As The Nightmare Before Christmas celebrates its 30th anniversary, creators Henry Selick and Tim Burton reflect on Disney’s hesitancy to associate closely with the film due to its edgier content. Opting to release under the Touchstone Pictures label, the film’s initial $50 million box office might have been eclipsed had it carried the Disney branding, Selick suggests.
Burton understands Disney’s cautious stance given the film’s unique elements, like its stop-motion animation and a lead character lacking eyeballs. Disney’s concerns over brand alignment were clear, according to Selick, who believes the Disney label could have amplified the film’s success.
Selick, the director of the film, also touched on the common misconception that he credits Burton as the director. He expressed some past frustration over the late branding as “Tim Burton’s Nightmare” shortly before its release. Despite Burton’s pivotal role in the story and character design, Selick led the direction of the film.
Danny Elfman, the composer, humorously claimed the movie as his own, a sentiment that Selick appreciated with good humor. Selick has since been determined to earn recognition for his contributions to the movie’s legacy.
Further discussing the movie’s legacy, Selick mused about a possible prequel exploring Jack’s ascent to Halloweentown royalty. Although he isn’t averse to the hard work, he’s reluctant to pursue a sequel, feeling the original stands as a timeless piece that grew in stature well beyond its initial release.
The Nightmare Before Christmas continues to reach audiences via Disney+ and is enjoying a theatrical re-release, a testament to its enduring appeal.
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