This article is about Monsters, Inc., the first installment of the Monsters, Inc. series. For other uses, see Monsters, Inc. (disambiguation)
Movie poster monsters inc 2
Monsters, Inc.
Film Information

Pete Docter
Lee Unkrich (Co-Director)
David Silverman (Co-Director)


Darla K. Anderson
John Lasseter (Executive)
Andrew Stanton (Executive)
Kori Rae (Associate)


Pete Docter
Jill Culton
Jeff Pidgeon
Ralph Eggleston


Andrew Stanton
Daniel Gerson


Jim Stewart


Randy Newman


November 2, 2001
December 19, 2012 (3-D Re-release)

"We Scare Because We Care"

Monsters, Inc. is a 2001 comedy action adventure film and the first film of the Monsters, Inc. series, released in 2001. The film was re-released in 3D on December 19, 2012. A prequel to the film, Monsters University, was released on June 21, 2013.


Screen shot 2012-12-22 at 8.36.46 PM

The company building

Monsters, Inc.
is set in Monstropolis, a city inhabited by monsters, some of whom are those who emerge from bedroom closets to scare human children. This is used to collect the screams of kids, which power the city. The main power company in the city is called Monsters, Inc. The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer is a crab or spider-like monster, Henry J. Waternoose III. The top scarer at Monsters, Inc. is James P. Sullivan, aka "Sulley", a blue-furred giant who is partnered with the green, one-eyed Mike Wazowski.

The two of them are best friends and roommates. Sulley is a gentle and easy-going creature, while Mike is obsessed with his car and dreams of marrying his girlfriend, the Medusa-like Celia Mae. Sulley's main rival as a scarer is the chameleon-like Randall Boggs who possesses the ability to change the color of his skin to match his surroundings.


Mike and Sulley as they walk to work

As the two train and head off to work, their discussion reveals that the city is suffering a scream shortage because children have become desensitized to fear by an over-exposure to television. After they arrive at the Monsters, Inc. work floor we are shown that monsters can call up and travel through any child's door, thus being able to sneak in to bedrooms around the world and collect screams. In order to allow Mike to take out his girlfriend, Sulley agrees to stay at work late and turn in his paperwork. He finds a lone door on the work floor after hours, a violation of policy.

An investigation leads to a small human girl coming through into the monster world. Sulley is frightened, as it is believed all human children are toxic to monsters. After three attempts to put her back, he attempts to take the girl to Mike, who is enjoying a romantic dinner with his girlfriend at Harryhausen's. The girl escapes and is seen, causing mass panic and alerting the Child Detection Agency (CDA). The two grab her and barely make it home.


Sulley puts Boo to sleep

The girl stays overnight and is soon named Boo (for her habit of saying "Boo!" all the time). The two come to know she is not dangerous as once thought, but they still plan to return her the next day. She is disguised as a monster and they sneak her inside Monsters, Inc. Mike wants to toss her in any old door, but Sulley wants to return her to her home. A mistake gets Mike kidnapped by Randall, who had intended to take Boo. Randall has created a machine to extract screams straight from kidnapped kids. Sulley and Mike tell everything to Waternoose. However, it turns out that Waternoose is in on the scheme. Because of the decline in productivity, he fears for the company's future, and sees the machine as the only way of ensuring Monsters Inc's survival. Waternoose betrays them, banishing the two to the Himalayas.

The Abominable Snowman

The two stay with the Yeti until Sulley learns of a village down below. After an argument with Mike, he sneaks back to the monster world that way. Mike soon follows. They confront Randall and Waternoose and attempt to rescue Boo. In the end Mike and Sulley send Randall to a motor home in a Louisiana swamp, where he is beaten senseless with a shovel by the family living inside (who mistake him for an alligator). Mike and Sulley destroy the door Randall went through, thus trapping him.

Mike and Sulley trick Waternoose into exposing himself to the CDA, whose true leader is Roz, the scare floor secretary. Boo is sent home and her door is put through a grinder. Sulley comes to realize that laughter is ten times more powerful than screams and the company is redefined. Sulley becomes the new Chairman and CEO, and the monsters now enter the doors to entertain the kids as comedians, resulting in ample energy for the monster world thus solving the energy problem. In secret, Mike also has Boo's door reassembled. Sulley takes one more peek inside and Boo is heard but not seen, while Sulley has a surprised and happy smile on his face.

Cast and Characters



Other character roles include:


The idea for Monsters, Inc. started with a lunch in 1994. At this lunch was John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Joe Ranft. One of the ideas that came out of the brainstorming session was a movie about monsters. Docter started working on the script in 1996 and with Harley Jessup, Jill Culton, and Jeff Pidgeon completed a draft treatment in February, 1997. The initial story did not have the character of Mike Wazowski. He wasn't added until a story review meeting between Pixar and Disney in April of 1998. The movie went into production in 2000.


The film stands at 96% on the Rotten Tomatoes review site, with critics saying it's not as sophisticated as the Toy Story series but a fun film for children of all ages.



The film's soundtrack was released around the same time as the film's theatrical release, and included twenty-five songs and scores, including "If I Didn't Have You", performed by Billy Crystal and John Goodman. The score was written by Randy Newman, who wrote the score to many other Pixar films including Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Cars, Toy Story 3, Monsters University, and Cars 3 as well as many other non-Pixar films.


  • There are several references to other Pixar works; the Pizza Planet is parked next to the trailer from A Bug's Life where Randall ends up at the end of the door chase scene, the toy plane from Toy Story appears on the stimulation room's shelf, Ms. Nesbitt's name is a reference to Toy Story, Roly Poly Clown appears at the end, Randall turns the same color as Andy's bedroom walls from Toy Story at one point, Marlin appears on a wall in Harryhausen's behind the chef, Rex appears during the outtakes of the film, and Boo has a Nemo toy and a Pixar ball in her room. Nemo also appears on the door of the Trailer Folk's trailer.
  • There are many "firsts" for Pixar that Monsters, Inc. includes: it is the first film to feature animated fur, the first film to feature skirts on female characters (due to previous hardware limitations), and the first film to mute the Disney and Pixar openings. It is also the only Pixar film to not feature any permanent character deaths, not feature the A113 gag, and the only VHS release without a slip cover.
  • The letters "FIZT" on the door machine come from an application developed to control the movement of Sulley's fur based on his actions and other factors such as wind.
  • In one of the children's bedrooms at the end of the film, posters for Disneyland's Sailing Ship Columbia and Tomorrowland are seen.
  • Randall, voiced by Steve Buscemi, at one point says to Fungus, "If I don't see a new door in my station in five seconds, I will personally put you THROUGH THE SHREDDER!" Buscemi starred in Fargo, a movie in which his character gets put through a wood chipper/shredder by his murderous accomplice.
  • All of the Scarers' last names except for Sulley, Randall, George Sanderson and Ricky Plesuski are also those of actual Pixar staff members.
  • The Hidden City Café is seen in the opening scene, which, according to a teaser trailer for WALL-E, is where they thought up the idea for Monsters, Inc.
  • The scene where Sulley thinks that Boo has been crushed to death in a trash compactor references the Looney Tunes short Feed the Kitty, right down to Sulley even mimicking Marc Anthony the bulldog's reactions to "Boo"/"Pussyfoot" being "shredded alive" by the compactor/"cooked alive" in an oven and subsequently lamenting her "death" after retrieving a garbage cube containing one of Boo's costume's "eyes"/cookie shaped like a cat.
  • The Blu-ray re-release version of the film's closing credits lacked the outtakes as in the original theatrical and home releases as such has been relegated to a bonus feature, instead it features stylized monster body parts (like in the opening credits) and closet doors surrounding the credits.
  • All of the digital displays (such as the clock radio, the "Days since the last accident" counter, etc), are all made up of Nixie tubes. Nixie tubes were digital displays made up of digits formed from light bulbs with wiring shaped like letters or numbers, much like neon signs.
  • Sulley & Mike's relationship is similar to that of Ickis & Oblina from another monster story, Real Monsters. They work for fictional companies (Monsters, Inc.: the factory of the same name, Real Monsters, the Monster Academy). Ickis and Sulley start out as the initial protagonists while Mike and Oblina start out as the initial deuteragonists, but they eventually switch roles. But their overall friendships are legendary.
  • 90% of all the monsters in the film have Mike's tongue.[1]
  • In the Door Vault, all of the bedroom doors were created from combinations of 26 paint colors, 12 styles, 8 wood colors, 10 decals, 6 door knobs and 3 hardware types, which can create a total of 449,280 possible combinations.[1]
  • In the film, Sulley has 2,320,413 strands of hair, 25,336 of which are "key" hairs used to guide the motion and shape of the other 2,295,077 strands. For the goodbye scene near the end, a Pixar technical director had to hand animate the hairs on Sulley's fingers in order to make them react to Boo's touch.
  • This is the first Pixar film to be directed by Pete Doctor followed by Up and Inside Out.


  • In the international version of the video/DVD, several instances of written English text have been replaced with universal symbols. However, on several occasions, they switch back to the original appearance. For instance: The "Standby/Scare" sign in the factory, the "Contamination alert" on the video wall during the first 2319 and the joke on the video wall in the final scene.
  • When Boo laughs repeatedly while playing hide-and-seek with Sulley in the men's room, nothing happens to the electricity -- no surges as with all other times she laughs (in the audio commentary by the directors, they explained that it would've been distracting if an energy surge occurred every time Boo laughed, so they simply didn't address the issue. A reasonable course of action, but still a mistake).
  • After the Scare Floor shuts down at 6:00 and Sulley goes back to the Scare Floor to do Mike's paperwork, the clock reads 5:48. After he returns again to put Boo back, it clearly shows 5:48. Finally, after Randall leaves and Sulley leaves the Scare Floor for the restaurant, the clock reads 6:48.
  • In the opening scene, on the floor, there is a toy train on circular tracks when the monster sneaks in. When the monster (Bile) trips backwards over the ball and skateboard then falls onto the jacks, the train and tracks are gone.
  • When Mike is bringing Sulley to the fixed door, he has no slivers or Band-Aids on his hands. Then, when he says, "It was a lot of wood to go through," you see that he does.
  • During the opening scene, where Bile is looking under the bed, you can see the soccer ball just beside the bed and in front of the dresser. As Bile moves backward, he suddenly trips over that same soccer ball that suddenly moved from the side of the bed, to the back.
  • At the beginning, when the mailman drops the newspaper on Mike and Sulley's door, Mike opens the door and the newspaper vanishes from sight before it would have gone behind the door.
  • During the door chase sequence, there are a couple frames where neither Mike and Sulley or Randall has Boo.
  • On the Scarer's Leaderboard, Randall is listed by his first name, unlike every one of the other scarers featured on the leaderboard.


  • Mike: Can I borrow your odorant?
  • Sulley: Yeah, I got, uh... Smelly Garbage or Old Dumpster
  • Mike: You got, uh, Low Tide?
  • Sulley: No.
  • Mike: How about Wet Dog?
  • Sulley: Yep, stink it up.
  • Mike: Okay, first of all, it's "creetin". If you're gonna threaten me, do it properly. Second of all, you're nuts if you think kidnapping ME is gonna help YOU cheat your way to the top.
  • Randall: [chuckles evilly] You still think this is about that stupid scare record?
  • Mike: Well... I did. Right up until you... chuckled... like that... And now I'm thinking I should just get out of here.
  • Sulley: Hey, Ted! Good morning!
  • [Ted clucks; light changes and they cross]
  • Sulley: See that, Mikey? Ted's walking to work.
  • Mike: Big deal. Guy takes five steps and he's there.

Awards and nominations

  • Monsters, Inc. won the Academy Award for Best Song (Randy Newman for "If I Didn't Have You"). The film was nominated for Best Animated Feature, Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing and Best Music, Original Score.
  • Monsters, Inc. and Shrek are the first pair of CG animated movies to win Academy Awards in the same year (Monsters, Inc. for Best Song of 2001, and Shrek for Best Animated Feature of 2001).


For this subject's image gallery, see Monsters, Inc. (film)/Gallery.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Science Behind Pixar: Fun Facts
Monsters, Inc. series
Monsters, Inc.Monsters University
Mike's New CarParty Central
Video games
Monsters, Inc.Monsters, Inc. Scream TeamMonsters, Inc. Scream ArenaMonsters, Inc. Run