Familiar lessons in family films are “Stay true to yourself!”, “Follow your dreams!”, and “Work hard and you can accomplish anything!” This isn’t true, but it’s a nice sentiment. The truth is that there are some things we’re not capable of accomplishing no matter how hard we work at them. That’s a tougher lesson, but also a more rewarding one. By embracing a more thoughtful theme but never forgetting their oft-repeated message about the importance of friendship, Pixar has returned to form in a big way with Monsters University, a film that’s not only intelligent, but also incredibly cute and ridiculously funny.
Monsters University will be here soon, and I like what I’m seeing. I like it so much that I’ve seen enough. Even though we post plenty of trailers, clips, and featurettes on the site, I don’t watch all of them if I’m already interested in the film. That stuff is for the people who need more convincing. So if you’re still unsure about Monsters University, we have seven clips and 13 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage featuring the cast from Pixar’s upcoming prequel recording their lines.
Hit the jump to check out the clips and behind-the-scenes footage. The film features the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, 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.
Pixar took some big chances from 2007-2009. Ratatouille starred a rat (not a cuddly animal), WALL-E spent its first act in a quiet and abandoned Earth, and Up had a geriatric as an adventure hero. They’re all great movies, and none of them came close to matching the $1 billion worldwide pulled in from Toy Story 3 (it’s worth noting that of the 2007-2009 movies, only Up was in 3D). And while Cars 2 grossed only $559 million worldwide, its merchandising sales were probably through the roof. These movies and have hopefully put enough into the company’s coffers that they can have the creative freedom to pursue the original features The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out, and the Untitled Dia de Los Muertos movie. The sequels will begin again in November 2015 with Finding Dory, and it looks like a sequel to another Pixar movie might be in the works.
Hit the jump for more.
As we stepped onto the campus of Monsters University, we were greeted by the school’s cheerleading squad who were accompanied by the drum section of their marching band. Music and cheers filled the air as we walked to the center of campus where a huge tailgating party had been set up for the annual homecoming game against Fear Tech. In the quad, all manner of student organizations were out in force trying to sign us up for the Yearbook Club, the Greek Council and the Art Club (or maybe it was just a guy named Art…). As soon as we set foot inside the doors to the main hall, we knew we had arrived … at Pixar Animation Studios.
In what was too short a time at Pixar, our group was whisked on a whirlwind behind-the-scenes journey of their latest animated feature (and The Blue Umbrella, the short that will be preceding it in theaters). Monsters University, the studio’s first prequel, will re-introduce fans of Monsters, Inc. to the college versions of Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman). Hit the jump for 35 things you need to know about it!
Pixar recently sent out a holiday card, and the card contains the concept art for the studios 2013 – 2016 slate of pictures. The card includes previously released concept art for Monsters University as well as a first look at The Good Dinosaur, the Untitled Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind (now titled Inside Out), and the Untitled Dia de los Muertos movie. There’s nothing too revealing about any of this concept art, but it’s still nice to have a glimpse at three Pixar films that aren’t sequels or prequels.
Hit the jump to check out the concept art along with loglines for the films. The Good Dinosaur opens May 30, 2014. The Untitled Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind opens June 19, 2015. The Untitled Dia de los Muertos movie opens in 2016.
Disney has just sent out a press release announcing release dates and changes for their upcoming slate of films. The most notable announcement is that Edgar Wright‘s Ant-Man finally has a release date. The little-big-superhero is due to hit theaters on November 6, 2015. Since this will be the first Marvel movie to follow The Avengers 2 (which opens May 1, 2015), I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Hank Pym pop up in Joss Whedon‘s film.
Here’s the rest of the list:
- Iron Man 3 will now be available in 3D – previously announced 5/3/13 wide playdate is unchanged (Marvel)
- Phineas and Ferb moves to “2014 Undated Wide” (from 7/28/13 wide)
- Thor: The Dark World is final title of previous “Thor 2” and will now be available in 3D – previously announced 11/8/13 wide playdate is unchanged (Marvel)
- Bears is now dated on 4/18/14 wide (Disneynature)
- Guardians of the Galaxy is final title of previous “Marvel Untitled” – previously announced 8/1/14 is unchanged (Marvel)
- DISNEY ANIMATION UNTITLED is now dated on 11/7/14 wide
- PIXAR ANIMATION UNTITLED is now dated on Wed 11/25/15 wide
Pixar always likes to sneak in Easter eggs for their upcoming movies, and Brave is no exception. The studio placed their Easter eggs in the woodcarver/witch’s shop. There’s an image of Sully carved into a piece of wood since Pixar’s next film is Monsters University. Also, the studio has placed the Pizza Planet truck in every movie, and they had to get a little clever to get a car into a movie set in medieval Scotland. Their solution was to make it one of the witch’s woodcarvings and hide it behind a candle.
Hit the jump to check out images of the Easter eggs. Monsters University opens in 3D on June 21, 2013.
This week on The Collision, we’re talking Pixar. We talk about how the studio now stands at a crossroads as their last two movies haven’t received universal acclaim, and the old creative heads are starting to move on to other endeavors. We also talk about Brave and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter before moving on to our recommendations.
Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for last week’s episode, and click here to add the podcast to your RSS. We’re also now on iTunes. Be sure to follow The Collision on Twitter for updates, and you can follow us on Twitter at @MattGoldberg, @AdamChitwood, and @DrClawMD (Dave Trumbore). Hit the jump to check out the trailers for this week’s recommendations.
Sometimes meeting in the middle isn’t good enough. There’s merit in compromise, but it can also foster mediocrity. In order to be brave and bold, you have to step out of a comfort zone and take a chance on something that may not appeal to the masses. From 2007 – 2009, Pixar excelled at this risk-taking in the field of animated family films. They proudly made a movie about a rat and artistic expression. They showed no qualms in spending an entire first act on a post-apocalyptic Earth. They embraced an elderly hero who used his walker as a weapon. Making a fairy tale with a female protagonist wasn’t groundbreaking, but it was new ground for the revered animation studio. However, their new film Brave, retreats into the timidity of a standard princess narrative, limits the view of young girls to merely the issues they have with their mothers, and then teaches a weak lesson about communication. The movie is filled with lush visuals, a nice sense of humor, and a good heart, but there’s not much bravery in Brave.
Last week we showed you the first images from the new Toy Story short film, Toy: Story: Small Fry. The movie focuses on Buzz Lightyear getting left at a fast food restaurant and requiring the help of Happy Meal-like toys in order to get back home and stop a diminutive Buzz imposter. In the clip, we see Buzz trying to escape but landing right in the middle of a support group for discarded Fun Meal toys (you’ll briefly hear Jane Lynch as the group’s narcissistic leader, Neptuna).
Hit the jump to check out the clip. The short film also features the voices of Tim Allen, Tom Hanks, John Ratzenberger, and Joan Cusack. Toy Story: Small Fry will play in front of The Muppets, which opens November 23rd.
The first image from the new Toy Story short, Small Fry, has popped up online. We reported in August that short film would have Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) getting left behind at a fast-food restaurant and trying to find his way back home with the help of less popular, Happy Meal-like toys. It turns out there’s a bit more to it because one of the Happy Meal-toys kidnaps Buzz and tries to take over his play-filled existence. Jane Lynch (Glee) will make her Pixar debut as the Happy Meal toys’ narcissistic support-group leader Neptuna.
Hit the jump to check out the full image and adorably tiny Lightyear feet. The seven-minute short will be attached to The Muppets, which opens November 23rd. Toy Story: Small Fry also features the voices of Tom Hanks, John Ratzenberger, and Joan Cusack. [We have added a new image, and updated the story with a hi-res version of the previously-released image]
Pixar Animation Studios classics like Toy Story, Up, Wall-E, Ratatouille, and Cars will soon be commemorated with their own unique stamp designs in 2011. Citing Pixar’s “exciting, contemporary characters and strong themes involving family and friends,” the United States Postal Service will begin circulating the “Send a Hello” stamps on August 19th, 2011.
To check out the official USPS release and to catch a glimpse of the five designs, hit the jump.
Last week, we reported that Pixar was possibly getting into the direct-to-video business by spin-offing Cars into a home entertainment movie called Planes. While the success of Cars made a spin-off seem like a reasonable business decision, Bleeding Cool reports that Pixar is not actively working on the movie. Instead, the movie is being developed over at Disney Toon Studios. They’re the folks best known for making disposable, direct-to-video sequels like Bambi II and The Lion King 1½. Pixar isn’t doing the animation and the extent of their involvement is unknown regarding the story. Bleeding Cool notes that Pixar and CCO John Lasseter are protective of their franchises, so they may serve as consultants in some capacity. But overall it looks like Planes won’t really be flying under Pixar’s banner.
If you’ve been reading my Toy Story 3 interviews, then you know I went to Pixar Animation Studios last weekend for the film’s press day. Pixar is a one of those places everyone wants to work and everyone wonders why their workplace can’t have things like a cereal bar or massage therapists on staff. The answer to the first question is that they have hundreds of applications and very few open positions. The answer to the second question is that your workplace probably hasn’t made movies that together grossed over $5.5 billion worldwide.
But I was able to walk around in total awe of the place. I took plenty of photos and you can check them out after the jump. But I must warn you: if seeing me have fun causes you physical pain, then this article isn’t for you.