There are plenty of software options available to animators working to bring their vision to life. Film studios, though, have a larger budget and, therefore, greater flexibility in the animation process. Pixar is considered to be among the elite when it comes to the quality of computer animation – there is often at least one moment in the studio’s films that is breathtaking visually, leaving you to wonder how it was achieved. The studio utilizes its own proprietary software, which you can get a peek at after the break!
'Monsters University' News
Kelsey Mann joined Pixar in recent years, working on the studio’s 2013 hit Monsters University. He was appointed Story Supervisor on the film, quite a feat for his first official gig at Pixar. Then he was handed the responsibility of directing Party Central, a Monsters University short that is playing in theaters now with Muppets Most Wanted. I had the chance to speak with him about the short – read what I learned from him about the short and the studio after the break!
At the D23 Expo, Disney and Pixar screened a short entitled Party Central that is essentially a spinoff of Monsters University. It was scheduled to bow in theaters with The Good Dinosaur, which was set to be Pixar’s next feature film. However, after the delay of the dinosaur film, the release of Party Central was up in the air. However, the short had been completed and waiting until 2015 to release it did not make sense. Today, we have found out that the short is coming, and it is sooner than you think.
Historically, Blu-ray and DVD releases of films were the venue of choice for behind-the-scenes extras, while digital downloads tended to include solely the film and perhaps a short featurette delving into one aspect of the filmmaking process. That has changed recently, though, as downloadable copies of films have included many more extras and sometimes contain exclusive features that are not available elsewhere. Monsters University has just been released for digital download on iTunes, and it packs in a wealth of extras including deleted scenes. Find more details after the break!
It is challenging to decide which is more impressive – Pixar’s strong track record with the quality of its films or the studio’s ability to consistently release films that are immensely successful financially. Pixar films have grossed a combined $8 billion worldwide, demonstrating the animation studio’s worldwide popularity. There was no question that Monsters University would continue to rain financial success upon Pixar this year. Just last week, the film crossed the $700 million mark, making it the studio’s fourth highest grossing film worldwide.
You just never know what you’ll see at Disney’s D23 Expo. The gathering has become known for its early peeks and surprise screenings of the latest and greatest Disney has to offer. This year was no exception. Before unveiling early glimpses of next year’s The Good Dinosaur and 2015′s Inside Out, John Lasseter had a special surprise for attendees of the Art and Imagination: Animation at The Walt Disney Studios arena presentation. Expo-goers were treated to a full screening of the new Pixar short Party Central. Mike’s New Car (2002), a short attached to the Monsters, Inc. DVD, was the first extension of a Pixar feature film. Party Central continues that tradition almost 11 years later, as this latest toon takes place in the world of Monsters University. Check out my review after the break!
Following the release of Toy Story 3, many were fully satisfied by the conclusion to Andy’s story. The Pixar team, though, found a way to continue telling stories involving the great cast of toys without treading on the footsteps of the trilogy. Three Toy Story Toons have been released in theaters so far and have delighted fans with more heartwarming moments and humor. Pixar has now decided to extend the world of Monsters University into shorts, with the first one playing alongside The Good Dinosaur next year. Find more details after the break!
Pixar has a reputation for casting actors that work for its characters, rather than simply searching for celebrities to fill its roles. The studio has understood, from its first feature film, that a strong story and memorable characters are necessary to make a great film, and that those characters need to connect with the audience. Although you may recall the voices of veterans like Tom Hanks (Toy Story) and Albert Brooks (Finding Nemo), there are many other voices that are essential in bringing the story to life. Learn more about these other voices and the talented group that provides them after the break!
It is customary for films’ box office take to drop 50% or more in their second weekends, especially when considering franchises. The idea is that there is a built-in audience excited to view the films during opening weekend, and then come their second weekend, there is a significant dip in the number of interested parties. Positive word-of-mouth is a major force that prevents large drops, something we have seen often with Pixar films. In its second weekend, Monsters University performed admirably, dropping only 44%, and stayed at the top of the box office. Read about all the numbers after the break!
In speaking about the technical aspects of Pixar films, the animation is always the first to be mentioned. There are many other departments that work on these animated films, without which the films would not look or sound as great. The sound design is sadly, often overlooked, but from a Monsters University video recently released, you can see the importance and complexity of sound in a film. A scene from the first challenge of the Scare Games is used to demonstrate how the sound came together. Watch the video after the break!
Animators have a long-standing history of hiding small easter eggs for audiences to find, including references to the real world, to other films, and to famous figures. While many film studios do it (including those that produce live-action films), Pixar’s easter eggs tend to generate the most publicity. That is because there are several easter eggs that the studio hides in every single one of its films, including a nod to its upcoming films. Through personal observations and help from the fans, I have compiled a preliminary list of the easter eggs in Monsters University, which you can see after the break!
While Pixar films have received mixed responses from critics over the last few years, the general public continues to come out in droves. The Pixar brand is the strongest in Hollywood, with all 13 of its prior films debuting at the top spot of the weekend box office during their opening weekends. In North America alone, those films have together brought in over $3 billion. Monsters University, which opened this past weekend, has kept the perfect streak going, raking in approximately $82 million. Find more details after the break!
One of the biggest criticisms directed at Pixar today is that the studio has become reliant on producing sequels to its films rather than films based on original stories. We live in an era where franchises are highly sought after by major studios because they are more likely to be successful at the box office. Films such as Star Wars Episode VII and Fast & Furious 7 are currently in development and will likely bring in hundreds of millions of dollars. Audiences have a connection with the characters in franchises, hence the larger success rate. Pixar’s argument has been that it is not looking to develop sequels – it is seeking to bring great stories to the screen. Toy Story 2 and 3 were success stories. Monsters University, Pixar’s first prequel which arrives in theaters today, is another great addition to the studio’s catalog. Check out the spoiler-free review after the break!
PixArt: Monsters Mash-Up Round 4 Mixes With The Worlds of Calvin and Hobbes, Harry Potter, Batman, Marvel, More
At long last, Monsters University has been unleashed in theaters nationwide! To celebrate Pixar’s fourteenth animated feature, we’re back with a super-sized batch of Monsters Mash-Ups. So, before you head out the door to go see Pixar’s first prequel, take a moment to peruse this final batch of artwork from some of our very talented readers. This time out, Monsters take on the worlds of UP, Tangled, Speed Racer, Batman, Harry Potter and more!
PixArt: Monsters Mash-Up Round 3 Mixes With The Worlds of Doctor Who, The Muppets, Breaking Bad, More
We’ve been thrilled with all the great submissions we’ve received for our celebration of all things Monsters. And with the release of Monsters University (June 21) just one day away, our artistic readers have kicked into high gear! We’ve received so many great pieces for our final posting that we’ve decided to break it up into two separate posts. Both are jam-packed with fantastic new art. In batch 3 we see Monsters invading the worlds of Wreck-it Ralph, UP, The Muppets and Doctor Who, to name a few. And we just have to give a special shout-out to the epic mash-up brought to us by a group of artists collectively known as Mestres Ilustradores Do Poder Eterno. See their collaboration on a fun Star Wars mash-up and check out all the artists involved in this elaborate piece. (They will be back tomorrow with a pretty sensational MARVEL mash-up.) Check out Monsters Mash-Up Round 3 after the break!
We’re back with more Monsters! As we draw closer to the release of Monsters University (June 21), we continue our celebration with another batch of clever illustrations. This week’s eclectic collection of tributes includes send-ups of The Addam’s Family, My Neighbor Totoro, Gilligan’s Island and more. The artists clearly had great fun in coming up with these unique ideas, and we are sure you will enjoy them. Take a look at the 14 mash-ups after the break!
There are many employees that work together to bring an animated film to life. Often times, all Pixar employees are referred to as animators, even if they had little to do with how the animation appears on screen. This error is widespread because of the confusion surrounding what animation can achieve. Animators can move characters and environment details around, but it is the job of other employees to adjust other aspects of the scene such as lighting. Scott Clark, supervising animator of Monsters University, talked to me and a few other members of the press about how animation works. Find out seven things that he had to say about animation and Monsters University after the break!
PixArt: Monsters Mash-Up Round 1 Mixes With The Worlds of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Beauty and the Beast, More
We’re just a few weeks away from the debut of Pixar’s first prequel – Monsters University opens June 21 in theaters everywhere. To celebrate, we asked you to submit your best Monsters Mash-Up. Take any of the characters from the ‘Monsters’ universe and smash ‘em up with just about anything else. The results have been unsurprisingly entertaining! In this first batch alone, we see monsters invading the worlds of Star Wars, The Incredibles and The Lord of The Rings.
Disney Infinity is an ambitious new platform as it provides the developer the ability to release entire games. Previously reliant on producing standalone titles, the platform is a new venture for both Disney and Pixar properties. The starter pack will include The Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Monsters University. Today, Disney Interactive has released a video, additional details and screenshots of the Monsters University Play Set, including our first official look at Randy (yes, the same Randall Boggs from Monsters, Inc.). Take a peek after the break!
With summer quickly approaching, the last thing you’d think we’d be excited about is school. But when that school is Monsters University, there’s plenty to be happy about. We’re counting down the days ’til Pixar’s latest release hits the big screen on June 21, 2013. While we can’t wait to see Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan take on the world of college, it got us thinking about what other worlds they could wreak havoc on. Can you think of any? We want to see your Monsters Mash-Up. Find out how you can join in on the fun after the break!