TV & Movies

Turns Out Tim Burton Wasn’t That Involved In The Nightmare Before Christmas

Director Henry Selick set the record straight.

Originally Published: 
'The Nightmare Before Christmas' director spoke out about Tim Burton's involvement.
Touchstone Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Ever since its release back in 1993, The Nightmare Before Christmas has become both a festive and spooky season staple for many. The Oscar-nominated animation centres on the King of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington, who, after becoming enamoured by the magic of Christmas Town, comes up with a diabolical plan to hijack the holiday. Although very much presented as being the work of Tim Burton, the famed director had a lot less involvement in the movie than the casual viewer might expect.

As per Variety, Burton — of Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride, and Batman fame — penned the original story, co-produced the film, and created the character designs. However, The Nightmare Before Christmas was actually directed by Henry Selick, and the filmmaker has spoken out about Burton’s actual involvement in the movie.

Speaking to AV Club, Selick revealed that “Tim was in L.A. making two features” while he directed the animation, and disclosed that the film’s title was eventually changed, giving Burton almost all of the credit among audiences. “That was a little unfair because it wasn’t called Tim Burton’s Nightmare until three weeks before the film came out,” he recalled. “I would have been fine with that, if that’s what I signed up for.”

Selick also made clear that he greatly admires the “genius” work of Burton. “I always thought his story was perfect, and he designed the main characters. But it was really me and my team of people who brought that to life,” he added.

Barry King/WireImage

Meanwhile, the director also shared that the man behind the music of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Danny Elfman, also refers to the stop-motion classic as “his move.”

“When we finished the film, it was so funny because he came up to me and shook my hand. ‘Henry, you’ve done a wonderful job illustrating my songs!’ And he was serious, and I loved it.” Selick continued: “But my thing was, I’m going to hang in there long enough to where people actually say, ‘Oh, that guy Henry, he does stuff.’”

This article was originally published on