- See also: Monsters University (Institution)
- "Before they were incorporated, they had to be educated."
Monsters University is the prequel to Monsters, Inc. The film was released on June 21, 2013.
The film begins where a preschool class of little monsters, including a very young Mike Wazowski, take a field trip to Monsters, Inc., with their teacher. A tour guide leads them through the factory. When they reach the scare floor however, they aren't allowed to actually go inside, for it is too dangerous. This is because monsters believe that the children they scare are highly toxic if you touch one. They see a bunch of scarers coming in, and among them is a professional scarer named Frank McCay. He tells the class that he became such a great scarer, because he was educated a the greatest scaring school ever, Monsters University. Mike becomes interested in scaring, and tries to go into the scare floor to see Frank scare children. He sneaks into the door, with Frank, who doesn't notice. However, the class' teacher notices, and tries to get help. Mike is very quiet, and sees what a professional scarer, he is. When Frank comes outside the door, a bunch of other monsters are waiting outside, with first-aid kits. That is when Frank realizes that Mike was behind him the whole time. At first, he gets very disappointed in Mike, but then realizes how well Mike did, sneaking into the room without even noticing. He gives Mike his Monsters University cap. Mike then decides that he wants to become a scarer.
Mike spends his whole life studying to get accepted into Monsters University, and become the greatest scarer of all time. All of his studying then pays off, for he gets accepted into the school. On his first day, he meets his roommate, another scaring student named Randall Boggs. Randall wants nothing more, than to be with the cool guys. On their first day of class, led by Professor Knight, Dean Hardscrabble, head of the MU scaring program, warns all of the students that there will be a test to see if they all are worthy to continue. If they fail the test, then they will be forced to leave the scaring program. This urges Mike to want to study as hard as possible.
One night, a student party is held at one of the MU fraternity houses. Randall wants to go, so he can make some friends, but Mike wants to skip it, so he has more time to study for the big test. Randall still decides to go, and Mike decides to stay. While he studies, Sulley, a fun-loving monster who comes from a family of legendary scarers, comes in through the window, thinking that it was his room. He came in to hide from students at Fear Tech, Monsters University's rival school, because he stole their school mascot, Archie the Scare Pig, as a prank. Mike kindly asks Sulley to leave, but Archie steals Mike's MU hat, so he and Sulley both go after him. They chase him throughout the courtyard of the school, when Mike manages to catch him with a garbage can. Johnny Worthington III, leader of the school's top fraternity, Roar Omega Roar, noticed Sulley's skills when they were chasing the pig, and invited him to come to the party, as well as maybe join their fraternity. Mike also tries to get their attention, but they think he's just a nobody.
As the semester goes by, Mike and Sulley start to form a rivalry between each other. Mike tops Sulley with his good grades, which causes Johnny Worthington to not allow Sulley into Roar Omega Roar, until he gets better grades, for Roar Omega Roar is meant to be for the best students. Eventually, time leads up to the final exam to test if the students are fit to continue into the scaring program. Mike and Sulley start to argue and bicker during the exam, causing Hardscrabble to throw the both of them out of the scaring program, which forces the two of them to instead transfer to a different major in the school.
Desperately wanting to be let back into the scaring program, Mike tries to find a way to show Hardscrabble that he is a great scarer, and that she was wrong to kick out such a legend. He eventually learns about the Scare Games, a scaring competition where fraternities from all over MU compete in a series of contests, to prove that they are the best of the scarers. Not being accepted into any other fraternity, Mike joins a group of misfits called Oozma Kappa. All of Oozma Kappa's members have long ago been kicked out of the scaring program, and hope to someday be allowed back in. However, even with Mike joining, there aren't enough players in their fraternity to qualify for the Scare Games. Luckily, Sulley decides to join, also hoping to be allowed back into the scaring program. Hardscrabble says to Mike that if they win, he, Sulley, and the rest of Oozma Kappa will be allowed back in. However, if they lose, Hardscrabble will expel him and Sulley from Monsters University for good. They make a deal.
Sulley, along with Mike, comes to Oozma Kappa's fraternity house. He is introduced to the members: a purple and wild monster named Art, a kind mama's boy named Scott "Squishy" Squibbles, a pair of twins who share the same body named Terri and Terry Perry, and the oldest and most mature, named Don Carlton. The team gets really impressed with Sulley, much to Mike's jealousy. The next morning, they get a message from the Scare Games, telling them to meet in the sewers beneath the school for their first competition. The first round is all about the importance of avoiding children and any item they touch, for every monster knows that children carry toxic germs, that are fatal to monsters. All of the fraternity teams must make it to the finish line of a long tunnel, while avoiding toxic balls that they say are similar to the germs that children carry. The last team to get through loses, and is out of the Scare Games. While all of the other teams plan to get through using teamwork, Mike and Sulley are just worried about beating each other, completely excluding the rest of the team. They make it to the finish line without the rest of the team, but it is required that the whole team makes it through, and the others end up making it in last place. Luckily, just before Oozma Kappa can be eliminated from the Scare Games, it is revealed that one of the fraternities, Jaws Theta Chi, was using a special ointment on their skin, that protects them from the toxic balls, causing them to be disqualified from the competition instead of Oozma Kappa.
In the next competition, Mike tries to work with the team more, but Sulley just wants to win alone. The next competition is about the importance of not getting caught by the children's parents, when they enter the room. It takes place in the MU library, where they must be very quiet, and not get caught by the very strict librarian. The team must make it to the front of the library, where there are flags of all of the teams. They must get the flag with their team symbol on it to win. If just one of the team members gets caught by the librarian, or if they are the last team to get to their flag, the whole team is out of the Scare Games. When Sulley attempts to get to the flag quickly, his noise summons the librarian to turn into a giant monster, and tries to catch him. Before she can get to him, the rest of the teammates make a bunch of noise to attract her to them. All of them make it out of the library, without getting caught, and Squishy got the flag for the team.
Later that day, Oozma Kappa gets invited to a party that celebrates the remaining fraternities in the games. When they go, all of the people, unexpectedly, welcome them with joy. However, Johnny Worthington and the rest of Roar Omega Roar turn their backs on Oozma Kappa, and humiliates them in front of the entire school. This lets down the whole team, thinking they aren't meant for scaring. Everybody, except for Mike. Mike takes the team to Monsters, Inc., where he shows them that no monster was meant for one thing, and that they are free to make their own choice in life. Mike and Sulley also get to know more about each other, and believing that they should start working together, where they can make a great team.
As more competitions in the Scare Games go by, Oozma Kappa grows to get better and better, with Mike training them with all of the knowledge of scaring that he's been knowing for the past years. It all leads up to the final competition, where the only remaining teams are Oozma Kappa and Roar Omega Roar. Each teammate must go into a simulation of a children's bedroom, where they will scare a robot child. How much each monster scares the simulated child, will determine how much the child screams, which will give the team points. The team who gets the most points wins. When Sulley has a private conversation with Hardscrabble, she tries to discourage him, by saying that Mike isn't scary. Sulley starts to get a bit concerned about Mike, so he tries to give him some of his skills that night. The next day, the final competition begins. The first round begins with Don against one of the Roar Omega Roar members, Reggie Jacobs. It all leads up to Mike against Johnny, and Mike lets out such a huge scare, that Oozma Kappa wins the Scare Games, as well as Hardscrabble letting the entire team back into the scaring program.
Later that night, Oozma Kappa is still out in the field of the final round, celebrating. However, Mike finds out that Sulley tampered with the equipment, that caused Mike to get a good score. Heartbroken, he runs off. Sulley later comes across Hardscrabble, where he confesses about the entire thing, causing Hardscrabble to expel Sulley the next day. Meanwhile, Mike comes across the door construction classroom. He breaks in, and uses one of the doors the class made, to go into the human world, and see if he really is scary. He goes into the child's bedroom, and tries to scare the child in it. However, she doesn't get scared of Mike at all, and just says that he looks funny. It's revealed that the room he went into was actually a summer camp cabin, filled with tons of children. They all wake up and start to surround Mike. He tries to escape them by using the door back into the monster world, but the door doesn't work, and he can't get out. Back in the monster world, it is revealed that Hardscrabble found out that Mike used the door, and turned out the door's power until the CDA comes to safely get Mike out, without letting any children coming through the door. Sulley, Squishy, Art, Don, Terri, Terry, and many other students, are outside of the classroom, looking through the windows with fear. Sulley barges in, turns on the door, and enters to save Mike by himself. He sees, however, that nobody is in the cabin. He sees outside, that the children from the cabin are reporting to a group of park rangers that they saw a monster in the cabin. Sulley leaves the cabin, and finds Mike at the shore of a lake, near the cabin. Sulley reconciles with Mike, and the two go back to the cabin to leave. However, Hardscrabble turned off the door again.
The park rangers come in the cabin, where Mike and Sulley hide. With Mike's full knowledge of scaring, and Sulley's skill at scaring, they work together and devise a plan to scare the park rangers so much, that they can power the door. Their plan succeeds, and they make the humans scared so bad, their screams not only power the door, but completely overloads it, causing it to explode, much to Hardscrabble's amazement. The CDA comes, and helps them clean up, and check for any toxins. The next day, both Mike and Sulley are expelled from the school. However, Hardscrabble let the rest of Oozma Kappa back into the scaring program, for she was impressed with their skills during the Scare Games.
Mike and Sulley decide to stick together, becoming best friends. They decide to get a job at Monsters, Inc., where they work at the company's mail room. Eventually, they are promoted to being janitors. They work their way up through their promotions, and become the famous scare team that we all know, thus beginning the story of Monsters, Inc.
Pete Docter did not return to direct the prequel. It was confirmed during a Cars 2 press open house that Dan Scanlon (the co-director of the short film Mater and the Ghostlight) would be the director.The film was originally going to be released on November 16, 2012, but was pushed back to November 2 to avoid competition with another film, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2". It was finally set for a release on June 21, 2013. In the United Kingdom, it was released on July 12, 2013.
In 2005, Disney had set up Circle 7 Animation to produce sequels to Pixar films. Work was started on a Monsters, Inc. sequel. In 2006 however, following Pixar's acquisition by Disney, all projects of Circle 7 animation were cancelled and the studio closed. Circle 7's version of the sequel, called "Monsters, Inc. 2: Lost in Scaradise" would have seen Mike and Sulley, who after realizing Boo has moved, are trapped in the Human world in the quest of finding her back.
A sequel made by Pixar was confirmed in 2010. In January 2011, rumors surfaced that Monsters, Inc. 2 was going to be a prequel to Monsters, Inc., saying that the film would follow Mike and Sulley when they were at the Monstropolis University of Fear, and how they go from being enemies to best friends. These rumors were confirmed soon after.
On August 12, 2011, Billy Crystal attended a 20th anniversary screening of City Slickers. When asked about his return to the role of Mike Wazowski he replied, “That’s why I’m a little hoarse. I spent five-and-a-half hours today for our fourth session on Monsters, Inc. 2." Crystal says that he and co-star John Goodman are having a blast together and describes the script as "really great" and "hilarious". Crystal also gave little details of the plot of the film saying, “It’s college pranks with monsters. And I wear a retainer. Mike has a retainer." Dan Scanlon, Crystal and Ricky Nierva were present at the D23 Expo talking about the film and showcasing concept and development sketches. Scanlon pointed out that this time, Sulley is not as bulky as he was in the first movie, and Mike is smaller. "We all looked a little different when we were in college. Mike we made a little smaller to either straighten or loosen his teeth. I’m not really sure what the desired effect is in the monster world." John Goodman did not attend the expo. Crystal said, "College is a long way away for me, but bringing this world together at Pixar, where only this could happen, it’s hilarious, it’s funny, and different from anything you could possibly imagine that Monsters Inc. could become."
On December 3, 2012, Georgian Progressive Metal band Mastodon announced via their Twitter page that they were writing a song for the film. The soundtrack was released by Walt Disney Records on June 18, 2013.
MarketingThe teaser trailer for the film was released online on June 20, 2012 and was screened in theaters with Brave. Four versions of the teaser were released, each featuring Mike saying a different line in his sleep. Each of the four versions were released by a different news outlet, namely YouTube, Itunes Trailers, Yahoo! Movies and The Huffington Post. The versions are "My pony made the deans list" (link), "I can't go to class, I'm not wearing any clothes" (link), "My homework ate my dog" (link) and "Class President - ha, ha, ha, ha" (link).
In October 2012, Disney/Pixar started a viral campaign by launching a complete, fully functional website for the Monsters University. The website covers all subjects of a real university website, and includes a store where related merchandise can be bought. In addition, the first TV commercial for the film was aired during the 2013 Rose Bowl Game, parodying ads that participating schools air during college football telecasts. On April Fool's Day, the website was change to look like it had been hacked and vandalized by Fear Tech, Monsters University's rival school. The colors were changed to orange and Fear Tech symbols would invade the screen upon clicking.
Another viral website surfaced in March 2013. Called The Grumblr, it takes the form of a tumblr blog who would be run by a student at Monsters University.
At the occasion of the NCAA March Madness, ESPN presented a short clip showing Monsters University players violently reacting as their team gets eliminated from the competition. This clip was subsequently posted on the Grumblr.
An extended preview of the film was released on February 8, 2013, followed by a full-length trailer for the UK on February 11, 2013, and a clip shown on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon two days later.
On February 15, 2013, another college ad parody was released that showed a few new scenes from the film. The video was entitled "A Message from the Dean."
An all-new sneak peek of the film was released on the Monsters, Inc. 3D Blu-ray on February 19, 2013.
On February 20, 2013, new character posters, and Student and Faculty ID cards were released.
On March 8, 2013, a Japanese trailer was released, revealing a little Mike, and new plot details - with one animator from Pixar going so far as to attest that it "spoils the entire movie."
On March 23, 2013, another TV spot was shown at the Kids' Choice Awards.
Another clip was released on May 23, 2013.
Seven more clips were released on June 6, 2013.
From June 27 until July 11, 2013, Disney's online game Club Penguin hosted a Monsters University Takeover event to promote the film. Players could dress up as their favorite monsters and take part in the Scare Games.
Monsters University had its worldwide premiere on June 5, 2013, as a special screening at BFI Southbank in London with the director and producer in attendance. The film had its Asian premiere as the opening film of the 2013 Shanghai International Film Festival on June 15, 2013. It premiered in the United States on June 8, 2013, at the Seattle International Film Festival, and was released in theaters on June 21, 2013. The film's theatrical release was accompanied by Pixar's short film titled The Blue Umbrella. Monsters University was released in the United Kingdom on July 12, 2013.
Monsters University was released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD, digital copy and on demand on October 29, 2013. It was accompanied by The Blue Umbrella, Pixar's short film which played alongside the film in theaters.
Monsters University has received mainly positive reviews from critics. The film has a 78% approval rating on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 175 reviews with an average rating of 6.8/10. According to that website's critical consensus, the film "doesn't scale the heights of Pixar's finest efforts, but Monsters University is still funny and thoughtful family entertainment for viewers of any age." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 65 based on 41 reviews.
Matt Zoller Seitz of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four stars out of four, saying it "is true to the spirit of [Monsters Inc.] and matches its tone. But it never seems content to turn over old ground." Trevor Johnston of Time Out gave the film four stars out of five, writing, "It has enough of the right stuff to haunt the imagination long after the immediate buzz of its fluffy-furred cuteness has melted away. For a mere prequel, that's a result." Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A−, and said it "is exactly the rebound Pixar needed after 2011's Cars 2 left some wondering if the studio had lost its magic. The delightful story of when Mike met Sulley puts those concerns to rest." Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film three stars out of four, and said it "is cute, and funny, and the animation, though not exactly inspired, is certainly colorful." Jake Coyle of the Associated Press gave the film three stars out of four, saying it "might not be as gifted as some of its other movies, but sometimes it's alright to be OK."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three stars out of four, and said, "It's all infectious fun, despite the lack of originality. In the art of tickling funny bones, Crystal and Goodman earn straight A's." Richard Corliss of Time gave the film a positive review, saying, "This minor film with major charms still deserves to have kids dragging their parents to the multiplex for one more peek at the monsters in the closet. With Pixar, familiarity breeds content."
Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic gave the film three and a half stars out of five and said it is "one of those movies that has absolutely no reason to exist, but once you've seen it, you're kind of glad it does." Alan Scherstuhl of The Village Voice gave the film a positive review, saying, "Monsters University feels not like the work of artists eager to express something but like that of likable pros whose existence depends on getting a rise out the kids. It's like the scares Sully and Mike spring on those sleeping tykes: technically impressive but a job un-anchored to anything more meaningful."
Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film three stars out of four, and said it "may not be as inventive as Inc., but it's an amusing and amiable addition to Pixar's roster of animated coming-of-age stories." Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post gave the film three stars out of four, saying, "It may be children’s terror that powers the movie’s fictional universe, but it’s the energy of its stars that lights up Monsters University." James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film three stars out of four, and wrote, "Although it falls short of the best Pixar has brought to the screen over its long association with Disney, it's nevertheless worth a trip to the theater, especially for kids."
The film was not without its detractors, though. Ty Burr of The Boston Globe gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four, and said, "This is not a bad movie, and to small children it will be a very good one, but it’s closer to average than one would wish from the company that gave us Up, WALL•E, The Incredibles, and the Toy Story series." Manohla Dargis of The New York Times gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of five and wrote, "Both the originality and stirring emotional complexity of Monsters, Inc., with its exquisitely painful and touching parallels with the human world, are missing."
Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four, and said, "The artwork is accomplished, and intricate. The G-rating is genuine, without any gross-out gags. And there's none of the usual winks to the adults with tired, pop-culture references." Richard Roeper gave the film two and a half stars out of five, saying "This is a safe, predictable, edge-free, nearly bland effort from a studio that rarely hedges its bets." Leonard Maltin of IndieWire praised the animation and art direction, but wrote that he wished "the movie was funnier and wasn't so plot-heavy" and that "Pixar has raised the bar for animated features so high that when they turn out a film that’s merely good, instead of great, they have only themselves to blame for causing critics to damn them with faint praise."
Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two stars out of four, saying, "Monsters University, the weirdly charmless sequel to the animated 2001 Pixar hit Monsters, Inc., is no better or worse than the average (and I mean average) time-filling sequel cranked out by other animation houses." Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald gave the film two stars out of five, and wrote that it "feels half-hearted and lazy, like they weren't even trying. At least show a little effort, guys."
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a negative review, saying that it "never surprises, goes off in unexpected directions or throws you for a loop in the manner of the best Pixar stories. Nor does it come close to elating through the sheer imagination of its conceits and storytelling."
As of November 24, 2013, Monsters University has earned $268,384,642 in North America, and $475,066,843 elsewhere, summing up to a worldwide total of $743,451,485. It is the fifty-fourth highest-grossing film, the fourth highest-grossing 2013 film, the third highest-grossing Pixar film, and the eleventh highest-grossing animated film. The film earned $136.9 million worldwide on its opening weekend. Disney declined to provide a budget for the film; Entertainment Weekly speculated that it was higher than that of Brave ($185 million), mainly because of the high cost of John Goodman and Billy Crystal reprising their roles. Shockya, a subsidiary website of CraveOnline, estimated the budget to be $200 million—on par with Toy Story 3 and Cars 2.
In the week leading to Monsters University's release, Disney projected an opening weekend gross of at least $70 million. The film opened on Friday, June 21, 2013 in first place with $30.47 million –including $2.6 million in 20:00 Thursday night shows– marking the fifth largest opening day among animated films. The film then reached first place with an opening-weekend gross of $82.43 million; the second largest among Pixar films, the second largest among G-rated films, the fourth largest among prequels, the fifth largest among animated films, and the fifth largest among films released in June. Monsters University remained at first place on its second weekend, declining 45% to $45.6 million. Facing tough competition from Despicable Me 2 on its third weekend, it dropped 57% to $19.7 million. As of October 2013, it is the tenth highest-grossing animated film.
Outside North America
The film earned $54.5 million in 35 markets on its opening weekend. It set a Disney·Pixar opening-weekend record in Latin America with revenues of $31.7 million. In Argentina, the film set an opening weekend record among all films with $5.49 million. In Australia, where it had a simultaneous release with Despicable Me 2, Monsters University debuted behind the latter with $3.56 million in third place. In Hong Kong, the film set opening-day (HK$5.03 million), single-day (HK$7.93 million) and opening-weekend (HK$25.79 million) records among animated films, beating the previous record holder, Toy Story 3. In the UK, the film topped the box office during its opening weekend with a gross of GB£3.46 million. The film's largest opening occurred in China, where its $13 million debut ranked fourth among Disney films. The film's highest-grossing markets are Japan ($90.1 million), the UK, Ireland, and Malta ($46.3 million), and Mexico ($37.6 million).
- James P. Sullivan
- Mike Wazowski
- Don Carlton
- Scott "Squishy" Squibbles
- Terri and Terry Perry
- Randall Boggs
- Johnny Worthington III
- Chet Alexander
- Dean Hardscrabble
- Sheri Squibbles
- Professor Knight
- Claire Wheeler
- Hank "The Tank" Knapp
- Brock Pearson
- Carrie Williams
- Archie the Scare Pig
- George Sanderson
- Frank McCay
- Karen Graves
- Ricky Plesuski
- Naomi Jackson
- Heather Olson
- Crystal Du Bois
- Britney Davis
- Taylor Holbrook
- Javier Rios
- Reggie Jacobs
- Chip Goff
- Baboso Goretega
- Dirk Pratt
- Roy "Big Red" O'Growlahan
- Omar Harris
- Percy Boleslaw
- Violet Steslicki
- Donna Soohoo
- Brynn Larson
- Maria Garcia
- Carla Delgado
- Debbie Gabler
- Rosie Levin
- Nadya Petrov
- Sonia Lewis
- Susan Jensen
- Rhonda Boyd
- Nancy Kim
- The Abominable Snowman
- The Slug Student
- The Referee
- Bohol Hall
- John Goodman as James P. Sullivan
- Billy Crystal as Mike Wazowski
- Joel Murray as Don Carlton
- Peter Sohn as Scott "Squishy" Squibbles
- Sean Hayes as Terri
- Dave Foley as Terry
- Charlie Day as Art
- Steve Buscemi as Randall Boggs
- Nathan Fillion as Johnny Worthington III
- Bobby Moynihan as Chet Alexander
- Helen Mirren as Dean Hardscrabble
- Julia Sweeney as Sheri Squibbles
- Alfred Molina as Professor Knight
- Aubrey Plaza as Claire Wheeler
- Tyler Labine as Brock Pearson
- Beth Behrs as Carrie Williams
- John Krasinski as Frank McCay
- Bonnie Hunt as Karen Graves
- John Ratzenberger as The Abominable Snowman
- Noah Johnston as Young Mike
- Bob Peterson as Roz
- Bill Hader as The Referee and The Yellow Slug
- John Cygan as Big Red
- Lori Alan as Bus Driver
- Jess Harnell as Omega Howl brother
- Mona Marshall as Emmet
- A113 is the number of the classroom where Scaring 101 is given.
- The Easter egg to 2015's Pixar movie The Good Dinosaur appears in a Scare Simulator: on the floor of those fake bedrooms, stuffed toys of dinosaurs can be seen.
- The famous Wilhelm scream is heard when Mike Wazowski runs over some students in the hallway while driving the floor waxer.
References to Monsters, Inc.
- The beginning of the teaser trailer makes a nod to both Monsters, Inc.'s teaser trailer and the film's opening scene, using similar shot techniques and narration.
- When the scarers of Monsters, Inc. are first introduced entering the Scare Floor, the same shots and music as in Monsters, Inc. are used.
- Like for Monsters, Inc., the title card is accompanied with an animation sequence; it even reuses some elements from that of the first film.
- Mike takes a picture for his ID card, in which half of his face is cut off. After he sees the picture, he exclaims "I can't believe it...I'm officially a college student!", a reference to when Mike's face is covered by the logo of Monsters, Inc. in a commercial, in the first film, and he exclaims a similar line.
- Randall has a poster in his room that reads "The Winds of Change: Ssh, can you hear it?" which is a reference to one of his lines in the first movie.
- When Sulley warns Mike that Archie the Scare Pig is a biter, Mike makes the same scream made in the first film when Roz closes her office shutters on Mike's hands, and when Baby Smitty bites Mike's hand.
- Some of the exercises Mike gives to the OKs mirror the morning exercises he made Sulley follow at the beginning of Monsters, Inc., like using a broom adorned with a drawing of a human head to simulate a child, and have Sulley jump and roar (in a way reminiscent of a push-up).
- While Oozma Kappa is chased by the Monsters, Inc. guards, the same music that plays in the first film when Sulley notices one of the lamps part of Boo's disguise in the trash compactor is reused.
- When Mike goes to the school's door lab to prove that he really can scare a human child, he discreetly steals an I.D. card from a student leaving the door lab. This is reminiscent of the scene in Monsters, Inc. when he again steals another monster's door card in order to find a random door to put Boo in.
- Dean Hardscrabble scolding Sulley that his roar would make a child with a fear of snakes cry instead of scream and not only producing no scream energy would also tell him/her parents and therefore endangering the monster world foreshadows the fact that Sulley accidentally scaring Boo and making her cry before Waternoose banishes both him and Mike to the Himalayas, causing him to realize that scaring is bad, and the fact that Boo was seriously afraid of Randall, a reptilian monster.
- Also, Hardscabble claims that a child crying produces no energy. However, when Boo cries in Sulley and Mike's apartment after Mike takes his Little Mikey teddy away, she did produce energy, which caused the lights to flare.
- When Hardscrabble sees Sulley go into the door leading to the girls' cabin to save Mike Wazowski from several human policemen by roaring at them she yells, "Don't open that door!" The exact same line was said by Waternoose at the end of the original film when Sulley and Boo trick him into exposing his evil plans and being arrested by the CDA by luring him into the scare simulation room.
- Just right before scaring said policemen, Mike tries to open the cabin's closet door only to find it depowered by Hardscrabble, and starts slamming it repeatedly, similar to how Sulley was slamming on the door Waternoose used to banish both him and Mike to the Himalayas repeatedly before meeting the Yeti. The slamming of the door after banishment appears to symbolize the separation of the film series' protagonists from their goals: Mike from becoming a scarer, and Sulley from rescuing Boo. (It should also be noted that the real reason why they did not try scaring very hard on the other side to power up the door in the Human World in the original film again was because Waternoose purposely banished them to a region in the human world where there are no humans present, and therefore, the only way for them to go back is to borrow an already-activated closet door.)
- The scoreboard above the scare simulators during the final Scare Games event make the same beeping sound as the Scarers' Leaderboard in the original film (ironically, the Scarers' Leaderboard in this film makes a mechanical clacking sound due to it being a split-flap display similar to a railway station timetable).
- In the teaser trailer, the snake monster from the intro of Monsters, Inc. appears on a poster to the right of Mike's room.
- When Sulley beats Randall in the final round of the Scare Games, Randall says "Last time I lose to you, Sullivan." This explains the start of their rivalry in their later job.
- During Roz' cameo, she says her famous line from the first film, "We'll be sure to be watching these two in the future. Always watching..."
- Mike's MU baseball cap is somewhat a replacement for his Monsters, Inc. helmet in the first film. It should also be noted that after Mike and Sulley escape from the human world, his hat is burnt to a crisp in the explosion. This symbolizes that his time in MU is over, an he is ready to start a new life in Monsters, Inc., wearing a new symbol, his helmet.
- When Mike tells Randall that he should get rid of his glasses to help his disappearing effect, Randall does so and is forced to squint like in the first film.
- When Randall accidentally kidnaps Mike and is about to interrogate him with the Scream Extractor, he most likely captured him out of his poor eyesight.
- Some of the scarers working at Monsters, Inc. resemble Mike and Sulley's eventual co-workers: for example, Jerry Jablonski=Noodles Rivera, Rufus Remerez=Ricky Plesuski, Dorothy Newbern=Bud Luckey, Clive Carver=Spike Jones, etc.
- Some of the backgrounds cars are derived from Cars 2 characters. For instance, monster-stylized AMC Pacers can be spotted in several scenes. The PNKs are notably seen onboard a pink convertible model when they invite the OKs to a party. Some of these Pacers are painted in a blue color that matches that of the die-cast version of Petey Pacer. Additionally, cars based on the Zündapp Janus can be spotted, as well as cars based on the body of lemons Fred and Otis.
- The Pizza Planet Truck is parked outside a house at the first party.
- The Luxo Ball appears drawn on the wall in the toxicity challenge to demonstrate how children toys are toxic.
- Roz makes an appearance as Agent #001.
- When Professor Knight was showing what the kid look that was "scaring" on the final exam, it looks like one the kids from Toy Story 3. It is now known that this kid is afraid of spiders and Santa.
- In the OK's basement, there is a picture of a car that resembles Mike's car from Mike's New Car.
- Mr. Waternoose and Celia are seen on pictures in Mike's locker at Monsters, Inc.
- Monsters, Inc. is the first Pixar film to have a prequel.
- Monsters, inc. is the third Pixar film to become a franchise after Toy Story and Cars.
- Monsters University is the second Pixar sequel or prequel that isn't based on Pixar's first movie Toy Story, after Cars 2, although Mike and Sulley's rivaly in MU is seen similar to Buzz and Woody's rivalry in Toy Story.
- Each background character was named after a Monsters University production member and each member is credited for the shots in which their character appears.
- The technology of monsters in the film appears to be older than that in Monsters, Inc., which emphasize on the fact Monsters University takes place some time before the first film, possibly 10 years. For example, Door supports are larger, more bulky and complicate in appearance, Monsters, Inc.'s leaderboard is made of a table rather than TV screens, and Scare simulators are much less realistic, with rather crude children animatronics.
- When Mike receives the Scare Games trophy, the music has a resemblance to the A Bug's Life opening theme.
- The Greek alphabet depicted in this film will be Argma (A), Gamma (G), Slugma (E), Theta (O), Eta (H), Howl (H), Kappa (K), Nu (N), Oozma (O), Python (P), Roar (R), Hiss (S), Phi (O), Chi (X), and Omega (O). Of the 15 letters, only Gamma, Theta, Eta, Kappa, Nu, Phi, Chi, and Omega are real.
- Both Eta and Howl are represented by an "H", which adds to confusion.
- Argma, Slugma, Oozma, and Python's symbols resemble Lambda, Sigma, Omicron, and Rho, respectively.
- Slugma is also the name of a Fire-type Pokémon that debuted in Pokémon Gold and Silver Versions that resembles a slug made of lava. It evolves into Magcargo, a Fire/Rock-type Pokémon resembling a snail made of lava with a shell made of hardened lava.
- The song that plays at the end of the teaser trailer is True, by Spandau Ballet.
- According to story supervisor Kelsey Mann, they produced 227,246 storyboard drawings, the most of any Pixar film to date.
- The first major rewrite of Pixar's hair and cloth simulation software occurred for Monsters University. This software was first introduced on Monsters, Inc., where it was used to simulate a single garment, Boo's shirt. In Monsters University, 127 garments were simulated.
- The new Global Illumination software Pixar introduced on this film required a doubling in size of their render farm.
- It took over 100 million CPU hours to render the entire film. Each frame took an average of 29 hours to render.
- There are over 400 different characters and at least 100 different monster "races" seen in the film. On average, there are 25 characters in every shot (previously there was an average of 10 characters in a shot).
- Mike, Sulley, and Randall Boggs are the only three monsters from the original film to have big roles in the prequel.
- This is the fourth Pixar film to feature a post-credits scene (also known as a stinger or a "monk's reward") at the end of the film, after Finding Nemo, Cars, and Brave.
- This is the seventh Pixar production to feature a post-credits scene after Finding Nemo, Cars, Mater and the Ghostlight, Hawaiian Vacation, Small Fry and Brave.
- In the US release, the cupcakes Randy shows Mike say "Be My Pal". In the UK release, they have faces on them.
- Mike talking about him being a stable boy and Sulley a princess in his sleep is a likely reference to The Princess Bride, which starred Wallace Shawn, where Billy Crystal was cast as a pirate.
- For some reason, the scarers in this film do not return in Inc. However, given the fact that the original film took place during an energy crisis, it's implied that the scarers in University either retired or got laid off at some point between the two films.
- When Mike raised his hand to say "A clown running in the dark," his fingers show the same shape as the Vulcan salute from Star Trek.
- Coincidentally enough, the film's college setting seems very appropriate for those who are already familiar with the original film since those who first heard of Monsters, Inc. when they were young would now already be in college when this film first came out.
- Coincidentally enough, both Monsters, Inc. films were paired up with a Disney Princess film where a princess becomes a queen that's part of the Disney Animated Canon with a time difference of five months: Inc., released in November 2001, was paired up with Atlantis: The Lost Empire, released in June 2001, five months before; while University, released in June 2013, was paired up with Frozen, which was released in November 2013, five months after!
- This is the second Pixar film to have the word "lame", after Ratatouille.
- In Monsters University, Mike and Sulley met in college. But at the beginning of Monsters, Inc., Mike tells Sulley "You've been jealous of my good looks since the fourth grade, pal." Although Mike could just be exaggerating the fact that Sulley has been jealous of Mike's good looks for a long time. Sulley had also stated in the original trailer for Monsters, Inc. that they knew each other in fifth grade when Mike would not pay attention during geography classes.
- At the finale game, Mike Wazowski takes off his OK hat while he exhales. However, when he exits the robot kid's bedroom, his OK hat was gone.
- When Mike first arrives at the campus, a giant monster can be seen catching a frisbee. But many of the buildings that make up the campus are still human-sized, making it impossible for some monsters like her to fit inside them.