Mike Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and Sully (voiced by John Goodman) take extreme measures to ensure their Oozma Kappa party is a success in the first clip from the Pixar short film Party Central, which we reported last month will be attached to Muppets Most Wanted in theaters March 21. The short is set within the Monsters University universe, with the Oozma Kappa fraternity house set to throw their first big party. When no one shows up, Mike and Sully steal a door station to liven up the festivities, with one door placed at another raucous party and the other at the Oozma Kappa house. In addition, we also have two new photos from the short, featuring Art (voiced by Charlie Day), Squishy (voiced by Peter Sohn) and Squishy's mother, Sherri (voiced by Julia Sweeney), along with more details from director Kelsey Mann, who served as the story supervisor on Monsters University.
As you can see from Sherri's reaction, the party gets rather out of control, with the MPAA even granting the short a PG rating, the first Disney animated short to get higher than a G rating since 1990's Who Framed Roger Rabbit? short Roller Coaster Rabbit.
With a voice cast featuring Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Charlie Day, who are all in such high demand, one might think it was difficult to bring them back for another short film. Director Kelsey Mann revealed that they actually recorded the voice work towards the end of production on Monsters University.
"It actually worked out really smoothly because towards the end of Monsters University, when things were starting to get approved and going into animation and layout, we started getting the idea to revisit these characters in a short form. And I started thinking of ideas, and it worked out really well because we just piggybacked on the movie. So when we would get the last little pick-up lines from Billy Crystal and then we recorded the short. It worked out seamlessly. And it not only worked like that for the voice talent but also with the animators, who rolled right out from the movie and onto the short."
The director also talked about aspects of the party that weren't included in the short, and how they originally wanted to showcase this event in Monsters University.
"It's funny. There's always stuff that doesn't make its way in, whether it's the movie or the short. But that's where the short came from -- from the movie. I remember, near the end, I always wanted to see their party. It's the first thing they say they want, this party. And I said, 'We've got to have this in the movie! I don't care if it's in the credits. I want to see this party.' The idea of doing a short came up and we thought that it was the perfect opportunity to pay off something that we wanted to do in the movie but couldn't find the right time and the right moment to do it. So it presented a perfect opportunity. When you work in story, you have these ideas that you had five years ago and they can always come back. I don't want to give anything away but the ending came from an idea that we had while working on an earlier version of Monsters University. It was a different version of the film and it was a great gag that we always loved, and when we started thinking about what could happen at the party, we thought, What if we bring back that gag from the old version of this movie? So things always come back. If it's a good idea, sometimes it's finding the right spot for it. And we found the perfect spot for it."
The short was initially set to play before Pixar's The Good Dinosaur, before the studio bumped it from May 30, 2014 to November 25, 2015 in September. When asked if the director was worried when fans might be able to see the short, he had this to say.
"I knew it would be seen. And I wanted it to be seen in the right way. And with The Good Dinosaur, it would have been really, really fun. But to have it paired with the Muppets -- that's just as awesome. I'm a huge, huge Henson fan. I grew up on the Muppets. It's one of the reasons I'm doing what I'm doing. To me, it's a perfect pair. I feel like the original Monsters Inc. was heavily influenced by the Henson Studios and to have it be in front of the Muppets movie is such a perfect pairing. I'm over the moon for where it ended up."