Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) celebrated its 30th anniversary last week, and this week, the film achieved a huge milestone that sets it in a brand-new category of films.
Sunday, October 29 marked the 30th anniversary of the theatrical release of Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas with Tim Burton. The film was the product of more than three years of production that involved the arduous task of stop-motion filmography, as each of the characters was made from clay and had to be adjusted for each new snap of the camera.
Originally inspired by a poem that the film’s producer, Tim Burton, wrote in the 1980s, Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas wasn’t a film the House of Mouse wanted any part of–initially.
Disney Wanted No Part in the Film
Burton, who was working as an animator at Walt Disney Animation when he wrote the poem that inspired the film, was fired from Disney in 1984. He went on to direct films for Warner Bros. and other studios, but the idea of a film inspired by his spooky poem wouldn’t leave him. When he initially approached Disney about a film collaboration, the studio refused, but Burton didn’t give up.
Eventually, Disney and Burton reached an agreement, and the film, which was originally going to be released under the Walt Disney Animation Studios name, was released instead under Touchstone Pictures, also owned by Disney, as it was a more-adult-oriented label for films. Disney had its own fears about the movie–namely, that it would prove far too dark for children.
While the film wasn’t a box office smash upon its release in October 1993, it enjoyed modest success. But over the years, the film has developed a sort of cult following–and not only among those who love Halloween.
Jack Skellington Gets a Re-Release
As the 30th anniversary of the theatrical release of The Nightmare Before Christmas drew closer, Disney began making plans for the anniversary re-release of the film. And this time around, a 2023 re-release did the trick.
As of the time of this post, the re-release has been out for just short of 20 days, and already, the film has earned more than $9.9 million domestically. That includes nearly $890,000 in its most recent weekend at the theater.
When added to the film’s earnings since its original release in 1993, Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas has passed a major milestone in its history–finally crossing the $100 million threshold ($87.2 million domestically to date to go with $13.8 million internationally for a total of $101 million).
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” originally hit theaters in October 1993. It was met with strong reviews in its day but was only a modest hit, taking in $50 million against a $24 million budget. It was also a bit of a sore spot for Selick as most audiences associated the film with Burton, even though it was he, Selick, who was in the director’s chair. Be that as it may, the filmmaker’s stop-motion animated film ended up gaining a very serious cult following in the years after its original run. It has since become one of the crown jewels of Disney’s animated library.
In no small part thanks to home video and constant showing on cable TV, the audience for the movie grew by orders of magnitude, and it has since been re-released in theaters several times. The 3D releases that took place in 2006, 2008, and 2009 were particularly successful, taking in more than $24 million collectively.
Room for Even More Fans?
News of a possible sequel to the film–or a prequel, as described by director Henry Selick, has been of interest recently, but as of the time of this publication, there’s no word of confirmation from Disney about a new Nightmare film being in production.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea, however, as the original film only continues to grow in popularity, and there’s no doubt a second film would do just as well–and possibly better–at the box office as the first film.