If breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day (which many believe it is) what makes up that breakfast probably goes a long way towards how your day goes. Without getting into all the various nutritional components that one might want to include, food groups and such, the simplest way to hit a lot of that is through cereal. Some of the ingredients may not be the best but it’s a fast, cheap way to get some sustenance in those early morning hours. Factor into that that most cereals feature interesting things on the boxes (and sometimes even more interesting things to send away for), and suddenly you get more then you’ve bargained for with this eating experience. Most of the people reading this love movies so when a movie component is added to the cereal and, by proxy, the cereal box, that makes the whole experience that much more pleasurable. Think about it, not only can you enjoy a great tasting cereal (check out our Video Game cereals list!), but you can also think about a movie you love while doing it. It’s the best of both worlds, right?
The 1980s was a such a special time for movies because that is when we started to have blockbusters. Sure, there had been big movies before but films like Star Wars ushered in a legacy of blockbusters (many of which were created by two guys with the last names of Spielberg and Lucas) that were perfect to be tie-ins with cereals. These films were made for kids and that demographic was exactly who company’s like Kellogg’s, Ralston, Post and others were hoping to appeal to. So a bunch of cereals were created that were meant to speak to both children and, hopefully, adults. One could simply buy a box of cereal and instantly be a part of their favorite movie. Whether the cereal in question just reminded people what the movie was, or if it featured edible characters or objects that related to the movie in question, breakfast time suddenly became big business time. Now, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that the cereals didn’t have a shelf life beyond their initial run with whatever movie they were tied in with. Movies eventually fade in popularity but everybody wants to eat frosted flakes forever. This probably explains why some movies are tied into cereals with little more than image from the movie emblazoned on the box. So sit back and enjoy learning about “The Best 80s Movie Tie-In Breakfast Cereals You’ll Never Eat Again.”
Now, this isn’t a list where we list out cereals from the the 1980s that appear in movies. A list like that might actually be never ending. Nor is this a list that is going to get too deep into any of the toys that might’ve come packed with the cereal (although such lists would probably be very welcomed and might already exist). This is a list looking at cereals that were released in the 1980s that coincided with the release of the film they are promoting. Full disclosure… there is one film on this list that comes from the 1990s, but it features imaging that is so iconically 80s that it would’ve been criminal to not include on this list. So, while you might never eat any of these cereals again, enjoy the nostalgia that is inherent in “crunching” your way through the past!
Released in 1985 there were apparently 3 other related cereals that were also released. They were “The Real Ghostbusters” (1987), Ghostbusters II(1989), and “Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters” (1990). The main Ghostbusters did that deal where if you sent in a proof of purchase and $1.50 (a steal by today’s standards) you got a swath of Ghostbusters swag. Some of those items included a “Glow-in-the-Dark” Sign Sticker, An Officer Ghostbuster Membership certificate, a Ghostbuster button, and two sheets of Ghostbuster stickers. This cereal boasted “natural fruit flavors”, “nine essential vitamins”, and “Slimer marshmallows”. Who wouldn’t want to to fill their body with these red and orange circles with the famous Ghostbuster slashes across them first thing in the morning? Apparently, originality wasn’t a top concern of for Ralston, the company behind the cereal. It seems that across all of its incarnations the actual cereal (with the exception of the addition of “Slimer marshmallows”) are exactly the same. So we can look at this a few ways. Either the cereal was so good and so popular that it merited being repurposed across all of those cereals, or the people behind it were just lazy. The cynic in some might just assume that these cereals never sold and that they simply reproduced different boxes to get the actual contents out of the warehouse before the expiration date.
Batman, Batman Returns Cereal
Love this cereal or hate it, like a bunch of the boxes on this list, the artwork for the Batman cereal was super cool. It wasn’t anything that amazing but the fact that (with only some variance in which the Caped Crusader was shown) all of us breakfast connoisseurs had to go off of was the title of the movie (which was also released in 1989), the well known Batman logo, and the Kix-like looking breakfast that was crafted to look like the iconic Batman symbol. Even the 30 second commercial spot for this product attempted to shroud this morning meal in mystery. Mixing tense sounding music with images from the film, and a voice over that begins with “The adventure continues…”, we really don’t get much more information about the cereal. Also, I’m not sure about the adventure continuing as the cereal itself doesn’t seem like it was anything to write home about. Shaped like a bat this yellow, honey flavored cereal allowed people to purchase the cereal and then send away for some pretty solid extras. There was the Batman bank, a frisbee, and even comic book tie-ins. When one considers how this film and the genre from which it emanates have only gotten bigger, it seems somewhat surprising that there weren’t more tie-ins to this and other films and TV shows earlier.
Brought to us by Kellogg’s, this cereal that is shaped like two O’s stuck together (or an 8 depending on how you look at it), had a “crunchy, honey-flavored, oat, wheat and corn” taste according to the cereal box. Also, how could Star Wars fans not like the imaging with such cool photos of C-3PO and Luke Skywalker among others. Made available in 1984 (one year after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi came out), C-3PO voice actor Anthony Daniels even supplied the voice for the commercial that promoted this cereal. (Would something like that happen now? Or, would they just rely on footage from the movie that the cereal was being tied-in with?) There were also tie-ins like Star Wars stickers, masks, and you could even send away for Kenner action figures. The commercial for this cereal was surprisingly well done. Announcing, “A New Force At Breakfast”, viewers were treated to the classic Star Wars music, some brief scenes of C-3PO and somebody being happily served this breakfast, and even a moment where the cereal box shows thrusters and propels itself to the far reaches of the galaxy. For good measure, R2D2 also makes an appearance. It’s very easy to look at a cereal like this and see it as a cash grab. I’m sure that’s probably what it was, however, the marketing seems really on-point, and simply watching this 30 second spot I can remember wanting to eat C-3PO’s and sadly my parents never purchased them. So, while C-3PO’s may have been a new force at breakfast, they were not a new force at my house.
How much simpler can it get than a cereal shaped like E’s and T’s? This peanut butter and chocolate offering from General Mills might’ve been the best tasting cereal on this list. At least for people like myself who like their cereals to be a bit a more on the sweet side. And… have you ever met anybody that doesn’t love Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Given that everybody’s favorite space alien from 1982 was a lover of Reese’s Pieces, it stands to reason that a cereal based on E.T. would feature a connect of some sort with that candy. It would’ve been really cool if somehow they would’ve included a pack of it in the cereal, though that probably would not have appealed to parents. Still, it might’ve been fun to have done it with coupons or something so that it became a tie-in that users could just send away for. As it stands the only things people could get (if they sent along the requisite UPC symbols) were some stickers, miniatures and a storybook album. The commercial for this cereal tried to capture the feeling of childhood wonder of a space alien actually coming to planet earth. However, instead of E.T. we get a box of cereal descending to our planet via thrusters. Kids are shown enjoying the meal as E.T.’s voice is heard and his light up finger/hand is seen. The box for the cereal shows E.T.’s face, a bowl of E’s and T’s, and the boundless universe behind it. We might not ever eat this particular cereal again, but we can certainly imagine it if we buy some Reese’s Puffs today. In fact, if you eat those and put on E.T., you’ll be pretty much all the way there!
Okay, since we’re talking about cereals that we’re never going to eat ever again, it’s fair to say that a cereal called Gremlins does not sound very appetizing. Add to this that the yellow cereal was also shaped liked the little creatures, and it’s not surprising that Ralston has not released a new batch (see what I did there?) since 1984. Everything about this box cover seems foreboding (at least with a 2021 lens put on it). The cereal itself has “9 essential vitamins and minerals”. So far so good, but the fact that a description of what this cereal tastes like was not listed is a bit foreboding. In fact, all it says on the cover is “Sweetened Cereal.” Again, looking at this with a 2021 perspective, I don’t think that simply saying that, and not giving any other context for taste, would pass muster in today’s breakfast world. Especially with how much more health conscious our society appears today, saying anything “sweetened” would probably not pass Ralston marketing scrutiny nowadays. All that said, for the 11 year old version of myself, the things you could mail away for might make eating this cereal worth it. There were a bunch of stickers you could collect. On top of that, there was also a toy version of Gizmo, the film’s star, that could be had for about $10 and 2 proofs of purchase. That’s not that expensive, seems to cover shipping, and would probably sell for at least five times that today. The commercial for this cereal predictably features Gizmo with effects that are lacking (comparatively) to what we saw in the film Gremlins. The main idea of the commercial is that we’re all as “hungry as Gremlins” and that’s why we need to eat the cereal. The actors also wear Gremlin ears and those don’t look as good, from an FX standpoint, as they could’ve. Fun fact, after doing a little bit of research it turns out that the Gremlins cereal tastes like Cap’n Crunch!
Indiana Jones Cereal
Alright, this cereal came out in 2008 to coincide with the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So why is it on this list of 80s cereals that we will never eat again if we were eating this one less than two decades ago? Well, if you look at the imaging on the box of Indiana Jones cereal, it features Harrison Ford in the iconic picture and pose of Indiana Jones with the bullwhip raised over his head. Since they harkened back to this 80s image to sell cereal, I felt that including it on this list was appropriate. Let us not forget that in 1981, this movie was originally released as Raiders of the Lost Ark. In 1999, the movie was repackaged on DVD, and in order to keep the titles consistent, the maiden film was retitled as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Why is all of this important when talking about cereal? Well, since they changed the title, but in promoting the cereal re-used the original image from the first movie, it seems only fitting to bend the rules a bit on this list of cereals we will never eat again, and include the cereal on this list. The cereal itself contained marshmallows (shaped liked skulls) and the taste, according the box, is chocolate (with the main part of the cereal being dark shaped boulder-looking objects). It is said to have natural and artificial flavors, as well as contains Vitamins A and C. Behind the image of Indiana Jones is a map and the cereal itself sits in a chalice-type object with milk bursting out of it. Sadly, this particular cereal didn’t have any tie-ins or cool things to send away for other than an adventure spoon that came in different colors. While this is the only Indiana Jones cereal, there were cross promotions with Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, All-Bran, and others.
Jiminy Cricket’s Wishing Stars Cereal
This cereal didn’t last long even though it had a very popular movie to tie it to. That the film was from the 1940s probably didn’t help how it fared in the breakfast marketplace of the 1980s. This film was none other than Pinocchio and the cereal itself was based around the character of Jiminy Cricket. Before you start scratching your head, it actually makes a lot of sense. Post, the company behind this cereal, had to hitch it to something friendly and cute, otherwise how were they going to entice younger people to eat it? In fact, on the box Jiminy Cricket is featured front and center, holding his red umbrella, and dancing around the cereal. The meal itself is described as “Fruity Sweetened Corn, Oat & Wheat Cereal.” It also claims that it contains “10 Essential Vitamins & Minerals”. As you can guess the cereal was multi-colored and star-shaped. The whole concept of Wishing Stars cereal actually harkens back to the song “When You Wish Upon A Star” (performed in the animated film by Jiminy Cricket via the voice of Cliff Edwards). This is a song that most people know and it seems like Post was counting on “Wishing Stars” to evoke memories of people young and old singing that song. Not many tie-ins for this cereal, however it did offer a seasonal “Stargazer”. This allowed users to find the constellations and, since we have 4 seasons, there were four of them for people to collect.
Thanks for the cereal images, Cereal Time TV on Youtube. Check them out!