarnations of the E.T. cereal at some point. I'll leave it at that, and let you investigate further if need be.
2. Bill and Ted's Excellent Cereal
Okay, anyone who doesn't understand how this entry got all the way to the number two spot, just look at the name: Bill and Ted's Excellent Cereal! I mean, how cool is that? Placed on the market by Ralston, this cereal was actually a tie-in to the animated series, but that would have never been possible without the movie to begin with, so I still qualify this product as a movie-based one. Yet another of the Lucky Charms variety of cereals, Bill and Ted's had marshmallows in the shape of musical notes, to tie in to the idea that Bill and Ted were in a band called the Wyld Stallyns. While in the long run, Bill and Ted's Excellent Cereal was indeed a marketing disaster, and quickly faded into obscurity, its existence is still perhaps one of the highlights of Alex Winter's career. Of course, that Ted guy wound up saying "Whoa" a lot and starring in really bad sci-fi movies, so I can imagine he's probably put Bill and Ted's Excellent Cereal far out of his mind by now.
Star Wars episode 2 Cereal wasn't the first original cereal based on a STAR WARS movie. In the 1980's, Kellogg's released a droid-inspired Cap'n Crunch-alike by the name of C-3PO's. This marks the only entry in our top ten by the company that got its start giving people yogurt enemas, and they managed to wind up all the way at the top of the list. C-3PO's, by themselves, weren't exactly the most interesting breakfast cereal to come down the pike. They were in strange figure-eight/capital "B" shapes, and didn't have any sort of marshmallow or fruity suprise inside to give them more appeal. simply put, these sold because they were STAR WARS related, and in 1983 or so, the STAR WARS juggernaut was in such force that you could slap a picture of Darth Vader or Han Solo on any product and it would sell like crazy. C-3PO's benefitted from a huge advertising push that actually featured real live Star Wars characters in action, filmed specifically for the commercial. I remember consuming quite a few boxes of these things as a child, and I'm sure they helped contribute to the nice menagerie of cavities I managed to amass in my younger years. Oh, and much like the aforementioned Star Wars Episode 2 Cereal, these things exist on the aftermarket. Yes, I mean full, unopened boxes of twenty-year old cereal are being purchased and hoarded by grown men and women, in hopes of turning a profit at some point. If that's not a testament to the sad state of society, I'm not sure what is.
That about wraps up our look at movie tie-in cereals, but I couldn't end this article without at least a mention of one cereal that I was forced to disqualify:
Special Mention: Mr. T Cereal
Mr. T was quite the movie star in his own right, but his cereal was based on the animated series that he starred in for many years. Mr. T Cereal was basically just another Cap'n Crunch ripoff produced by Quaker Oats, and was in the shape of little "T"'s. Nothing really fancy, but with Mr.T-mania running wild in the mid 1980's, it was still a big seller. Perhaps the most memorable moment involving Mr. T Cereal is the scene in PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE where Pee Wee greets Mr. Breakfast with a smattering of the product in question. I'll end our little article today with a transcript from that touching scene.