californiaraisins californiaraisins
Feature Film

California Raisins Set For Comeback In Live-Action/CG Feature (Exclusive)


EXCLUSIVE: Jem, DuckTales, and Ghostbusters are already taken, so what’s the next iconic Eighties property that’s ripe for a reboot? I’m hearing through the grapevine that the California Raisins, the fictional R&B/soul-themed ad mascots, are next on the list.

Rusty Citron, who is president of the Actors Hall of Fame Foundation, an organization that he founded, confirmed to Cartoon Brew today that he is involved with developing a live-action/CG hybrid feature starring the California Raisins. An international theatrical release is planned for late fall of 2016 or spring 2017, Citron said.

The shriveled-grape quartet, who themselves traded in on 1960s Motown nostalgia, were made famous through a series of Claymation spots animated by Will Vinton Studios. The characters transcended their ad-based origin and became unexpectedly popular, releasing four music albums, multiple primetime animated specials, prolific merchandising, and even a short-lived cel-animated Saturday morning series. At the height of the Raisins craze, musicians like Michael Jackson and Ray Charles were recording songs for their commercials. But, like many of the real musical groups they were imitating, the Raisins fizzled out a few brief years after rocketing to stardom.

Fast forward twenty-five years, and veteran Hollywood player Rusty Citron is the man spearheading the bigscreen musical comeback of the Caifornia Raisins. Citron has experience reviving vintage properties. He tells Cartoon Brew that he was senior vice-president at New World Pictures in the late 1980s, and when the company purchased Marvel Comics from Cadence, he was responsible for leading the team with Stan Lee that re-launched Spider-Man and other Marvel characters.

Citron has recently been making the rounds pitching the California Raisins revival to raisin industry heavyweights and decision-makers. In February, he made a presentation in Fresno, California, to the California Raisin Marketing Board, the group that replaced the California Raisin Advisory Board, which had originally commissioned the characters. Last Saturday, he pitched the idea again to the Raisin Bargaining Association, also in Fresno.

While Citron isn’t sharing many details yet, he says that additional information on production and distribution will be released later this year.

(h/t, James Gonzalez)

  • DBenson

    Recalling Michael Eisner’s grand plans to reboot Bazooka Joe. And “Foodfight”.

    • Jamie

      Ah, Foodfight…I don’t think there’s a single film in existence quite like it. Everything bad about the film industry, processed into one film.

  • BurntToShreds

    Out of all of the things the industry could shamelessly repurpose for modern audiences, why did they choose this?

    • J.S

      Because money, that’s why.

  • Tory

    I vaguely remember the California Raisins as a kid and never realized they were actually a thing outside of raisin commercials. With that said is this reboot of a franchise even remotely necessary? I’m all for introducing a younger generation to things their parents grew up with but the problematic part is that these reboots seem forced in trying to modernize them. Don’t mean to be negative but CGI walking talking raisins seems kind of terrifying…

  • Mister Twister


  • why

    I wish this was an Onion article.

  • Steinbeiner

    I know Laika isn’t Vinton, but it the fact that they came from Vinton and are still very much a stopmotion company makes the idea that some other group is making CG California Raisins seem that much weirder. But then I can’t really imagine Laika trying to resurrect the raisins anyways.

  • Paul M

    I’d sooner pay ten bucks to watch a feature starring speedy Alka-seltzer.

    • Tim DeForest

      How about a Speedy/Raisins team-up? “He quells upset stomachs. They’re a group of singing but healthy snacks. Together, they fight crime!”

  • Nate

    I really try to be as cautiously optimistic as possible, but… I can’t see anything good coming of this.

    • Jules

      It’s too bad that Sam Peckinpah is dead. Big stars like Adam Sandler are poised for a remake of “The Osterman Weekend” in concrete raisin suits.

  • Adzl33t

    I would only care if Phil Lord and Chris Miller are working on this

  • Chris B

    So, let me get this straight… they couldn’t think of a new idea that would have been better than a bunch of CGI singing raisins?

  • Clearly Hollywood only cares about reboots, remakes, sequels/franchises, and anything that is not to be a one and done like project. Yes, it is a business…but still, this rebooting and sequeling is getting old and quite boring at best.

  • Pedro Nakama

    They’re back to solve the drought problems in California. The water drought and the drought of new ideas in Hollywood.

  • Evan Bly

    I discovered stop motion through the Raisins. A DVD collection of their old stuff would be great, an all CGI feature would be less than great.

  • Lesley Vander Welle

    LOVE the California Raisins! LOL! Happy to welcome them back! Way to go, Rusty!

  • Dt

    It could be cool! A story of 4 grapes that dried up…..

  • Joseph_Hudak

    I seriously doubt the new raisins will be half as enjoyable as the ones in the commercials (the less said about the cartoon the better). I mean they are so 80s that they can’t possibly be relevant to the present. Even their music is from a generation ago.

    I can sort of see this working as a feature length retooling of “One Froggy Evening” where a construction worker opens a box of raisins and notices them come alive and play ’80s jazz/soul with tiny intsruments. Yet only he can see them and everyone else thinks he’s a nut and not even the audience will know if it’s all a hallucination or not until the end of the movie.

    But of course it will be about the raisins making an album and becoming stars, while shilling raisins & Raisin Bran on the side. That and they’ll be updated to rappers, urban street gangstas, or whatever else they’ll think will appeal to modern demographics.

  • K

    I keep looking at the date to check if it’s April Fool’s…

  • Vee Eaton

    I woke up, disoriented. Stumbled to the computer to check the news. This is the first thing I see and my brain -immediately- went “oh thank God it’s April 1st.”

    Then remembered it’s still March.

  • schwarzgrau

    If I were a hollywood feature producer I would hurry up, there isn’t much affordable and adorable stuff left to reboot.
    Count Duckula, Dr.Snuggles, Heathcliff, the Snorks. The air is getting thin.

  • Sardonic Tuba

    Sadly, their musical success was overshadowed by unproven allegations of cereal grape.

  • grainy

    Well, as part of modern race relations, a lonely Washington state raisin, a white raisin, could join the Calif Raisins as their manager.

    • Marie

      LOL! To be a true Hollywood movie, the white, Washington State, savior raisin would be the only raisin in the Calif Raisins’s lives that could make them feel better about themselves. By teaching them how to read. And the Calif Raisins would, in turn, teach the white savior raisin how to dance. A feel-good story for the whole family!

  • enron

    Popeye wasn’t good enough for hollywood but no lets give the people 90 minutes of singing raisins…

  • ScamScum

    I’d rather have a Howard the Duck reboot. At least Marvel can make that enjoyable.

  • daniel thomas

    Those California Raisins are outrageous dudes! They’re totally in my face!
    (We have just been informed that the California Raisins have to go now. Their home planet needs them.)

  • Matthew

    Will they be dropping an album with Chilly T any time soon?