Crystal, Goodman join Disney/Pixar toon

CG comedy helmed by Docter, Silverman

Billy Crystal (“City Slickers”) and John Goodman (“Coyote Ugly”) will voice the main characters in “Monster, Inc.,” the next computer-generated animation feature from Walt Disney Co. and Pixar.

Set for a November 2001 release, the comedy-adventure involves a monster world “scare factory” and features top scary-guy James P. Sullivan (Goodman) and his opinionated best friend, Mike Wzowski (Crystal).

Pic is helmed by Pete Docter, who snagged an Oscar nom for co-creating the story for Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story.” David Silverman (“The Simpsons”) will co-direct.

Darla Anderson (“A Bug’s Life”) is the producer; Pixar co-founder John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, who co-directed “A Bug’s Life,” are the exec producers.

Other voice-cast members are James Coburn, Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Tilly, Bonnie Hunt and newcomer Mary Gibbs.

“Monsters, Inc.” is the fourth in a planned series of Disney/Pixar productions. Their “Toy Story 2” is set for release on homevideo and DVD on Oct. 17, and “A Bug’s Life” hits pay-per-view Oct. 1. The original Disney/

Pixar collaboration, “Toy Story,” was released in 1995.

Casting announcements came the same day as Pixar’s second-quarter financial results.

Pixar posted an $8 million profit in its latest quarter, up 25% from a year ago and modestly exceeding analysts’ expectations.

The Richmond, Calif.-based company marked a 36% rise in quarterly revenue to $18.3 million.

“Because there will be a two-year lag by the time ‘Monsters, Inc.’ is released, that film’s success is pretty important to (Pixar) investors,” said analyst Jeffrey Logsdon of Hambrecht & Co. in San Francisco.

He added that the casting announcements should help. “Clearly there’s some marquee value in having name personalities as voices for the characters,” Logsdon said. “To some extent, that helps the audience bond with the characters a little more quickly, and there’s some advertising value in having a Billy Crystal type of character.”

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