Kelsey Mann Talks PARTY CENTRAL, the MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Short Film Playing in Theaters in Front of MUPPETS MOST WANTED

by     Posted 130 days ago

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Directed by Kelsey Mann, the Monsters University short Party Central (showing in theaters with Muppets Most Wanted), sees Mike and Sully back at Monsters University for a fun-filled weekend with their fraternity brothers.  The Oozma Kappa gang is throwing their first party, but when no one shows up, Mike and Sully come up with a plan to make sure their party becomes the most epic party the school has ever seen.

During the Muppets Most Wanted press day, Kelsey Mann demonstrated the process for pitching this short, and then talked about how the idea for Party Central came about, how the people that worked on the short had also worked on the feature, what a smooth transition it was to go from being story supervisor to director, choosing your battles when you’re doing animation, how hands-on John Lasseter was with the short, and that he’d love to do more Monsters shorts.  Check out what he had to say after the jump. 

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 272 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.

New Posters and Clip from Pixar Short THE BLUE UMBRELLA, Part of the MONSTERS UNIVERSITY’s Blu-ray Bonus Features

by     Posted 283 days ago

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In anticipation of Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University being released on Blu-ray October 29th, we have three new posters and a clip from the animated short, The Blue Umbrella, to share with you today.  Seen in the bonus features of the Monsters University Blu-ray, The Blue Umbrella centers on a budding relationship between the title character and another unique umbrella.  The photo-realistic short was directed by Saschka Unseld.  You can read up on our review of the short here, plus check out a couple of interviews with Unseld.

Hit the jump to check out the previously unreleased posters and to watch the clip from The Blue Umbrella.

D23 Recap: Disney/Pixar’s Presentations of THE GOOD DINOSAUR, INSIDE OUT, FINDING DORY, TOY STORY OF TERROR! and a MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Short

by     Posted 353 days ago

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If you’re a fan of all things Disney and have yet to attend D23,  make plans to change that for next year as this event is only going to get bigger and better. Today was my first-ever experience attending D23, the annual Disney event that’s just for fans.  In my naivete, I assumed it would be like San Diego Comic-Con.  Some things are similar: the lines, the sneak peeks, the star sightings.  But where Comic-Con is a loose collection of mostly unrelated one-hour panels scattered across a few days, D23 is a top-notch production meant to entertain and reward fans from start to finish.

In today’s D23 presentation for “Art and Imagination: Animation at the Walt Disney Studios”, the production company’s three animation divisions were highlighted.  This article deals with a recap of the anticipated work coming out of Disney/Pixar, which includes Bob Peterson and Peter Sohn’s The Good Dinosaur, Pete Docter’s Inside Out, Andrew Stanton’s Finding Dory, and two short films, including Monsters University’s “Party Central” and the Halloween special, Toy Story OF TERROR!  Hit the jump for some up-to-the-minute info on each of these films as well as my take on the presentation itself.

Weekend Box Office: MONSTERS UNIVERSITY and WORLD WAR Z Top Giant June Weekend

by     Posted 1 year, 35 days ago

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Among this weekend’s major players, everyone is a winner this morning. In first place with an estimated $82 million, Monsters University scored the second highest debut ever for a Pixar title and the fifth-highest June debut of all time. World War Z, which shocked many by NOT bombing, came in a very strong second with $66 million. And Man of Steel, though down 64% in its sophomore frame, topped $200 million in ten days and saw its worldwide total soar above $345 million.

The 2013 box office was the biggest winner, however – scoring the best June weekend of all time as it closed the gap with 2012’s earnings.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Monsters University $82,000,000 $82
2.  World War Z $66,000,000 $66
3.  Man of Steel $41,215,000 $210
4.  This Is The End $13,000,000 $57.7
5.  Now You See Me $7,870,000 $94.4
6.  Fast & Furious 6 $4,725,000 $228.4
7.  The Internship $3,425,000 $38.3
8.  The Purge $3,412,000 $59.4
9  Star Trek Into Darkness $3,000,000 $216.6
10.  Iron Man 3 $2,175,000 $403.1

Friday Box Office: MONSTERS UNIVERSITY and WORLD WAR Z Top Giant Day at the US Box Office

by     Posted 1 year, 36 days ago

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In the wake of last week’s giant Man of Steel premiere, the domestic box office is poised for another blockbuster frame, thanks to Monsters University and World War Z. No surprise, Pixar’s fourteenth studio release took top honors Friday: earning an estimated $30.5 million from 4,004 locations (including $2.6 million from Thursday evening shows). That puts the Monsters, Inc. prequel on track for $80 million through Sunday – the second highest Pixar debut, after Toy Story 3.

No disrespect to Sully and Mike, but the bigger story this weekend may be World War Z. The adaptation of Max Brooks’ popular zombie-plague novel was dogged by production problems and bad press on its way to the screen, resulting in modest first-weekend projections of about $40 million. But after earning $25 million from 3,607 locations on Friday (including $3.6 million from Thursday & midnight previews), World War Z  is now expected to over-perform to the tune of $60 million through Sunday. That would mark a career high for producer/star Brad Pitt, whose previous best was 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith. We’ll have more on what should be the biggest June weekend of all time tomorrow, including an update on Man of Steel – off by 71% on day one of its sophomore frame.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Monsters University $30,510,000 $30.5
2.  World War Z $25,000,000 $25
3.  Man of Steel $12,700,000 $181.4
4.  This Is The End $4,100,000 $48.8
5.  Now You See Me $2,450,000 $89

Producer Kori Rae Talks MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, Deciding to Make a Prequel, the Film’s Biggest Challenges, the Terrific Cast and Easter Eggs

by     Posted 1 year, 37 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, producer Kori Rae (Up, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc.) talked about why they decided to go with a prequel to tell more of Mike and Sulley’s story, the biggest challenge in going backwards, why they chose college, the technological advances in lighting, how they got such a terrific cast of voice actors, that there might be a spin-off short featuring one of the supporting characters, and what sort of Easter eggs can be found in the film.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

Pixar by the Numbers – From TOY STORY to MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

by     Posted 1 year, 37 days ago

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This weekend, Monsters University becomes Pixar’s 14th feature film, the latest addition to an exceptional body of work that started nearly 20 years ago with Toy Story.  Pixar is coming off 2 movies that did not quite live up to the impeccable reputation built by the first 11, so it is up for discussion whether the animation studio can ever recapture that magic or must settle into a new phase.  At this fork in the road I present Pixar by the Numbers, a feature that provides a numbers-based snapshot of each Pixar movie and its place in the filmography by looking at the box office, critical reception, and miscellaneous facts.

Hit the jump for a comprehensive review of Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monster’s, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Brave, and Monsters University.

Billy Crystal and John Goodman Talk MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, the Mike/Sulley Friendship, and Creating Younger Versions of the Characters

by     Posted 1 year, 55 days ago

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Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman) are inseparable now, but that wasn’t always the case.  In Monsters University, Mike arrives at the campus with the dream of becoming a Scarer while Sulley feels like he won’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.

During a press conference with Billy Crystal and John Goodman, the two talked about what it was like to create younger versions of the characters they first brought to life in Monsters, Inc. in 2001, why the friendship of Mike and Sulley resonates, feeling like misfits themselves, how much things have changed since the last time they worked with Pixar, working with director Dan Scanlon, and what used to scare them.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

3 New Clips from Pixar’s MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Get Mike and Sulley to the Greeks

by     Posted 1 year, 58 days ago

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If you enjoyed the recent final trailer for Pixar’s Monsters University but want a little more footage, then you’ll enjoy these three new clips from the Dan Scanlon-directed picture.  Featuring Mike (voiced by Billy Crystal) and Sulley (voiced by John Goodman), the clips reveal a look into the undergrads’ adventures in Greek life on campus.

Hit the jump to check out the clips.  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 in 3D on June 21st.

Wear This: Custom MONSTERS INC. T-Shirts Courtesy of Threadless

by     Posted 1 year, 74 days ago

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With the Pixar prequel Monsters University opening in theaters this summer, the folks over at Threadless hosted a contest asking artists to design t-shirts inspired by the numerous characters that inhabit the first film, Monsters Inc.  The result is a pretty great collection of interesting and fun custom t-shirts that simultaneously express one’s love of art and Pixar movies.  Whether you prefer sporting an advertisement featuring the Abominable Snowman or something a bit more artsy that shows off the memorable Monsters Inc. doors, there’s something for everyone.  Head over to Threadless to peruse the collection.

Ricky Nierva and Jason Deamer Talk MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, Technical Challenges, Playing with Scale, and Re-Designing and Introducing Characters

by     Posted 1 year, 90 days ago

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During our recent set visit to Pixar Animation Studios for their upcoming film Monsters University, Production Designer Ricky Nierva and Character Animation Director Jason Deamer took time out of their schedules to participate in this one-on-one interview.  The pair talked about the film’s technical and creative challenges, establishing a broad sense of scale in the monsters’ world, re-imagining old characters, creating new characters, how  character animation inspired plot and vice versa, and just how much of the human world we might be seeing.

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.

Supervising Animator Scott Clark Talks MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, Challenges of Animating an Entire Campus Full of Monsters, New Characters, & More

by     Posted 1 year, 92 days ago

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During our recent set visit to Pixar Animation Studios for their upcoming film Monsters University, supervising animator Scott Clark took time out of his busy schedule to participate in this one-on-one interview.  Clark talked about what exactly it means to be a supervising animator, his favorite scenes to work on, the film’s biggest technical challenge, believability vs realism and his favorite characters.

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.

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, 92 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, 94 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.

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