The original story was written by Robert L. Baird, Jill Culton, Peter Docter, Ralph Eggleston, Dan Gerson, Jeff Pidgeon, Rhett Reese, Jonathan Roberts and Andrew Stanton. It was directed by Peter Docter, Lee Unkrich and David Silverman.
Monsters, Inc. premiered in the United States on October 28, 2001, and went into general release on November 2, 2001 with the best opening ticket sales ever for an animated film and the sixth best of all time.
The story is set in Monstropolis, a city inhabited by "monsters" who are the ones who come out of the closet to scare children. This is used to collect the screams of kids, which power the city. The main power company in the city is called Monsters, Inc. The company's CEO is a crab-like monster named Henry J. Waternoose III (James Coburn).
The top scarer at Monsters, Inc. is James P. "Sulley" Sullivan (John Goodman), a blue-furred bear / gorilla-like giant who is partnered with the green, one-eyed Michael "Mike" Wazowski (Billy Crystal). The two of them are best friends. Sulley is a gentle creature, while Mike is obsessive and dreams of getting a raise and marrying his fiancee, the Medusa-like Celia Mae (Jennifer Tilly) Sulley's main rival as a scarer is the chameleon-like Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi) who possesses the ability to change the color of his skin to match his surroundings.
As the two train and head off to work, it is learned the city is suffering a scream shortage. At the facility, it is learned the monsters can somehow connect to any child's door, thus being able to sneak in to locations around the world.
In order to help Mike out with his girlfriend, Sulley takes on one of his chores. He finds a lone door on the scarefloor, a violation of policy. An investigation leads to a small girl coming through. Sulley is frightened as it is believed all children are dangerous. After several misadventures, he tries to take the girl to Mike, who is enjoying a romantic dinner with his girlfriend at a sushi restaurant. The girl escapes and the two grab her up and barely make it home.
The girl stays overnight and is soon named Boo. The two come to know she is not as dangerous as once thought, but they still plan to return her the next day. She is disguised as a monster and sneaked inside. Mike wants to toss her in any old door, but Sulley wants hers.
A mistake gets Mike kidnapped by Randall, who had intended to take Boo. It is learned Randall has created a mechanism to extract screams straight from kidnapped kids. Sulley and Mike tell everything to Waternoose. The boss betrays them, banishing the two to the Himalayas.
The two stay with the Abominable Snowman until Sulley learns of a village down below. He sneaks back to his world that way.
Mike soon follows. They confront Randall and try to rescue Boo. In the end Mike and Sulley send Randall to a motor home in a Louisiana swamp, where he is beaten up by the family living inside (who mistake him for an alligator). Mike and Sulley destroy that door Randall went through, thus trapping him.
Mike and Sulley trick Waternoose into exposing himself to the CDA, whose true leader is Roz, the scare floor secretary. Boo is sent home and her door is put through a grinder.
Sulley comes to realize that laughter is more powerful than screams and the company is redefined. Mike now enters the doors and entertains the kids. In secret, Mike also reassembles Boo's door. Sulley takes one more peek inside and Boo is heard but not seen.
In December 1995, Disney and Pixar's computer animated began work for "Monsters Inc.". It began as scriptwriter in 1996 was originally titled "The Untitled Monsters Project" and early concept art of Mike, Sulley, Boo the human girl (with red haired orange), Watternoose, Fungus, and Randall. In 1997, Disney and Pixar brought you Toy Story presenting Monsters City. In August 1998, Disney/Pixar was the early test of Mike and Sulley and originally titled "Hidden City". In December 1998, Disney and Pixar after the success of "A Bug's Life" and also working title "Monsters Incorporated". In 1999, Boo was originally wearing Hemlich from A Bug's Life T-shirt. In 2000, Disney and Pixar after the success of "Toy Story 2" and titles "Monsters Incorporated" becomes into "Monsters Inc." are finished in computer-animated film from Disney/Pixar in 2001. Now "Monsters Inc." in theatres November 2, 2001 from Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios.
All of the digital displays in Monstropolis (Sulley's clock radio, scare station consoles, "Days Without An Accident" sign) are Nixie tubes, a neon digital display technology from the 1960s. The 5- and 6-digit numbers displayed with nixie tubes near the doors are all Pixar employees' or relatives' birthdays.
At the end of the credits, you can spot the sentence: "No monsters were harmed in the making of this motion picture."
Some of the "sets" in this film were used in Toy Story.
When George is coming out of his first room, a "Paul Bunyan" poster is seen. It was previously used in Sid's room in Toy Story. Another reference to Toy Story is when Fungus is pulling different backgrounds down for Randall and one of them is the wallpaper from Andy's room.
At the very beginning of the film, there is a shot of a shelf in the mechanical child's bedroom. On the far left is the toy aircraft that Buzz Lightyear rides on to prove to Woody that he can fly in a scene from Toy Story. This aircraft appears in several of Pixar's other films as well.
Mary Gibbs, the 3-year-old daughter of writer Rob Gibbs, provided Boo's voice. They were unable to get her to sit still in the recording studio, so instead, they followed her around with a boom-mic, and things she said while playing were cut into the movie.
When Boo pulls down the stack of CDs in Sulley and Mike's apartment, the one she is holding reads the name of another Pixar movie: A Bug's Life.
When Sulley and Mike come out of the house on the beach, the cloud from the first Toy Story film can be seen in the sky.
Sulley's big armchair in his apartment has a hole in the back to let his tail through.
The artificial robot child used for practice in the Monsters, Inc. factor looks a lot like Andy from Toy Story.
The animators originally drew tentacles instead of legs for Sulley. However, they decided to use legs because they believed the audience would concentrate more on the tentacles than Sulley's face.
In keeping with the running gag of Mike being obscured in every photo, on the DVD, the hole in the disc appears directly over where Mike would be standing.
Boo's teddy bear is the same bear as the one seen on the shelf in the simulator bedroom.
When Sulley puts Boo back in her room at the end of the film, Boo brings Sulley several toys referencing other Pixar movies, a yellow ball with the red star and blue stripe from Toy Story, a Jessie doll from Toy Story 2, and a toy that looks like Nemo from Finding Nemo.
It normally took 11 to 12 hours to render a single frame of Sulley because of his 2.3 million individually animated hair strands. Apparently, he has 2,320,413 hairs on his body.
In the background where the blob monster falls into a sidewalk grate, there is an art store called Gallerie du Dominique. This store is named after Dominique Louis, an art director at Pixar.
On the scarefloor leaderboard, the name immediately below Sullivan and Randall is Ranft, a reference to longtime Pixar writer Joe Ranft.
After Sulley says goodbye to Boo, he closes the closet door. When Boo jumps out of bed, she has grown 7% by the time she reaches the door. The programmers had to do this as she was too short.
John Goodman and Billy Crystal sometimes recorded their lines in the same room together, an unusual move for animated films, where actors more often work alone. Steve Buscemi and Frank Oz also recorded their lines together for the bathroom scene.
The ingredient list on the cereal that Sulley feeds Boo is as follows: Tentacles (includes suckers), sugar pods, gelatin, artificial flavor, artificial color (Yellow 53 & 54, Red 400, Blue 21, Plaid 16, Puce 30), salt, seawater, naturally occurring mercury, barium, sulfuric acid, lead, bile, blood, sweat, tears, zinc oxide, vitamins D & F, anemone, brine shrimp, coral, plankton, deadly puffer fish, depleted uranium (to preserve freshness).
The Abominable Snowman is modeled after the Abominable Snow Monster from Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
In early drafts, the character of Boo was written to be 6 years old. However, the writers decided to make Boo younger because it would make her more dependent on Sulley.
About 3:26 into the film, when the simulation is ended and the monster reaches for a knob on the control panel to review the videotape, just below and to the left of the knob is a little indicator which reads, "510-752-3000", which is Pixar's phone number.
At the very end, when Mike is talking to Sulley on the laughfloor, just before showing him the rebuilt door, a Halloween version of a pop-up clown toy in Andy's room from Toy Story can be seen behind them.
George Sanderson (the monster who keeps getting caught by the CDA for "2319" emergencies) is the monster who was supposed to be the protagonist for the original Monsters, Inc. concept — a bumbling, inept monster who couldn't scare anyone until a timid girl, put upon by her brothers, teaches him how to be scary. In the final version, George is even the same color and monster type in the original storyboards.
When Boo is in the bathroom stall, she "sings" two songs. The first one is to the tune of The Wizard of Oz, The second one is to the tune of One Lovefrom Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The newspaper article concerning Boo's appearance in Harryhausen's, though briefly seen, is actually readable and fully written in complete English.
According to the original character design sketches found on the DVD, Fungus' first name is Jeff and his surname was originally Frungus.
Feld Entertainment currently tours a Monsters, Inc. edition of their Disney on Ice skating tour.
A series of video games and a multi-platform video game were created, based on the movie.
A short was made by Pixar in 2002 named Mike's New Car.
In Cars, there is a part at the end when Mack is watching a few movies. One is called "Monster Trucks Inc."
A teaser trailer shows when Sulley and Mike stumble into the wrong bedroom. (Also, in a preview shown before the first Harry Potter film, Sulley is shown playing charades with Mike, but Mike is unable to guess the phrase 'Harry Potter'. The clip never specifically mentions Harry Potter & Star Wars, but the end states that Monsters, Inc. is playing right next door.)
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