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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.

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