Scooby-Doo (film)

This article is about the 2002 live action film. For the 2018 animated film, see S.C.O.O.B.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Raja Gosnell
Produced by
Screenplay by James Gunn
Story by
Based on Scooby-Doo
by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears
Music by David Newman
Cinematography David Eggby
Edited by Kent Beyda
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • June 14, 2002 (2002-06-14)
Running time
86 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $84 million[2]
Box office $275.7 million[2]

Scooby-Doo (also known as Scooby-Doo: The Movie) is a 2002 American comedy horror 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 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 on a budget of $84 million.[3]

The film was released on June 14, 2002, and grossed $275 million worldwide. 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. This is the final time William Hanna served as the executive producer before dying of throat cancer on March 22, 2001.

A sequel, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, was released on March 26, 2004, followed by two telefilm 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.


The members of Mystery, Inc. solve the case of the Luna Ghost at the Wow-O-Toy Factory. However, long-time friction between Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, and Velma Dinkley finally boils over and the gang break up, leaving Shaggy Rogers and his dog Scooby-Doo heartbroken. Two years on, Shaggy and Scooby are invited to solve a mystery on the popular resort Spooky Island, owned by Emil Mondavarious. At the airport, the five members of Mystery, Inc. unexpectedly reunite. Fred has become a popular celebrity, Velma works for NASA, and Daphne has undertaken martial arts to avoid being kidnapped again. However, while Shaggy and Scooby are thrilled with the reunion, the other three refuse to work with each other.

On the flight over, Shaggy falls in love with a girl named Mary Jane, who loves Scooby Snacks, but is allergic to dogs. Upon arriving at the island, the gang meet Mondavarious, who claims the visiting tourists have been cursed into a brainwashed state. Velma attends a ritualistic performance hosted by N’Goo Tuana and his henchman, Zarkos, a famous luchador. N’Goo claims the island was once ruled by ancient demons til Mondavarious built the resort, and they plot their revenge.

Due to a misunderstanding when talking to a local voodoo priest, Daphne, Shaggy, and Scooby venture into the resort’s ghost ride, meeting Fred and Velma inside, where they split up to look for clues. Fred and Velma come across a strange school designed to educate inhuman creatures about human culture, while Daphne discovers a pyramid-shaped artefact called the Daemon Ritus. The gang flee to the hotel, but an army of demons attack, kidnapping Fred, Velma, Mondavarious and other tourists, while Scooby, Shaggy, Daphne, and Mary Jane escape.

The next day, Daphne is captured by Zarkos, while Shaggy and Scooby learn the tourists are possessed by the demons. They run into Mary Jane, but Scooby realises she is possessed too. Shaggy and Scooby argue, but the latter falls down a hole into an underground chamber, where Shaggy finds a vat of protoplasmic soul of everyone captured. Shaggy frees Velma, Fred, and Daphne’s souls. Velma discovers the demons can be destroyed by sunlight, but Fred and Daphne become trapped in the wrong bodies until the Daemon Ritus corrects it. The gang come across the voodoo priest, who explains the demons’ ritual will allow them to rule the world for the next ten-thousand years when a pure soul is offered as a sacrifice, namely Scooby. Mondavarious is revealed to be the leader of the demons.

The gang plot a trap to defeat the demon cult, but it fails, and Mondavarious sucks out Scooby’s soul using the Daemon Ritus. Shaggy tackles Mondavarious, revealing he is a robot, piloted by Scooby’s estranged nephew Scrappy-Doo, abandoned by the gang years ago due to his egotism. Using the absorbed souls of the tourists, Scrappy transforms into a monster and tries to kill the gang.

Daphne battles Zarkos, kicking him into the ritual chamber where the demons are exposed to sunlight and die. Shaggy rips the Daemon Ritus from Scrappy’s body, freeing the souls. The real Mondavarious emerges from a prison cell, claiming Scrappy replaced him two years ago for his plan. Scrappy, N’Goo, and Zarkos are arrested, while the reunited gang are asked to solve another mystery.

In a post credits scene, Scooby and Shaggy are eating in the Spooky Island Restaurant, and start eating jars of Hot Peppers. After chugging them down, steam starts coming out of their ears as the credits roll.


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.


The Mystery Machine from the film at San Diego Comic-Con International in 2013

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.[5] Jim Carrey, as well as Mike Myers, expressed interest in playing Shaggy.

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,[5][9] and wrapped in June 2001. The film was originally set to have an 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.[10]

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.[11]

According to actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, after the cast had signed on there was a change and the film became more family-friendly. Some of the original adult jokes are still in the film. They are also included in deleted scenes on the home media releases.[12]

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."[13]


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?".



A video game based upon the film was released for Game Boy Advance shortly before the film was released.[14] The game is played in third-person point of view and has multiple puzzle games and mini-games. The game's structure was similar to a board game. Metacritic rated it 64/100 based on five reviews, which they labeled as "mixed or average reviews".[15]

Scholastic Inc. released a novelization of the story in conjunction with the film. The novel was written by American fantasy and science fiction author Suzanne Weyn.

Home media

The film was released on VHS and DVD on October 11, 2002. The release included deleted scenes, among them an alternate opening animated in the style of the original TV series. It was later released as a double feature with its sequel on Blu-ray on November 9, 2010.[16]


Box office

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 number 1 at the box office.[17] The film closed on October 31, 2002, with a final gross of $153 million in the United States. It made an additional $122 million in other territories, bringing the total worldwide gross to $275.7 milling, making it the 15th most successful film worldwide of 2002.[18]

Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 30% of 143 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 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."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 35 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[20] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[21]

Actor Matthew Lillard was praised by critics and fans for his performance in the film.

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."[22] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, "Get out your pooper-scoopers. Doo happens June 14th, warn the ads for Scooby-Doo. And they say there's no truth in Hollywood."[23]

Robin Rauzi of the Los Angeles Times called the film "entertainment more disposable than Hanna-Barbera's half-hour cartoons ever were."[24] Although Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel said that 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 'rostalgia'", but said that "adults who do not fondly recall the Scooby-Doo cartoons are strongly advised to steer clear."[25]

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."[26]


Gellar won Choice Movie Actress – Comedy at the Teen Choice Awards.[27] 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.


  2. 1 2 "Scooby-Doo (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  3. Dayna Van Buskirk, Reg Seeton (2004-03-01). "Unleashing Monsters & Zombies". UGO. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  4. 1 2 Murray, Rebecca. ""Scooby-Doo" Movie Premiere — Quotes From the Red Carpet". The New York Times Company. p. 1. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 Mallory, Mike (May 5, 2002). "What Will Scooby Do?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  6. Evans, Bradford (17 March 2011). "The Lost Roles of Jim Carrey". Splitsider. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  7. Murray, Rebecca. ""Scooby-Doo" Movie Premiere — Quotes From the Red Carpet". The New York Times Company. p. 3. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  8. Murray, Rebecca. ""Scooby-Doo" Movie Premiere — Quotes From the Red Carpet". The New York Times Company. p. 2. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  9. Warner Bros. (March 5, 2001). "Production underway on live-action 'Scooby Doo', Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar and Rowan Atkinson for Warner Bros. Pictures" (Press release). Burbank, California: Time Warner. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  10. Entertainment Weekly, 636/637 - Jan 25th Issue. Page 38
  11. Sigesmund, B.J. "The Inside Dope". Newsweek. June 14, 2002. Available at Lexis-Nexis.
  12. "Sarah Michelle: The Buffy Slayer". Marie Claire, November 2006. Vol. 13, Issue 11. Page 100.
  13. "Gellar Smooched In Scooby". Sci Fi Wire, (Sci Fi Channel). June 7, 2002. Archived from the original on August 8, 2002.
  14. Harris, Craig (June 5, 2002). "Do the Doo". IGN. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  15. "Scooby Doo". Metacritic. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  16. "'Scooby-Doo/Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed' Announced for Blu-ray". High-Def Digest. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  17. Karger, Dave (June 17, 2002). "Just 'Doo' It". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  18. "2002 Worldwide Grosses". Box Office Mojo.
  19. "Scooby-Doo". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  20. "Scooby-Doo". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  21. "CinemaScore".
  22. Ebert, Roger (June 14, 2012). "Scooby-Doo". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  23. Travers, Peter (December 5, 2012). "Scooby-Doo". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  24. Rauzi, Robin (June 14, 2002). "'Scooby-Doo,' Where Are You?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  25. Boyar, Jay (June 14, 2002). "Live-action 'Scooby-doo' - That Dog Just Won't Hunt". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  26. Struever, Hank (June 14, 2002). "'Scooby-Doo': There's Nothing to Do but Dig It". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  27. "Teen Choice Awards 2002: Complete Winners List". 4 August 2002. Retrieved 27 September 2014.

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