The Powerpuff Girls Movie

The Powerpuff Girls Movie Information

The Powerpuff Girls Movie (titled in the film simply as The Powerpuff Girls) is a 2002 American animated action film based on the Cartoon Network animated television series of the same name. Produced by Cartoon Network Studios for Warner Bros. Pictures and Cartoon Network, the film debuted in the United States on July 3, 2002. It was a prequel of the series, telling the origin story of how the Powerpuff Girls were created and how they came to be the defenders of Townsville. Despite the film receiving positive reception, it performed poorly at the box office despite being made profitable. It was the first Hanna-Barbera/Cartoon Network Studios theatrical feature film since 1993's Once Upon a Forest, and is the first (and so far, only) film based on a Cartoon Network series to be released theatrically. In theaters, a Dexter's Laboratory short entitled "Chicken Scratch" was shown prior to the film.


Professor Utonium hopes to create the perfect little girl using a mixture of sugar, spice, and everything nice to improve Townsville, a city plagued by villains. He is shoved by his laboratory assistant, a destructive chimpanzee named Jojo, causing him to accidentally break a container of a mysterious substance called Chemical X that spills into the mixture and explodes in Jojo's face. The Professor finds that the experiment was a success, having produced three little girls whom he names Blossom (the smart and mature one), Bubbles (the cute and bubbly one), and Buttercup (the rough and tough one). These girls also have superpowers as a result of the additional Chemical X, though they all immediately grow to love each other as a family.

During their first day of school, the girls learn about the game tag and begin to play amongst themselves, which quickly grows destructive when they begin using their powers. They take their game downtown, accidentally causing massive damage to the city until the Professor calms them down and cautions them against using their powers outside. As a result of the destruction, the citizens of Townsville treat the girls as outcasts while the Professor is arrested for creating the girls. The despondent girls try to make their way home on foot, but become lost in an alleyway and are attacked by the Gangreen Gang. They are rescued by Jojo, whose brain has mutated and given him enhanced intelligence as a result of the Chemical X explosion.

Planning control of the city, Jojo gains the girls' empathy by saying he is also hated for his powers, and manipulates them into helping him build a laboratory and machine over a volcano in the middle of town that he claims will gain them the affections of the city. He also has them steal a batch of Chemical X from the Professor's lab. As a reward, Jojo takes the girls to the local zoo and secretly implants small transportation devices on all the primates there. That night, Jojo transports all the primates from the zoo into his volcano lair and uses his new machine to inject them with Chemical X, turning them into evil mutant primates like himself. The next morning, after the Professor is released from prison, the girls show him all the "good" they have done, only to discover the city being attacked by the monkeys. Jojo, renaming himself Mojo Jojo, publicly denounces the girls as his assistants, turning everyone, including the distraught Professor, against them. The girls blast off into space, dejected.

Mojo Jojo announces his intentions to rule the planet, but becomes frustrated when his minions, now as intelligent and evil as he is, begin concocting their own plans to terrorize the people of Townsville. Overhearing this turmoil from space, the girls return to Earth and use their powers to defeat the primates and rescue the citizens. In response, Mojo injects himself with Chemical X and grows into a giant monster, but the girls defeat him after an intense battle by pushing him off a skyscraper. Hoping to help the girls, the Professor develops an antidote for Chemical X which Mojo Jojo lands on, shrinking him down to his original size. The girls consider using the Antidote X to erase their powers, thinking they would be accepted as normal little girls, but the citizens of Townsville protest, apologizing for misjudging the girls and thanking them for their heroic deeds. At the insistence of the Mayor, the girls agree to use their powers to defend Townsville and become the city's beloved crime-fighting team of superheroes: the Powerpuff Girls.


Voice Actor Role
Cathy Cavadini Blossom
Tara Strong Bubbles
E.G. Daily Buttercup
Roger L. Jackson Mojo Jojo
Tom Kane Professor Utonium
Tom Kenny Mayor
Li'l Arturo
Cha-Ching Cha-Ching
Mitch Mitchelson
Jennifer Hale Ms. Keane
Jennifer Martin Sarah Bellum
Jeff Bennett Ace
Big Billy
Baboon Kaboom
Go-Go Patrol
Hacha Chacha
Jodi Benson Linda
Grey DeLisle Woman at Zoo
Phil LaMarr I.P. Host
Local Anchor
Rob Paulsen Hota Wata
Killa Drilla
Blah-Blah Blah-Blah
The Doot Da Doot Da Doo Doos
Kevin Michael Richardson Rocko Socko
Ojo Tango
Frank Welker Various primates

Production notes

During production, The Hollywood Reporter reported that voice actresses Cathy Cavadini, Tara Strong and E.G. Daily had gone on strike, protesting that they were not being paid enough to star in a feature. The studio threatened to replace them with more popular actresses, not just for the movie, but for the rest of the series too. Soon a deal was reached and the voice actresses continued their roles as Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup.


This film was rated PG by the MPAA for non-stop frenetic animated action.


The film featured substantially revised designs for many of the TV show's characters, with a much more angular look. Many of these changes were incorporated in the final seasons of the show, such as the Professor's new eyes and Ace's sharper teeth.


The film received mixed to positive reviews. Based on 100 reviews, it has a 63% "Fresh" rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus "It plays like an extended episode, but The Powerpuff Girls Movie is still lots of fun". On Metacritic, the film currently has a rating of 65 out of 100, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Bob Longino of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution praised the film, writing, "The intricate drawings emanate 1950s futuristic pizazz like a David Hockney scenescape. The inspired script is both sinfully cynical and aw-shucks sweet". He also called it "one of the few American creations that is both gleeful pop culture and exquisite high art."

However, it was also reviewed negatively by some for its violence, which many felt was too extreme and highly inappropriate for a family-oriented film. Ebert & Roeper gave it "two thumbs down," criticizing that the movie was too violent. The film was a disappointment at the box office due to poor marketing and publicity, competition with the more successful Spider-Man and Scooby Doo in addition to opening on the same day as Men in Black II and Like Mike, and the fact that the show lost much of its popularity. It was released straight-to-VHS and DVD in some countries. Shortly after its poor commercial performance, a Samurai Jack movie that had been in development was canceled. The Powerpuff Girls Movie earned $3.5 million and ninth place in its opening weekend and ultimately grossed $11 million in North America against its $11 million budget. Although it covered its budget (except for advertisement), the film performed below expectations. It ended up with $16 million worldwide, making the film unsuccessful. As a result of its relatively low performance at the box office, it earned the title of "Lowest Grossing Animated Film of 2002," becoming one of the worst-grossing wide releases of 2002, including other flops such as The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Treasure Planet.

Home video

The film is available in America on Region 1 DVD with extras including deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, commentaries and more. Despite being filmed in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the DVD is fullscreen only, to the chagrin of reviewers and fans. The Region 2 DVD release presents the film in its original widescreen aspect ratio, but omits the audio commentary and deleted scenes bonus features.

See also

  • Theatrically released films based on Hanna-Barbera animations

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