Monsters, Inc. welcomes you to Monstropolis, a bustling metropolis inhabited entirely by monsters—yes, monsters. The kind of scary, scaly, teeth-baring monsters that creep from behind your closet doors each night to terrify you while you’re tucked in bed. As a matter of fact, that’s their job— “scarers,” employed by local power plant Monsters, Inc., carefully collect your screams in order to power Monstropolis cars, homes, and stores alike. In their words, they “scare because they care.”
Ten years ago on November 2, 2001, Pixar Animation Studios scared up a whole Monstropolis of new characters for Monsters, Inc. and the world was introduced to the other side of the “monster” story. D23 takes a look back at this beloved Pixar film with some fun facts, and gets the inside scoop about the prequel, Monsters University, with Director Dan Scanlon.
A LOOK BACK
Pixar Animation Studios’ fourth film, Monsters, Inc., follows a pair of professional scarers, a one-eyed monster named Mike and big blue monster named James “Sulley” Sullivan, after the unthinkable happens—a human child enters Monstropolis. As the monster duo attempts to swiftly and secretly return the young girl—who Sulley lovingly nicknames “Boo”—to her bedroom, they’re met with chaos, confusion, and even banishment from the monster world.
Brainstorming for Monsters, Inc. began in 1994, and the original concept—a 30-year-old man battling monsters he drew as a kid—developed from Director Pete Docter’s childhood fear of formidable beasts lurking just behind his closet doors. The idea eventually evolved into the Monsters, Inc. audiences know and love, which hit theaters worldwide beginning November 2, 2001. In the 10 years since the monstrous movie’s big-screen debut, the lovable scarers have gone on to win an Oscar® for Best Original Song (“If I Didn’t Have You”); earn nominations for Best Animated Feature Film, Best Original Score (Randy Newman), and Best Sound Editing; and serve as the inspiration for Mike’s New Car (a 2002 Pixar animated short), a series of video games, and various theme park attractions around the world.
DID YOU KNOW?
In honor of the film’s 10-year anniversary, here are some Pixar-provided fun facts from the making of Monsters, Inc.:
- There are 2,320,413 computer-animated hairs on James P. Sullivan (Sulley)
- Pixar employees took research trips to a blimp hangar, gas refinery, foundry and industrial towns, and nearby factories with assembly lines to help establish the look and logic for the scream processing factory
- In the film, the door vault was created to contain 35 million individual and identifiable closet doors on a mile-long, roller coaster-like conveyer track
- Faux, llama, and gorilla fur were just a few of the items studied for the making of Sulley
- The technical team created software called “McMonster” which allowed for the modeling of 150 unique character designs
- In earlier versions of the story, Sulley was a janitor and an incompetent scarer
Fans of Monsters, Inc. have a lot to look forward to—everyone’s favorite monster duo will be back and younger than ever in June 2013′s Monsters University. Yes, the upcoming Monsters movie is a prequel that will send audiences back in time—think college days—to meet Mike and Sulley long before they ever set foot in Monsters, Inc. “What I love about this film being a prequel is that we meet these characters at such an important moment in their lives,” Monsters University Director Dan Scanlon says. “Whether you went to college or not, this is a time in life when a person truly begins to question who they are and what they were meant to be.”
To prepare for the new film, Pixar animators literally went “back to school.” “We started our research by touring campuses all over the country,” Dan explains. “We went to Harvard, Princeton, MIT, and Berkeley. Seeing these schools was very helpful, because most of us went to art school and have no idea what real college life is like.” Using this research, Pixar animators have been busy designing a college fit for all types of monsters. “A big part of the fun we’re having now is figuring out what reads as ‘college’ and finding ways to monster-ize it,” Dan says. And what exactly is monsterizing? “Well, it basically means designing a world fit for a monster,” Dan explains. “In our film, we have monsters of all shapes and sizes, the buildings have to reflect that while still keeping a familiar college look.” Audiences can expect to see some well-designed—and scary!—monsterized buildings complete with teeth and claws, as well as all sorts of fun college-inspired extras once the movie is complete. “The fun and excitement of college life, fraternities and sororities, we want to include it all,” says Dan. “We have lots of other fun locations we’re in the process of developing, as well as some really great new characters.”
Check D23.com for more Monsters University updates as the film prepares for its summer 2013 debut.
By D23′s Sarah Smith