Italy's Giffoni Fest to Open With 'Monsters University'

9:20 AM PST 06/24/2013 by Eric J. Lyman
Walt Disney Studios
"Monsters University"

The 43-year-old event is Europe's oldest and largest film festival focusing exclusively on young moviegoers.

ROME – The Italian premiere of Monsters University, the prequel to Pixar’s Monsters & Co. blockbuster from 2001, will be the opening film at next month’s Giffoni Film Festival, organizers said Monday.

The storyline focuses on Monsters & Co. protagonists Mike and Sulley before they were friends, in university. In the English-language version of the film, the characters get their voices from Billy Crystal and John Goodman, respectively. But in Italy voices for the duo come from actors Francesco Mandelli and Fabrizio Biggio, who will be on hand for the premiere.

The film, which was directed by Dan Scanlon, went into wide release in the U.S. last weekend and will open nationwide in Italy on Aug. 21.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy said the film failed to live up to the studio's previous standards, calling it the “third consecutive less-than-first-class Pixar entry.”

Nonetheless, the film did well in its opening weekend in the U.S., taking in $30.5 million on Friday alone. 

The 43-year-old Giffoni event, Europe’s oldest and largest film festival focusing exclusively on young moviegoers, will get underway July 19, inaugurated by the Monsters University premiere. It runs through July 28.

The event is one of the most popular festivals in Europe in terms of attendance, with as many as 100,000 attendees expected, and it uses a popular jury, meaning around 3,300 fans will select the festival’s winning film.

The festival -- which takes place in the historic village of Giffoni Valle Piana, near Naples -- previously announced it would honor Zero Dark Thirty actress Jessica Chastain and Italy’s Giancarlo Giannini, a veteran of the James Bond franchise, with career honors.

Twitter: @EricJLyman

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