Director Dan Scanlon and Producer Kori Rae Talk MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Blu-ray Extras, Last-Minute Changes to the Film, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 28 days ago

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Now available on Blu-ray and DVD is Pixar’s latest feature film Monsters University.  As the studio’s first prequel, the pic’s initial announcement was met with a mix of excitement and skepticism, but this summer audiences were treated to a film that was not only hilarious and gorgeous to look at, but also gutsy in its themes and message to young viewers.  While attending the press day for the film’s Blu-ray release at Pixar, I was able to sit down with director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae to talk all things Monsters University.

Scanlon and Rae discussed how involved they were in the extras and special features that are included on the Blu-ray, how they initially came to land their jobs as director and producer of Monsters University, the initial pitch meeting that explored possible Monsters Inc. sequels, making a significant last-minute change to the film by swapping the gender of a major character, and more.  Additionally, since the people at Pixar are all massive fans of a large variety of movies, I asked if there was one “bad” movie that they each love despite its less-than-stellar reputation.  Watch the video interview after the jump, and if you missed my interview with The Blue Umbrella director Saschka Unseld and producer Marc Greenberg, click here.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 28 days ago

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Pixar can boast a number of firsts in their run of successful animated feature films, but until Dan Scanlon’s Monsters University came along, the studio had never developed a prequel.  The decision to make a prequel comes with inherent risks, such as staying true to the spirit of the original film and delivering an honest story that isn’t a simple cash grab.  Monsters University wildly succeeds on both counts, with a well-crafted story that dares to tell viewers that dreams are not necessarily in their grasp just because they want it badly enough.  More importantly, Monsters University focuses on the all-important friendship between Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman), which was not always a rosy relationship.  Hit the jump for my review of Monsters University on Blu-ray, and to find out why owning the movie on home video will make you appreciate the feature even more.

Director Dan Scanlon Talks MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, Landing His Directorial Debut, Who He Went to for Advice and the Film’s Technological Advancements

by     Posted 1 year, 161 days ago

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As a fan of many of their movies, I’ve been wanting to go to Pixar, for some time now.  And since you have to either work there, know someone who works there, or get an invite to go there, I jumped at the recent opportunity to make the trip to Emeryville, Calif.to do interviews for their latest feature film, Monsters University, and had a great time while I was there.  The film follows Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal), who arrives at the campus with the dream of becoming a Scarer while James “Sulley” Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman) feels like he doesn’t have to put in the time or work to succeed because he was born with his talent.  When their journeys both prove to be a bit more complicated than they anticipated, they find help and friendship in the unlikeliest of places.

At the film’s press day, director Dan Scanlon talked about how this particular story idea came about, how he got the gig directing his first feature, who he went to for advice, the technological advancements made with the film, how close to completion they were still making tweaks and changes, making sure the film never got too scary, how the supporting characters grew bigger than they ever expected, and how they incorporated some of the familiar characters from Monsters, Inc.  Check out what he had to say after the jump. 

TOP 5: First Trailer for THOR: THE DARK WORLD, PAIN & GAIN, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Set Visit, JUSTICE LEAGUE, ‘Breaking Down the Movie’ Episode 1

by     Posted 1 year, 213 days ago

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Last night I had the opportunity to check out a late showing of Pain & Gain during which I encountered a few thoughts that I couldn’t shake: 1) I wish Michael Bay would make more films like this and less of the transforming car variety. 2) Why can’t Dwayne Johnson be in every movie? 3) This is probably the craziest “Based on a True Story” movie I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard Bay say that some of the most extreme elements of the plot are also the most true to the original story. This is good to know because had someone written a lot of what shows up in the film I would likely call it too farfetched for my suspended disbelief to withstand. Make no mistake, this is a wild, entertaining ride that utilizes layers of action, crime, comedy, sex, and even a touch of sadism to keep you invested from beginning to end.

My mini-review aside, this week’s Top 5 includes the first trailer for Thor: The Dark World, Pain & Gain interviews with Michael Bay, Mark Wahlberg, and more, a recap of our visit to Pixar for Monsters University, news that Zack Snyder could take the helm of Justice League pending Man of Steel‘s success, and the first entry in a new interview series from Steve: “Breaking Down the Movie” with The Place Beyond the Pines director Derek Cianfrance. As is customary, a brief recap and link to each of the above is ready and waiting after the jump.

New Full-Length Trailer for Pixar’s MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

by     Posted 1 year, 215 days ago

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Disney has released a new trailer for the Monsters, Inc. prequel Monsters University.  The pic focuses on the college years of Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman), and this new full-length trailer reveals the film’s plot.  The Revenge of the Nerds-esque story finds Mike and Sully joining a fraternity of outcasts, as all of the Greek houses must compete against each other in the Scare Games, which carry dire consequences for the losers.  The film looks like it could be Pixar’s most purely fun movie yet, and early reactions from the screening at CinemaCon had many praising the pic’s heart.  If you missed any of Dave’s coverage from his visit to Pixar, be sure to check out his review from seeing 40 minutes of footage, 35 things to know about the film, and his interview with director Dan Scanlon.

Hit the jump to watch the new trailer.  The film also features the voices of Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, John Krasinski, Nathan Fillion, Bonnie Hunt, Dave Foley, Sean Hayes, Joel Murray, Peter Sohn, Aubrey Plaza, Tyler Labine, Bobby Moynihan, Julie Sweeney, Alfred Molina, Beth Behrs, and of course, John Ratzenberger. Monsters University opens June 21, 2013.

Director Dan Scanlon Talks MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, Mike’s Central Story, Prequel vs Sequel, Introducing New Characters and Re-Inventing Old Ones

by     Posted 1 year, 215 days ago

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During our recent set visit to Pixar Animation Studios, we were treated to an absolute deluge of behind-the-scenes information for the upcoming animated film, Monsters Unviersity.  Director Dan Scanlon kindly took some time out of his busy schedule for a roundtable interview in which he talked about making Mike’s story the central arc, re-imagining familiar characters as younger versions of themselves, introducing new characters into the universe, college movies as source materials, possible Blu-ray extras and a lot more.

Monsters University features the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, John Krasinski, Nathan Fillion, Charlie Day and many more.  The film opens in 2D and 3D starting June 21st.  Hit the jump for the full interview.

Director Dan Scanlon and Producer Kori Rae Talk MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, How the Story Changed, John Lasseter’s Suggestions, and More at CinemaCon

by     Posted 1 year, 221 days ago

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Shortly before world premiering Monsters University at CinemaCon, I was able to speak with director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae on the red carpet.  We talked about the way the story changed during development, how many versions of the film they went through, how John Lasseter kept reminding them that it was “college fun,” and more.  In addition, they also showed they have a sense of humor, because I may have started the interview off by asking whether it was tough to get Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton back for the sequel to Monsters Ball

Finally, while I had to miss the screening of Monsters University due to my interview schedule, I spoke to a number of people that saw it and they all said it was great and is exactly what they expect from a Pixar movie.  Hit the jump to watch the interview.  Monsters University hits theaters June 21st.

First Featurette for MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Offers an Extended Preview of the Film and Detailed Plot Synopsis

by     Posted 1 year, 291 days ago

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The first featurette for Pixar’s Monsters University has made its way online.  The film goes back to Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan’s (John Goodman) college days and shows how the two overcame their differences and became BFFs.  The studio is understandably secretive with regards to their upcoming projects, but in this featurette, director Dan Scanlon provides an extended preview of what fans can expect from the new film, including some pretty intricate story details.  I won’t get into the nitty gritty here on the front page for those that want to remain in the dark, suffice it to say that the film involves a heavy fraternity/sorority element and it certainly sounds like the folks at Pixar are drawing inspiration from classic college comedies.

Hit the jump to take a look at the featurette, which is included on the upcoming 3D Blu-ray release of Monsters IncMonsters University opens on June 21st.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Recruits New Students in Rose Bowl TV Spot

by     Posted 1 year, 329 days ago

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Pixar’s Monsters University is capitalizing on college bowl games in order to recruit new students/viewers.  A new TV spot for the Monsters, Inc. prequel debuted during the Rose Bowl today and invited the best and brightest young monsters to visit their campus.  You can get a virtual tour by heading over to the film’s fantastic website complete with campus store.

Directed by Dan Scanlon (Tracy) and featuring the returning voices of John Goodman, Billy Crystal and Steve BuscemiMonsters University opens June 21st.  Hit the jump to watch the recruitment commercial.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Collegiate Experience: Our Review of Footage from MONSTERS UNIVERSITY and the MONSTERS, INC. 3D Re-Release

by     Posted 1 year, 364 days ago

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This past weekend, I was invited to participate in a collegiate experience for Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University, the prequel to 2001′s Monsters, Inc. Directed by Dan Scanlon (Tracy), Monsters University features the returning vocal talent of John Goodman as Sulley, Billy Crystal as Mike Wazowski and Steve Buscemi as Randall Boggs and takes place when the monsters were cutting their teeth in college. To get into the school spirit, we were invited to USC’s campus to attend a tailgate and the game against #1 ranked Notre Dame. But the real highlight of the day was getting to see not only a post-converted scene from the upcoming re-release of Monsters, Inc. in 3D, but the first footage from Monsters University itself!

Monsters, Inc. 3D screams into theaters starting December 19th, which will have to tide you over until the release of Monsters University on June 21st, 2013. Hit the jump for my review of the sneak peek footage. 

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Debuts Fully-Interactive Official Website

by     Posted 2 years, 48 days ago

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It’s been “Back-to-School” time for kids for a little while now and the students at Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University are no exception.  The official website for the Monsters, Inc. prequel is a brilliantly designed marketing scheme fronted by the MU admissions and welcome page. The fully-functional website includes links for prospective students, alumni and faculty, as well as a breakdown of the various schools (ie School of Scaring, School of Liberal Arts & Monstrosities) and even an events calendar.  Why, they’ve even got a fully functional store so you can buy some gear from your favorite fictional alma mater! Someone definitely had fun with this site.  If you’re a fan of Monsters, Inc., you’re going to enjoy it!

Director Dan Scanlon’s Monsters University, featuring the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, opens June 21st, 2013.  Hit the jump for images from the site. 

Four Teaser Trailers and Six Images for Pixar’s MONSTERS UNIVERSITY [Updated]

by     Posted 2 years, 158 days ago

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Disney has released four, slightly different teaser trailers for the Monsters, Inc. prequel, Monsters University along with the first four images from the film.  In a press release, director Dan Scanlon explained, “Billy Crystal’s an amazing comedic actor.  He gave us so much fun material, we decided to cut four slightly different versions of the trailer. We are so happy to have him back as Mike!”  The trailers are cute, and I got a big laugh out of the last joke. I’m wondering if Mike is an R.A. because it definitely seems like Sulley (John Goodman) is a frat boy.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer and images [Update: We added two pieces of concept art]. The film also features the voices of Steve Buscemi, Dave Foley, Julia Sweeney, Joel Murray, and Peter Sohn. Monsters University opens June 21, 2013.

Exclusive: Director Dan Scanlon Talks About Pixar’s MONSTERS UNIVERSITY at D23

by     Posted 3 years, 96 days ago

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At this weekend’s D23 (essentially Disney’s Comic-Con), I got to speak with director Dan Scanlon about Pixar’s Monsters University.  For those that don’t know, Monsters U is a prequel to Monsters Inc. and it’s the story of how Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman) meet.  As you can probably tell by the title, it was at college when they were 18.

During the interview, Scanlon talked about the challenge of making a prequel to such a successful film, how Pixar will rip apart their storyboards until they get it right, the voice cast, what’s the big challenge the animators have to overcome on Monsters U, what did they show the fans at D23, has he started thinking about any Easter Eggs for the film, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Preliminary Synopsis and Logo Revealed; Will Be Released in 3D

by     Posted 3 years, 198 days ago

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Back in April, we reported that the release date of Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. prequel Monsters University had been pushed back from November 2012 to June 21st, 2013, and we also unveiled what appeared to be the official logo for the film. Well now Disney/Pixar has released the logline for the flick, as well as the full logo in color (the other one was black and white). The preliminary synopsis is as follows:

“Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. Monsters University unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.”

The film is said to take place in college, where Wazowski and Sullivan first meet. Disney also confirms that the film will be released in 3D (naturally). To be fair, the 3D for Pixar’s Up was fantastic, so I have no doubt that Monsters University will benefit. The film is being directed by Dan Scanlon, with Kori Rae producing. Billy Crystal and John Goodman are set to reprise their roles from the first film.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Kicked Back to June 21, 2013; Official Logo Revealed

by     Posted 3 years, 236 days ago

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Pixar has been able to keep pace of one film per year, but 2012 was looking to get a little crazy with Brave set for the summer and the Monsters, Inc. prequel Monsters University scheduled for the holiday season.  The film would take a look the college days of James “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman) and Michael “Mike” Wazowski (Billy Crystal). However, it looks like Pixar will now have more time to work on Monsters University as the Exhibitor Relations Facebook page is reporting that Pixar has moved the film’s release date to June 21, 2013.  No other film currently occupies that date, and I’m glad that Pixar now has some breathing room for Monsters University.  The film’s old date, November 2, 2012, will now be occupied by Disney’s animated film Reboot Ralph.

In a related story, The Pixar Blog uncovered the logo for Monsters University, which you can see above.

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