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Monsters, Inc.

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Monsters, Inc.

Theatrical poster
Directed by Pete Docter
Lee Unkrich
David Silverman
Produced by Darla K. Anderson
Screenplay by Andrew Stanton
Daniel Gerson
Story by Pete Docter
Jill Culton
Jeff Pidgeon
Ralph Eggleston
Starring John Goodman
Billy Crystal
Mary Gibbs
Steve Buscemi
James Coburn
Jennifer Tilly
Frank Oz
Music by Randy Newman
Editing by Jim Stewart
Studio Pixar Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s)
  • November 2, 2001 (2001-11-02)
Running time 92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $115 million
Box office $562,382,725

Monsters, Inc. is a 2001 American computer-animated comedy film directed by Pete Docter, released by Walt Disney Pictures, and the fourth film produced by Pixar Animation Studios. Co-directed by Lee Unkrich and David Silverman, the film stars two monsters who work for a company named Monsters, Inc.: top scarer James P. Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman)—known as "Sulley"—and his one-eyed assistant and best friend, Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal). Monsters generate their city's power by scaring children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being contaminated by children, so when one enters Monstropolis, Sulley finds his world disrupted.

Docter began developing the film in 1996 and wrote the story with Jill Culton, Jeff Pidgeon, and Ralph Eggleston. Fellow Pixar director Andrew Stanton wrote the screenplay with screenwriter Daniel Gerson. The characters went through many incarnations over the film's five-year production process. The technical team and animators found new ways to render fur and cloth realistically for the film. Randy Newman, who composed Pixar's three prior films, returned to compose their fourth.

Although the film suffered negative publicity in the form of two lawsuits against the filmmakers, filed by Lori Madrid and Stanley Mouse respectively, that were ultimately dismissed, Monsters, Inc. proved to be a major box office success from its release on November 2, 2001, generating over $562 million worldwide. In addition, Monsters, Inc. received highly positive reviews from critics and audiences, who praised both the humor and heart of the film.

Monsters, Inc. saw a 3D re-release in theaters on December 19, 2012. Its prequel, Monsters University, is scheduled to be released on June 20, 2013.


The parallel city of Monstropolis is inhabited by monsters and powered by the screams of children in the human world. At the Monsters, Inc. factory, employees called "Scarers" venture into children's bedrooms to scare them and collect their screams, using closet doors as portals. This is considered a dangerous task since the monsters believe children to be toxic and that touching them would be fatal. However, production is falling as children are becoming harder to scare and the company chairman Henry J. Waternoose III is determined to find a solution. The top Scarer is James P. "Sulley" Sullivan, who lives with his assistant and best friend Mike Wazowski and has a rivalry with the ever-determined chameleon-like monster Randall Boggs. During an ordinary day's work on the "Scarefloor", fellow Scarer George Sanderson accidentally brings a child's sock into the factory, causing the Child Detection Agency (CDA) to arrive and cleanse him. Mike is harassed by Roz the clerk for never completing his paperwork on time.

While going to file Mike's paperwork, Sulley discovers that Randall left an activated door on the Scarefloor in an attempt of cheating and a young girl has entered the factory, much to Sulley's horror. After a few failed attempts to put her back, he places her in his bag and hides when Randall arrives and returns the door to storage. Mike and his girlfriend Celia are on a date at Harryhausen's when Sulley comes to him for help, but chaos erupts when the girl is discovered in the restaurant, and the CDA is called. Sulley and Mike escape the CDA and take the girl home, discovering that she is not toxic after all. Sulley quickly grows attached to the girl and names her "Boo". The next day, they smuggle her into the factory and Mike attempts to return her through her door. Randall tries to kidnap Boo, but kidnaps Mike by mistake.

In the basement, Randall reveals to Mike he has built a torture machine ("Scream Extractor") to extract children's screams, which would make the company's current tactics redundant. Randall straps Mike to the chair for experimentation but Sulley stops Randall from using the machine on Mike (replacing him with Fungus, Randall's assistant) and reports him to Waternoose, accidentally scaring Boo in the process. However, Waternoose is revealed to be in allegiance with Randall and he exiles Mike and Sulley to the Himalayas. The two are taken in by the Abominable Snowman, who tells them they can return to the factory through the nearby village. Sulley heads out, but Mike refuses to follow him out of frustration, believing their current situation to be Sulley's fault. Sulley returns to the factory and rescues Boo from the Scream Extractor. Mike returns to apologise to Sulley and inadvertently helps Sulley defeat Randall in a fight.

Randall pursues Mike and Sulley as they race to the factory and ride on the doors heading into storage, taking them into a giant vault where millions of closet doors are stored. Boo's laughter activates the doors and allows the chase to pass in and out of the human world. After Boo stops Randall from pushing Sulley out of an open door, Sulley and Mike trap him in the human world using a door to a Southern trailer park, where he is mistaken for an alligator and beaten up by a pair of hillbillies.

They are finally able to access Boo's door, but Waternoose and the CDA send it back to the Scarefloor. Mike distracts the CDA, while Sulley escapes with Boo and her door while Waternoose follows. Waternoose is tricked into confessing his plan to kidnap children in the simulation bedroom and is arrested by the CDA, although Waternoose blames Sulley for destroying the company. The CDA's leader, #001, is revealed to be Roz, who has been undercover for 2 1/2 years trying to prove there was a scandal at Monsters Inc. Sulley and Mike say goodbye to Boo and return her home; on Roz’s orders Boo’s door is then destroyed. Sulley becomes the new chairman of Monsters Inc., and thanks to his experience with Boo, he comes up with a plan to end the company's energy crisis.

Months later, Sulley's leadership has changed the company's workload. The monsters now enter children's bedrooms to entertain them, since laughter is ten times more powerful than screams. Mike takes Sulley aside, revealing he has almost rebuilt Boo's door, requiring only one more piece which Sulley took as a memento. Sulley enters and is able to reunite with Boo.

Voice cast

  • John Goodman as James P. "Sulley" Sullivan – Sulley is a giant furry blue friendly and sweet monster with horns and purple spots. Even though he excels at scaring children, he is kindhearted and thoughtful by nature. Sulley is relatively laid-back, and has a relaxed, outgoing and happy personality. In the film's beginning, he is "The Best Scarer" for several months running.
  • Billy Crystal as Michael "Mike" Wazowski – Mike is a green monster with a ball-shaped body, a single big eyeball, and skinny arms and legs. He runs Sulley's station on the scare floor, and they are close friends and roommates. Mike has an outgoing personality and is dating Celia Mae. He has an ego that often makes him forget something obvious, such as how his face is obscured in advertisements for the company. He makes cameo appearances in Finding Nemo, Cars, WALL-E, and Toy Story 3.
  • Mary Gibbs as Boo – A 2-year-old human girl who is unafraid of any monster except Randall, who regularly scares her at night. She refers to Sulley as "Kitty". The book based on the film gives Boo's "real" name as Mary Gibbs, the name of her voice actress. In the film, one of Boo's drawings is covered with the name "Mary."
  • Steve Buscemi as Randall Boggs – An impatient, multi-legged lizard-shaped monster with a chameleon-like ability to change skin colour and blend in completely with his surroundings. He is Mike and Sulley's rival in scream collection.
  • Jennifer Tilly as Celia Mae – A gorgon-like monster with one eye, snakes for hair, and tentacle-like legs. She is Mike's girlfriend and the receptionist for Monsters, Inc.
  • James Coburn as Henry J. Waternoose III – A crab monster with five eyes. At the film's start, he is CEO of Monsters, Inc., the job having been in his family for three generations. He somewhat holds a mentor-like relationship with Sulley, believing him to be the best scarer.
  • Bob Peterson as Roz – A slug-like monster with a raspy voice, similar to Selma Diamond's. She is the administrative clerk for Scarefloor F and "number 1" in the CDA, who has been doing secret work around Monsters, Inc. for about 2 years.
  • Frank Oz as Jeff Fungus – Randall's red-skinned three-eyed assistant and reluctant participant in the plot.
  • John Ratzenberger as The Abominable Snowman – A yeti banished to the Himalayas. He is also a relative of Bigfoot who like him and the Loch Ness Monster were also banished.
  • Samuel Lord Black as George Sanderson – A furry monster with a horn on top of his head, he was frequently assisted by Charlie. He is the butt of a running gag in which he repeatedly contacts human artifacts by accident (due to his fur's static cling), triggering "23–19" incidents and humorously overblown reactions by the CDA resulting in him being shaved bald.
  • Phil Proctor as Charlie - George's assistant with sea-green skin, two octopus like arms, four tantacles as feet and snail-like eyes. He is very friendly and admires Sulley and Mike's work, but calls out all of George's "23-19" incidents.
  • Dan Gerson as Smitty and Needleman – Two goofy monsters with cracking voices who work as janitors and operate the Door Shredder when required. They (almost excessively) idolize Sulley.
  • Bonnie Hunt as Ms. Flint – A snake-like monster who trains new monsters to scare children.
  • Jeff Pidgeon as Thaddeus "Phlegm" Bile – A trainee scarer for Monsters, Inc.



at first Reilly wave Bowen was the star of the movie Monsters inc. Then she got very sick and died.

When production began in earnest on Monsters, Inc. in 2000, Pixar re-located to a larger building in Emery ville, California.

The idea for Monsters, Inc. was conceived in a lunch in 1994 attended by John Lasseter, Pete Doctor, Andrew Stanton and Joe Ran ft during the production of Toy Story. One of the ideas that came out of the brainstorming session was a film about monsters. "When we were making Toy Story", Pete Doctor claimed, "everybody came up to me and said 'Hey I totally believed that my toys came to life when I left the room.' So when Disney asked us to do some more films, I wanted to tap into a child-like notion that was similar to that. I knew monsters were coming out of my closet when I was a kid. So I said 'Hey, lets do a film about monsters.'"

Pete Doctor began work on the film that would become Monsters, Inc. in 1996 while others focused on A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2. Its code name was Hidden City, so named for Doctor's favorite restaurant in Point Richmond. By early February 1997, Doctor had drafted a treatment together with Harley Jess up, Jill Culton, and Jeff Pigeon that bore some resemblance to the final film.

Doctor pitched the story to Disney with some initial artwork on February 4, 1997. He and his story team left with some suggestions in hand and returned to pitch a refined version of the story on May 30, 1997. At this pitch meeting, longtime Disney animator Joe Grant—whose work stretched back to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs—suggested the title Monsters, Inc., which stuck.


Docter's initial concept for the film went through many changes, but the notion of monsters living in their own world was found by Docter as an appealing and workable one. 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 eventually to disappear.

After Docter scrapped the initial concept of a 30-year-old terrified of monsters, he decided on a buddy story between a monster and a child titled simply Monsters, where the monster character of Sulley (known at this stage as Johnson) was an up-and-comer at his workplace, where the company's purpose was to scare children; his eventual sidekick, Mike Wazowski, had not yet been added.

Between the years 1996 and 2000, the lead monster and child went through radical changes as the story evolved. As the story continued to develop, the child varied in age and gender. Ultimately, the story team decided that a girl would be the best counterpart for a furry 8-foot co-star. After a girl was settled upon, the character continued to undergo changes, at one point being from Ireland and at another time being an African-American character. Originally the character of the little girl, known as Mary, became a fearless seven-year-old who had been toughened by years of teasing and pranks from four older brothers. In stark contrast, Johnson was nervous about the possibility of losing his job after the boss at Monsters, Inc. announces a downsizing is on the way. He feels envious because another scarer, Ned (who later became Randall), is the company's top performer. Through various drafts, Johnson's occupation went back-and-forth from being a scarer and from working in another area of the company such as a janitor or a refinery worker, until the his final incarnation as the best scarer at Monsters, Inc. Johnson was originally planned to have tentacles for feet, however, this caused many problems in early animation tests. The idea was later largely rejected, as it was thought that audience would be distracted by the tentacles. Mary's age also differed from draft-to-draft until the writers settled on the age of 3. "We found that the younger she was, the more dependent she was on Sulley," Docter claimed.

Eventually Johnson was renamed Sullivan, and was also planned to wear glasses throughout the film. However, the creators found it a dangerous idea because the eyes were a perfectly readable and clear way of expressing a character's personality, thus, the idea was rejected.

The idea of a monster buddy for the lead monster emerged at an April 6, 1998 "story summit" in Burbank with Disney and Pixar employees. The term coined by Lasseter, a "story summit" was a crash exercise that would yield a finished story in just two days. Such a character, the group agreed, was give the lead monster someone to talk to about his predicament. Development artist Ricky Nierva drew a concept sketch of a rounded, one-eyed monster as a concept for the character, and everyone was generally receptive to it. Docter named the character Mike for the father of his friend Frank Oz, a director and Muppet performer. Jeff Pidgeon and Jason Katz story-boarded a test in which Mike was helping Sulley choose a tie for work and Mike Wazowski soon became a vital character in the film. Originally, Mike had no arms and had to use his legs as appendages; however, due to technical difficulties, arms were soon added.

Screenwriter Dan Gerson joined Pixar in 1999 and worked on the film for almost two years with the filmmakers on a daily basis. Gerson considered it his first experience writing a feature film. Dan Gerson explains; "I would sit with Pete and David Silverman and we would talk about a scene and they would tell me what they were looking for. I would make some suggestions and then go off and write the sequence. We'd get together again and review it and then hand it off to a story artist. Here's where the collaborative process really kicked in. The board artist was not beholden to my work and could take liberties here and there. Sometimes I would suggest an idea about making the joke work better visually. Once the scene moved on to animation, the animators would plus the material even further."


The voice role of James P. "Sulley" Sullivan went to John Goodman, the longtime co-star of the comedy series Roseanne and a regular in the films of the Coen brothers. Goodman interpreted the character to himself as the monster equivalent of a National Football League player. "He's like a seasoned lineman in the tenth year of his career," he said at the time. "He is totally dedicated and a total pro." Billy Crystal, having regretted turning down the part of Buzz Lightyear years prior, accepted that of Mike Wazowski, Sulley's one-eyed best friend and scare assistant.


In November 2000, early in the production of Monsters, Inc., Pixar packed up and moved for the second time since its Lucasfilm years. The company's approximately 500 employees had become spread among three buildings, separated by a busy highway. The company moved from Point Richmond to a much bigger campus, co-designed by Lasseter and Steve Jobs, in Emeryville.

In production, Monsters Inc. differed from earlier Pixar features in that each main character had its own lead animator: John Kahrs on Sulley, Andrew Gordon on Mike, and Dave DeVan on Boo. Kahrs found that the "bearlike quality" of Goodman's voice provided an exceptionally good fit with the character. He faced a difficult challenge, however, in dealing with Sulley's sheer mass; traditionally, animators conveyed a figure's heaviness by giving it a slower, more belabored movement, but Kahrs was concerned that such an approach to a central character would give the film a sluggish feel. Like Goodman, Kahrs came to think of Sulley as a football player, one whose athleticism enabled him to move quickly in spite of his size. To help the animators with Sulley and other large monsters, Pixar arranged for Rodger Kram, a University of California, Berkeley expert on the locomotion of heavy mammals, tolecture on the subject.

Adding to Sulley's lifelike appearance was an intense effort by the technical team to refine the rendering of fur. Other production houses had tackled realistic fur, most notably Rhythm & Hues in its 1993 polar bear commercials for Coca-Cola and in its talking animals' faces in Babe (1995). Monsters, Inc., however, required fur on a far larger scale. From the standpoint of Pixar's engineers, the quest for fur posed several significant challenges. One was figuring out how to animate the huge numbers of hairs—2,320,413 on Sulley—in a reasonably efficient way. Another was making sure the hairs cast shadows on other hairs. Without self-shadowing, fur or hair takes on an unrealistic flat-colored look (The hair on Andy's toddler sister, as seen in the opening sequence of Toy Story, is an example of hair without self-shadowing.)

The first fur test was with Sullivan running an obstacle course. Results were not satisfactory, as fur would get caught by objects and stretch the fur out because of the extreme amount of motion. Another similar test was also unsuccessful with the fur going through the objects.

Eventually Pixar set-up the Simulation department and created a new fur simulation program called Fizt (for "physics tool"). After a shot with Sulley had been animated, the Simulation department took the data for the shot and added his fur. Fizt allowed the fur to react in a natural way. When Sully moved the fur would automatically react to his movements, taking into account the effects of wind and gravity as well. The Fizt program also controlled movement on Boo's clothing, which provided another breakthrough. The deceptively simple-sounding task of animating cloth was also a challenge to animate because of the hundreds of creases and wrinkles that automatically occurred in the clothing when the wearer moved. It also meant solving the complex problem of how to keep cloth untangled—that is, how to keep it from passing through itself when parts of it intersect. With the Fizt program, it applied the same system as Sulley's fur. Boo would first be animated shirtless and the Simulation department would use the Fizt program to apply the shirt over Boo's body and when she moved her clothes would react to her movements in a natural manner.

To solve the problem of cloth-to-cloth collisions, Michael Kass, Pixar's senior scientist, was joined on Monsters, Inc. by David Baraff and Andrew Witkin and developed an algorithm they called "global intersection analysis" to handle the problem. The complexity of the shots in Monsters, Inc. — including elaborate sets such as the door vault — required more computing power to render than any of Pixar's earlier efforts combined. The render farm in place for Monsters, Inc. was made up of 3500 Sun Microsystems processors, compared with 1400 for Toy Story 2 and only 200 for Toy Story.


The film was theatrically released on November 2, 2001 in the United States, in Australia on December 26, 2001, and in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2002. As in A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2, a montage of "outtakes" and a performance of the company play were made and included in the end credits of the movie sometime later.

3D re-release

After the success of the 3D re-release of The Lion King, Disney and Pixar re-released Monsters, Inc. in 3D on December 19, 2012. The Disney Store has also released a new merchandising line with plush toys based on the characters.


Box office

Monsters, Inc. ranked No. 1 at the box office its opening weekend, grossing $62,577,067 in North America alone. The film had a small drop-off of 27.2% over its second weekend, earning another $45,551,028. In its third weekend, the film experienced a larger decline of 50.1%, placing itself in the second position just after Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. In its fourth weekend, however, there was an increase of 5.9%. Making $24,055,001 that weekend for a combined total of over $525 million. It is the seventh biggest (in US$) fourth weekend ever for a film.

As of 2013, the film has made $289,482,725 in North America, and $272,900,000 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $562,382,725. The film is Pixar's sixth highest-grossing film worldwide and fourth in North America. For a time, the film went on to take the place of Toy Story 2 as the second highest-grossing animated film of all time, behind only The Lion King.

In the U.K., Ireland and Malta, it earned £37,264,502 ($53,335,579) in total, marking the sixth highest-grossing animated film of all time in the country and the thirty-second highest-grossing film of all time. In Japan, although earning $4,471,902 during its opening and ranking second behind The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring for the weekend, on subsequent weekends it moved to first place due to exceptionally small decreases or even increases and dominated for six weeks at the box office. It finally reached $74,437,612, standing as 2002's third highest-grossing film and the third largest U.S. animated feature of all time in the country behind Toy Story 3 and Finding Nemo.

Critical reception

Monsters, Inc. received very positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 96% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 190 reviews, with an average score of 8/10. The critical consensus was: "Even though Monsters, Inc. lacks the sophistication of the Toy Story series, it is a still delight for children of all ages." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 78 based on 34 reviews. Charles Taylor from stated: "It's agreeable and often funny, and adults who take their kids to see it might be surprised to find themselves having a pretty good time."

Elvis Mitchell from The New York Times gave a positive review, praising the film's use of "creative energy": "There hasn't been a film in years to use creative energy as efficiently as Monsters, Inc." Although Mike Clark from USA Today thought the comedy was sometimes "more frenetic than inspired and viewer emotions are rarely touched to any notable degree," he thought the film to be as "visually inventive as its Pixar predecessors."

ReelViews film critic James Berardinelli, who gave the film 3½ stars out of 4 wrote, saying that Monsters, Inc. was "one of those rare family films that parents can enjoy (rather than endure) along with their kids." Roger Ebert, film critic from Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, called the film "cheerful, high-energy fun, and like the other Pixar movies, has a running supply of gags and references aimed at grownups."

Lisa Schwarzbaum, a film critic for Entertainment Weekly, giving the film a B, praised the film's animation, stating "Everything from Pixar Animation Studios, the snazzy, cutting-edge computer animation outfit, looks really, really terrific, and unspools with a liberated, heppest-moms-and-dads-on-the-block iconoclasm."


Monsters, Inc. won the Academy Award for Best Original Song ( Randy Newman, after fifteen previous nominations, for If I Didn't Have You). It was one of the first animated films to be nominated for Best Animated Feature (lost to Shrek). It was also nominated for Best Original Score (lost to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) and Best Sound Editing (lost to Pearl Harbour).

At the Kid's Choice Awards in 2002, it was nominated for "Favorite Voice in an Animated Movie" for Billy Crystal (who lost to Eddie Murphy in Shrek).

American Film Institute Lists
  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
    • If I Didn't Have You – Nominated
  • AFI's 10 Top 10 – Nominated Animated Film


Monsters, Inc.
Soundtrack album by Randy Newman
Released October 23, 2001
Recorded 2000–2001
Genre Score
Length 1:00:30
Label Walt Disney Records
Randy Newman chronology
Meet the Parents Monsters, Inc. Seabiscuit
Pixar soundtrack chronology
Toy Story 2
Monsters, Inc.
Finding Nemo
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars
Empire 3/5 stars
Filmtracks 3/5 stars
Movie Wave 3.5/5 stars
SoundtrackNet 3.5/5 stars

Monsters Inc. was Randy Newman's fourth feature film collaboration with Pixar. The end credits song "If I Didn't Have You" was sung by John Goodman and Billy Crystal.

The album was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score and a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. The score lost both these awards to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, but after sixteen nominations, the song " If I Didn't Have You" finally won Newman his first Academy Award for Best Original Song. It also won a Grammy for Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.

All songs written and composed by Randy Newman. 

No. Title Length
1. " If I Didn't Have You" (performed by Billy Crystal and John Goodman) 3:41
2. "Monsters, Inc."   2:09
3. "School"   1:38
4. "Walk to Work"   3:29
5. "Sulley and Mike"   1:57
6. "Randall Appears"   0:49
7. "Enter the Heroes"   1:03
8. "The Scare Floor"   2:41
9. "Oh, Celia!"   1:09
10. "Boo's Adventures in Monstropolis"   6:23
11. "Boo's Tired"   1:03
12. "Putting Boo Back"   2:22
13. "Boo Escapes"   0:52
14. "Celia's Mad"   1:41
15. "Boo Is a Cube"   2:19
16. "Mike's in Trouble"   2:19
17. "The Scream Extractor"   2:12
18. "Sulley Scares Boo"   1:10
19. "Exile"   2:17
20. "Randall's Attack"   2:22
21. "The Ride of the Doors"   5:08
22. "Waternoose is Waiting"   3:14
23. "Boo's Going Home"   3:34
24. "Kitty"   1:20
25. "If I Didn't Have You" (performed by Newman) 3:38
Total length:


Lori Madrid lawsuit

""The effect of [a preliminary injunction] would be devastating," Dick Cook said. Disney had set the [release] date far in advance, close to a year ago. Disney had primed audiences with about forty thousand trailers in movie theaters and a costly ad campaign. There had been a "giant press junket" two weeks earlier with Docter and Lasseter and the film's stars. The company had already spent about $3.5 million on a premiere and special screenings. Everything had been choreographed to peak on November 2. Tomorrow."
— David Price, in his 2008 book The Pixar Touch

Shortly before the film's release, Pixar was sued by children's song writer Lori Madrid of Wyoming, claiming that the company had stolen her ideas from a 1997 story she penned, titled "There's a Boy in My Closet." Madrid mailed her story around to half-dozen publishers in October 1999, notably a San Francisco publishing house called Chronicle Books. No publishers expressed interest in the story, so she instead turned it into a local stage musical in the summer of 2001. As the summer came to a close, several of her friends and coworkers began urging her to see a trailer for Monsters, Inc., believing the film to be plainly based on her story. Madrid reached the same conclusions after seeing the trailer herself.

After searching on the Internet, Madrid found that a book titled The Art of Monsters, Inc. had recently been published by Chronicle. Pixar had previously published books with Disney's in-house publishing arm, Hyperion. She concluded that Chronicle passed her story to Pixar in 1999, and Pixar had reciprocated by switching to Chronicle.

After finding a lawyer, Madrid filed suit in October 2001 against Chronicle Books, Pixar, and Disney in a federal court in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Her lawyer asked the court to issue a preliminary injunction that would forbid Pixar and Disney from releasing the film while the suit was pending. Over their objections, however, the judge ordered a hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction to take place on November 1, 2001 — the day before the film's scheduled release on 5,800 screens in 3,200 theaters across the country.

Docter and Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group chairman Dick Cook testified on Thursday, November 1 in Cheyenne as planned. Cook stated the effect of a preliminary injunction against the film's release would be devastating, as Monsters, Inc. was one of the company's "tent-pole" films for the season. The 5,800-odd prints, he said, had already gone out from Technicolor's warehouses in California and Ohio and were sitting at theaters. Judge Clarence Brimmer did not issue the injunction and the film opened as planned on November 2, nationwide. Brimmer ruled on June 26, 2002 that the film had simply nothing in common with the poem.

Stanley Mouse lawsuit

A lawsuit was filled in a federal court in San Francisco a year after the film's release, which Stanley Mouse alleged that the characters of Mike and Sulley were based on drawings of Excuse My Dust that he had tried to sell to Hollywood in 1998. He said the film's main characters, Mike and Sully, were derived from a one-eyed creature called Wise G'Eye and a larger monster, who often appeared together in his cartoons going back to 1963.

Dust would be set in Monster City, where the animated monsters worked for the Monster Corporation of America. The lawsuit also claimed that a story artist from Pixar visited Mouse in 2000 and discussed Mouse's work with him. In the film, Mike and Sully live in Monstropolis and work for Monsters, Inc.

A Disney spokeswoman responded by saying only that the characters in Monsters, Inc. were "developed independently by the Pixar and Walt Disney Pictures creative teams, and do not infringe on anyone's copyrights".


A prequel called Monsters University will be released on June 21, 2013. John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi and Frank Oz are reprising their roles of Sulley, Mike, Randall, and Fungus, while Dan Scanlon is directing the film. The prequel's plot focuses on Sulley and Mike's studies at the University of Fear, where they start off as rivals but soon become best friends. Boo will be absent in the film, as it takes place before they met her.

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