If Scott “Squishy” Squibbles heard the new box office totals for Monsters University he would utter one of his trademark lines from the film – “It’s time for a celebration!”. Monsters University continues to scare up high numbers at the Box Office reaching a worldwide total of just over $720 Million dollars this past weekend, making it Pixar’s fourth highest-grossing film to date (via Box Office Mojo). With an estimated budget of $200 Million (tied for third-highest behind Toy Story 3 and Cars 2), it’s obvious that Pixar believed in this film.
One of the best things about Pixar films is that even with a budget of $200 Million, no portion of that money is wasted. The technologies developed during production continue to support and enhance future Pixar projects (unlike live-action films where millions of dollars are spent creating sets that will later be removed, or worse yet, destroyed). Let’s take a brief look back at some of the milestones in Monsters U history and which technologies will continue to expand and support future Pixar films.
The team behind Monsters University has worked exceptionally hard throughout the years on this film – as with other Pixar films. During production, there were quite a bit of Pixar firsts that took place, one of those would be the incredible amount of storyboards that were created for the film – over 200,000 in fact. Over 100,000 of those were “used” and delivered for the film’s production making it the most storyboards created for a Pixar film.
The team also included an average of 25 characters in each shot, making it the most of any Pixar film. That ability was courtesy of the numerous advances in computing power and rendering efficiencies that have been seen as the team continued to evolve and push animation forward.
It’s also worth noting that Pixar used Global Illumination for the first time in a Pixar feature film. This process assisted the artists with new lighting tools, allowing them to deliver more realistic and streamlined lighting. This also allowed the artists to work more quickly with multiple lighting sources and reduced the time needed to generate a light source.
One of the scenes that has (and continues) to stick out in my mind as one of the best lighting scenes of any Pixar film is where Mike Wazowski attempts to join the Scare Games in the cul-de-sac of Frat Row (where Dean Hardscrabble strikes a deal that if he doesn’t win, he must leave Monsters University). The cloudy, overcast look of the scene just blows me away – it’s perfection (at least to me).
With so many firsts and with the hard work of so many Pixar artists, it’s no wonder that Monsters University is still gaining fans and revenue as the film has finally opened in all markets. Now, we just have to wait until we can see it again (starting in October) at home – we can’t wait.