Monsters University

imageFilm research

Monsters University is a 3D animated comedy produced by Pixar animation studios. The film was released in 2013 and has a running time of 104 minutes. The 2001 prequel ‘Monsters Inc’ was directed by Dan Scanlon, produced by Kori Rae and released and distributed by Walt Disney Studios into the cinemas. The plot of the film follows the same main characters from ‘Monsters Inc’, Mike and Sulley, and their experience at college.

The film was originally going to be released on November 16, 2012, but was however pushed back to avoid competition with another film, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2”. It was finally set for a release on June 21, 2013 and was released on this date. The film in total cost $200 million and grossed in the box office to $744.2 million. Monsters University was Pixar’s first prequel film from plans to follow the sequel since 2005.

The release of Monsters University had its worldwide premiere on June 5, 2013, as a special screening at BFI Southbank in London with the director and producer in attendance. The film had its Asian premiere as the opening film of the 2013 Shanghai International Film Festival on June 15, 2013. It premiered in the United States on June 8, 2013, at the Seattle International Film Festival.

The marketing for this film was considered ‘very impressive’ as they went a step further than posters, trailers and simple media tactics. Pixar created a fake functioning university website and campus merchandise. The website contained information, upcoming events and a campus map. Where as the merchandise contained MU t-shirts, hats and jumpers. This unique approach with others cost Walt Disney Company over $2.1 billion. Of that $2.1 billion, Disney spent almost $550 million on television ads and over $100 million each for Internet and magazine ads.

Back to 2005, Disney created Circle 7 Animation, or Disney Circle 7 Animation. This short-lived company was going to produce the film, however, following Pixar’s acquisition by Disney, all projects of Circle 7 animation were cancelled and the studio was soon closed.

For research, the filmmakers visited several colleges in the U.S., including Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Alabama, observing college architecture, student life, and the teaching methods of professors and faculty. They also researched fraternity life (which is central to the film) and many of the film’s producers spent several weeks at a fraternity house to get the experience right of a real University experience.