Filming took place in and around Queensland on a budget of $84 million. 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 his death on March 22, 2001.
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, a glory hog, Daphne Blake, who is fed up with getting captured at every mystery, and Velma Dinkley, who is never credited for her ideas, 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 Emile Mondavarious. At the airport, the pair are unexpectedly reunited with the rest of Mystery, Inc. — 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, still angry about their fight that split them up.
On the flight over, Shaggy falls in love with a girl named Mary Jane, who loves Scooby Snacks like him, 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.
Because of 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 artifact 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, who also steals the Daemon Ritus, while Shaggy and Scooby learn the tourists are possessed by the demons. They run into Mary Jane, but Scooby realizes she is possessed too. Shaggy and Scooby argue when the latter points it out, but he falls down a hole into an underground chamber. While trying to find him, Shaggy finds a vat of protoplasmic soul of everyone captured, and frees Velma, Fred, and Daphne’s souls. Velma discovers the demons can be destroyed by sunlight, but Fred and Daphne become trapped in each other's wrong bodies, until the Daemon Ritus corrects it after the gang's souls swap randomly. 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; Scooby's soul goes back into him. As Fred and Velma go to confront the defeated Mondavarious, he is reveal as a man in a mask. When they peel the mask off, Mondavarious is reveal as a robot, piloted by Scooby’s estranged nephew Scrappy-Doo, abandoned by the gang years ago due to him urinating on Daphne, and trying to take over as leader. Using the absorbed souls of the tourists, Scrappy transforms into a monster and tries to kill the gang.
On the mountain top, 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 promise to solve another mystery.Freddie Prinze Jr. as Fred Jones
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne Blake
Matthew Lillard as Shaggy Rogers
Linda Cardellini as Velma Dinkley
Rowan Atkinson as Emile Mondavarious
Isla Fisher as Mary Jane
Miguel A. Núñez Jr. as Voodoo Maestro
Sam Greco as Zarkos
Steven Grieves as N'Goo Tuana
Neil Fanning as the voice of Scooby-Doo
Scott Innes and J. P. Manoux as the voice of Scrappy-Doo
Jess Harnell and Frank Welker as the voice of creatures
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. When asked about watching several cartoons before playing Shaggy, Lillard responded, "Everything I could get my hands on. If I ever have to see another episode of "Scooby-Doo," it will be way too soon." Lillard would continue voicing Shaggy in the rest of the Scooby-Doo media. Jim Carrey was originally attached to play Shaggy. Mike Myers also expressed interest in playing Shaggy. Prinze said of his character, "[He] always showed more arrogance than everyone else. So in the movie, I took the opportunity to make him as narcissistic and self-loving as possible." Fisher grew up watching Scooby-Doo in Australia, and said that the "best part of making this movie was being part of an institution, something that has been in people's childhoods and is something that means a lot to a lot of people." Cardellini was also a fan of the Scooby-Doo series.
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. Jim Carrey, as well as Mike Myers, expressed interest in playing Shaggy. In October 2000, the film was officially given the green light, Variety reported that Raja Gosnell had been hired to direct the film.
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, and wrapped in June 2001. The film was originally set to have a 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.
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. In March 2001, one month into filming, the first official cast picture was released.
According to actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, after the cast had signed on there was a change, and the film became more family friendly, though some of the original adult jokes are still in the film. They are also included in deleted scenes on the home media releases. In January 2001, it was reported that Rowan Atkinson was in negotiations to play Mondavarious.
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."
In 2017, the 15th anniversary of the release of "Scooby-Doo", James Gunn, the screenwriter for the movie revealed in a Facebook post that there was an R-rated cut of "Scooby-Doo" and that CGI was used to remove cleavage of the female cast members.
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. 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".
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.
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 television series. It was later released as a double feature with its sequel on Blu-ray on November 9, 2010.
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 #1 at the box office. The film closed on October 31, 2002, with a final gross of $153 million in the United States and Canada. It made an additional $122 million in other territories, bringing the total worldwide gross to $275.7 million, making it the 15th most successful film worldwide of 2002. The film was released in the United Kingdom on July 12, 2002, and topped the country's box office for the next two weekends, before being dethroned by Austin Powers in Goldmember.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 30% based on 143 reviews with an average rating of 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." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 35 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
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." 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."
Robin Rauzi of the Los Angeles Times called the film "entertainment more disposable than Hanna-Barbera's half-hour cartoons ever were." 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."
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."
Gellar won Choice Movie Actress – Comedy at the Teen Choice Awards. 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.