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Nightmare Before Christmas Director Downplays Tim Burton’s Involvement

The Nightmare Before Christmas is often associated with Tim Burton, but director Henry Selick wants to let it be known that it’s his movie too.

Director Henry Selick explains that Tim Burton had little to do with The nightmare Before Christmas. Very often, some of the best feature films are the result of collaboration between filmmakers of similar minds. In case of The nightmare Before Christmas, there were former Disney animators Tim Burton and Henry Selick. Both filmmakers are surrealists who collaborated on the classic films The Fox and the Dog and The black kettle. After Burton’s success in live-action features, he teamed up with Selick to Nightmare before Christmas completed.


The nightmare Before Christmas would become one of Walt Disney Pictures’ most memorable animated films, although it was initially released under the Touchstone Pictures banner due to Disney’s fear of its content. Despite the contrast in fame, Selick is not bitter about Burton’s success and the two have remained close friends. Despite this, many people still confuse Nightmare because it’s exclusively a Burton movie and Selick’s work almost never mentions it.

Related: Danny Elfman Is Right, Nightmare Before Christmas 2 Shouldn’t Happen

Selick sat down with the AV club to talk about his recent movie Wendell & Wild when the subject came up in his work with Burton on The nightmare Before Christmas. Selick wants everyone to know that even though Burton came up with the idea for the film, he actually had very little to do with it. Selick directed the feature film after Burton was working on Batman returns and Ed Wood. While most of the public assumed he was making countless creative decisions, Selick came to set the record straight.

I’ll just go through it one more time. Tim Burton had little to do with making Nightmare Before Christmas. But it was his idea. It was his character designs. But he trusted me because he knew me and the head of storyboarding, Joe Ranft. But it was my crew in San Francisco who made that. He showed up at the end with an editor and cut out some stuff to hone the film.

Selick was essential to the nightmare for Christmas success

With Burton’s popularity at the time, his name was heavily added to the marketing. The subject of who exactly made the film has harassed Selick by saying that he had “won many a bar bet” when confronting people about who directed the film. Composer Danny Elfman, who Selick jokingly said also owns the film, has openly supported and thanked him for handling the songs. Since the film’s release, Selick has chosen to associate his name more closely with his films such as: Coraline and the recent Wendell & Wildwhich he is both proud of.

The nightmare Before Christmas needed someone like Selick to direct. While Burton’s presence cannot be denied, his time was divided as he worked on other high-end Hollywood projects and Selick helped showcase the film with his similar style and taste. While it’s unfair that the film is mistakenly directed by Burton, Selick has still managed to move on to other well-known projects and is still interested in continuing the art of stop motion for his future films.

Source: AV club

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