Should Pixar Have Made “Monsters University” For Older Audiences?

Should Pixar Have Made "Monsters University" For Older Audiences?

The MPAA rating for Monsters University has
been announced
and surprisingly enough, it’s ‘G’. Giving such
a coming-of-age story set in a university a rating like that may surprise those
of us familiar with that bastion of college comedies, Animal House.

So that begs the question: Should Pixar have aimed older
with this sequel to their ‘monster’ hit from 2001? 

While the wind is certainly with them as far as anticipation
goes, it’s disheartening to think that the film’s original audience has long
since entered the dreaded ‘animation
age ghetto’
. Even the youngest viewers of that film are into their
mid-teens and may be quite unlikely to have much interest in seeing a ‘G’ rated
film. Is Pixar losing out on an opportunity to bring such
teenagers back into the animation fold? Consider these points:

  • The
    original’s audience are just at that stage where they are either in, or
    about to enter, college.

  • They
    are unlikely to have forgotten the original’s appeal and characters

  • The
    target audience for a ‘G’ rated Monsters University can’t comprehend the
    original Monsters Inc. at all. In fact, the 3-D re-release at the end of 2012 fared much poorer
    than anticipated
    indicating a relative lack of familiarity among consumers
    (in addition to their ambivalence about 3-D.)

  • Pixar
    is no stranger to older audiences with The Incredibles, Up and Brave all
    receiving a PG rating that did their box office performance no discernible harm
    at all.

  • Studio Ghibli in Japan willingly release animated films
    suitable for mature audiences. This could be have been an opportunity for Pixar
    to make a similar leap with its brand and start to bridge the gap between kids
    and adults.

  • Lastly, pretty much everyone knows of the kinds of
    shenanigans that occur on college campuses and they certainly aren’t suitable
    for all-ages eyes (or ears). That’s no reason to go overboard, but plenty of
    wiggle room exists for jokes and tomfoolery without getting too blue.

    What do you think?


  • Charles Kenny writes prolifically on his own blog, The Animation Anomaly.

    This Article is related to: Features and tagged ,


    Comments

    Frank

    The MPAA rating has nothing to do with including certain age groups with your level of storytelling. Brave was no more than a film for kids, while previous efforts like Wall-E and Up were good enough films to be watched by anyone.

    Bob

    Partysaurus Rex proved Pixar can make a G-rated feature with plenty of jokes for the college crowd. For instance, kids saw a mellow sprinkler toy at the end; teens and adults saw a character stoned out of his mind.

    Sam E.

    1. Pixar films generally appeal to a wide demographic. I was in highschool when Monsters Inc. came out and over half of the people I knew saw it.

    2. I'm not sure if kids roughly between 12-16 have the same aversion to animation people in similar age range would have in the 90's besides Pixar, the awareness of Anime is much higher and there's also far more animated programs on television geared towards teens and adults.

    3. Finally, Disney is in the business of marketing to kids and families primarily and I don't see that changing in the future.

    Rubi

    Given all the viral marketing they've done, it seems they're aiming at teens/college kids as well. Everyone I know at my school's excited by it. They pulled off a very similar trick with Toy Story 3, also rated G (oddly, in spite of all the existential horror that you'd think would give it a "PG for thematic elements" or something), and it seems weird to say that the audience for a G-rated film couldn't comprehend the original Monster's Inc. despite the fact Monster's Inc. was rated G.

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