By Josh Rottenberg
As any Jim Henson fan could tell you, Muppets and monsters are an ideal match, like chocolate and peanut butter or Cookie Monster and sugary baked treats. It’s only fitting, then, that Disney is set to unveil the latest Pixar short film — a Monsters University spinoff titled Party Central — in front of Muppets Most Wanted when that movie hits theaters March 21, 2014.
In the six-minute short, which Disney first debuted at last year’s D23 Expo, Mike and Sulley and their Oozma Kappa frat brothers try to throw a monster blowout party but are dismayed to find that no one is showing up. Fortunately, they have some extra inter-dimensional doors handy, which they put to creative use (we won’t spoil how here) to get the party rocking.
Party Central writer-director Kelsey Mann, who served as story supervisor on Monsters University, tells EW that the germ for the short came straight out of that film. ”When you first meet the Oozma Kappas, they go to their fraternity house and the first thing they say is, ‘Welcome to party central! We haven’t thrown a party yet, but when we do we’ll be ready,’ ” Mann says. “I kept telling [MU director] Dan [Scanlon], ‘I really want to see their party. We have to do it in the credits or something.’ Then when the idea of doing a short came up, we were like, ‘That could be the party!’ “
The short, which took around eight months to make, dovetailed with the end of production on Monsters University. “We would do a couple of pickup lines with Billy Crystal and the other actors for the movie and then we’d get the stuff we needed for the short,” Mann says. “It really worked out smoothly.”
Disney initially weighed including Party Central as a bonus feature on the Monsters University DVD but now that it’s winding up on the big screen, Mann is thrilled. ”It fits,” he says. “Party Central is a big, epic party, so the bigger the screen and the louder the speakers, the better it is.”