The 2015 Pixar movie, Inside Out, does an outstanding job striking an emotional chord amongst their audience. And from the premise and the themes that were explored in this film, I would say that the target audience for Inside Out is definitely not young kids. The story is framed around our protagonist, Riley, an 11-year old girl who is a happy, well-adjusted kid until she finds out her family is moving from their home in Minnesota to San Francisco. We meet the characterized emotions in her head, Joy, Fear, Anger and Sadness who all get their turn at being a leading emotion as Riley tries to adjust to her new surroundings.
A complex world has been created inside the mind of Riley where there are core emotions that are at risk of disappearing into the Memory Dump, which is not a good outcome. This ongoing pending catastrophe is threaded throughout the story and if it occurs, it would forever alter Riley’s once happy-go-lucky personality.
Inside Out hits upon many complex ideas that resonate with adults in a profound way. Younger kids will enjoy the animation and the broader strokes of the storyline but they will miss the deeper exploration into the human psyche. All this to say, know your audience before you write your script. Pixar clearly knew they would target this story to an older audience that would just take their kids along as their excuse for seeing an animated movie. : )
As a screenwriter, it is important for you to narrow down who your story is best suited for and this will help you when it comes to developing your characters and theme. Take the time to think about exactly who your audience is and it will enhance your storytelling. The makers of Inside Out were able to produce a very meaningful movie because they knew their audience.