Monsters, Inc. film poster
|Directed by||Pete Docter
|Produced by||Darla K. Anderson
|Written by||Andrew Stanton
Robert L. Baird
|Music by||Randy Newman|
|Studio||Pixar Animation Studios|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Release date(s)||November 2, 2001|
|Running time||94 minutes|
Monsters, Inc. is a 2001 computer-animated film and the fourth feature-length film produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It was directed by Pete Docter, co-directed by Lee Unkrich and David Silverman, and was written by Jack W. Bunting, Jill Culton, Peter Docter, Ralph Eggleston, Dan Gerson, Jeff Pidgeon, Rhett Reese, Jonathan Roberts and Andrew Stanton.
The film was released to theaters by Walt Disney Pictures in the United States on November 2, 2001, in Australia on December 26, 2001, and in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2002. It was a commercial and critical success, grossing over $525,366,597 worldwide. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes also reported extremely positive reviews with a fresh 95% approval rating.
Monsters, Inc. is the power utility in Monstropolis, a city populated by monsters; the company uses the power of human children screams when scared by its employees, entering their rooms via closets linked to special doors on the company's "scare floor", to generate the city's power. However, due to children becoming desensitized, the company finds itself struggling to meet power needs. One day, while turning in paperwork to the dispachment manager Roz (Bob Peterson), the company's top scarer, James P. Sullivan (John Goodman) ("Sulley") finds a door left unattended and powered, but looking inside, finds the room empty. However, he quickly discovers its child, a toddler girl (Mary Gibbs), has followed him back to the monster world, thinking him to be a giant kitty. Fearing human contact, Sulley collects the girl and gets in touch with his partner Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) to determine what to do. Dressing the girl up as a monster, and giving her the nickname "Boo", the two attempt to return her the next day but instead discover that Sulley's competitor for top scarer, Randall (Steve Buscemi), has created a device to extract screams from children, whom he brings into the monster world for this purpose.
Sulley and Mike, carrying Boo, attempt to alert Monsters, Inc.'s president, Henry J. Waternoose (James Coburn), while he is attending a training session for new monsters. However, Waternoose asks Sulley to demonstrate his scare tactics, and when Sulley growls loudly, Boo reveals herself as a human child. Waternoose, taking Boo, promised to set things right, but instead reveals he is in on Randall's scheme, worried for the future of the company, and exiles Sulley and Mike to the Himalayas in Nepal. Sulley and Mike have a falling out. Sulley, only concerned about getting to Boo quickly scavenges parts from stockpiles from the Abominable Snowman (John Ratzenberger), another exiled monster, and returns to the nearest village to use a door and return to Monsters, Inc. He arrives in time to rescue Boo, shortly followed by Mike who helps them to escape from Randall. The three go into the company's door vaults in search of Boo's door, which quickly becomes like a roller coaster ride. Boo's laughter powers the millions of doors in storage. After a chase through numerous doors, Randall catches them and he nearly destroys Sulley. His gloating makes Boo angry; she overcomes her fear of Randall, jumps on his back and beats him into submission with a baseball bat. Sulley throws him through a door. On the other side of the door (in a caravan), a mother beats Randall senseless with a shovel after mistaking him for an alligator. Meanwhile, Sulley and Mike destroy the door. The three turn and trick Waternoose into stating the purpose of Randall's scare machine on tape. Roz reveals herself as the lead agent of the Child Detection Agency, a group that deals with human contact, and takes Waternoose away. Roz then forces Sulley and Mike to return Boo home, and after a tearful goodbye, her door is "shredded", though Sulley keeps one of the wood splinters as a reminder.
Sometime later, Sulley becomes president of Monsters, Inc., and changes the company approach; as they found with Boo, children's laughter is several times more effective than their screams, so they now send monsters in to make children laugh. Mike himself and others like Randall's former assistant Fungus (Frank Oz) enjoy themselves by doing stand-up and dressing up in silly costumes. Mike reveals to Sulley a secret project he was working on, recreating Boo's door piece by piece, and with the final piece Sulley kept, the door is able to work again. As the movie closes, Sulley peeks into Boo's room (unseen by the audience), where a voice says "Kitty!" showing she still remembers him.
The idea for Monsters, Inc. started with a lunch in 1994. At this lunch was John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Joe Ranft. One of the ideas that came out of the brainstorming session was a film about monsters. Docter's original idea revolved around a 30-year old man dealing with monsters, which he drew in a book as a child, coming back to bother him as an adult. Each monster represented a fear he had and conquering those fears caused the monsters to eventually disappear.
Docter started working on the script in 1996 and with Harley Jessup, Jill Culton and Jeff Pidgeon completed a draft treatment in February 1997. The initial story did not have the character of Mike Wazowski. He wasn't added until a story review meeting between Pixar and Disney in April 1998. The film went into production in 2000.
The release of Monsters, Inc. was almost delayed by a lawsuit brought by Lori Madrid against Pixar, Disney and Chronicle Books. The suit alleged the defendants had stolen her story There's a Boy in My Closet, which she had mailed out in October 1999 to a number of publishers, including Chronicle Books. The plaintiffs had requested a temporary injunction against the release of the film. Judge Clarence Brimmer, Jr. had a hearing on the injunction on November 1, 2001, the day before the film was to be released. He judged against the injunction, and the entire suit was thrown out on June 26, 2002.
Monsters, Inc. won the Academy Award for Best Song (Randy Newman, after 15 previous nominations, for If I Didn't Have You). It was also nominated for Best Animated Feature (lost to Shrek), and Best Music, Original Score (lost to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring).
There are numerous references to other Pixar films to be found in Monsters, Inc.; one example is that near the end of the film, Boo hands Sully a Jessie doll from Toy Story 2, the Luxo ball, and a plush of Nemo from Finding Nemo. Since Finding Nemo was the Pixar film that followed Monsters, Inc., it was presumably a sneak peek to the upcoming film. Another is when Randall arrives in the trailer, it is the trailer from A Bug's Life, and the pizza delivery truck from Toy Story is seen sitting next to it.
One month after the movie's theatrical release (on December 7th, 2001) a version with alternative end credits was brought into theatres. There, the credits are accompanied by a "blooper reel", followed by the musical "Put That Thing Back Where it Came From or So Help Me", performed by the cast. This version can be found as a separate feature on the collector's Edition DVD and in the credits of the 4:3 fullscreen DVD version as well as the end credits of the R2-R5 widescreen version for Eastern Europe.
As is common for Pixar movies, international versions differ in the contents. Many English inscriptions are either removed, or replaced by more generic symbols, especially in Monstropolis and at the Scarefloor. For instance, the "Stalk/Don't Stalk" traffic light is replaced by a green two-headed monster (for "Stalk") and a forbidding red hand (for "Don't Stalk"). Additionally, an animation of Sully telling Boo to go to sleep was changed for Non-English version, as in the US version, he holds up two fingers to illustrate "to" in "You - go - to - sleep". Several European DVDs contain only the "international" version, whereas the US DVDs and US/UK BluRay contain the "US" version. Some of the examples for alternative angles can be seen in the bonus material of the 2-Disc DVD and Blu-Ray of the film.
A short was made by Pixar in 2002 named Mike's New Car, in which the two main characters have assorted misadventures with a car Mike has just bought. This film was not screened in theaters, but is included with all home video releases of Monsters, Inc.
A manga version of Monsters, Inc. was made by Hiromi Yamafuji and distributed in Kodansha's Comic Bon Bon magazine in Japan; the manga was published in English by Tokyopop until it became out of print.
A series of video games, and a multi-platform video game were created, based on the film, such as a film adaptation, Monsters Inc., developed by A2M on PS2, PC, Game Boy Color, and GBA consoles in 2001.
Feld Entertainment toured a Monsters, Inc. edition of their Disney on Ice skating tour from 2003 to 2007.
Monsters, Inc. has inspired three attractions at Disney theme parks around the world.