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Why ‘Monsters U’ Skewed Younger Than Previous Pixar Toons

Pixar toon scores just 27% from single adults, couples and teens

Pixar arguably is the most grown-up animation brand out there — but not this weekend.

Only 27% of the moviegoers who went to see “Monsters University,” the 14th film from the Disney-owned toon shop, were single adults, couples and teenagers. That’s a surprisingly modest share, especially since the film wound up grossing an impressive $82.4 million domestic opening, the second-highest debut for a Pixar film (behind “Toy Story 3”).

Moreover, Pixar films normally can rely upon non-family auds to goose grosses.

Toy Story 3,” for instance, amassed a record-setting $110 million this same weekend in 2010, of which non-families contributed 33%. The three-quel benefited from a 15-year lapse after the first “Toy Story’s” release. Last year’s “Brave” also attracted an older audience, with 34% of its $66 million debut coming from non-family auds.

What made “Monsters University” less appealing to non-families? For starters, the toon has had mixed critical response, which may have discouraged some single adults. Disney also marketed “Monsters U” as a sillier comedic offering than past Pixar films like “Up” or “Brave,” a fact that most likely resonated better with kids than with older auds.

Even Fox’s first DreamWorks Animation release, “The Croods,” drew a larger non-family contingency (at 32%) than “Monsters University.” That film opened in March with $43 million and has since cumed an impressive $184 million domestically.

Still, “Monsters University” ultimately played well with audiences, scoring an overall ‘A’ CinemaScore rating.

The overperformance of Paramount’s “World War Z,” which scored a $66 million Stateside opening, suggests “Monsters University” faced tougher-than-expected competition for teens and young adults.

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