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!