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Skellington Productions
  • Selick/Burton Projects
  • (1985–1988)
  • Selick Projects
  • (1988–1992)
Company typeJoint venture
Founded1985; 39 years ago (1985)
FoundersHenry Selick
Tim Burton
Defunct1998; 26 years ago (1998)
FateMerged with Tim Burton Productions and Absorbed into Walt Disney Pictures
Production output
Stop motion
ParentWalt Disney Feature Animation

Skellington Productions was an American animation studio and production company that was a joint venture between Walt Disney Feature Animation and directors Henry Selick and Tim Burton. The company specialized in stop motion animation and made use of the art in its two films.[1] The studio's last work was season one of KaBlam!, after which it was closed by Disney.[citation needed]


After Tim Burton directed his directorial debut, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, he and Henry Selick formed the company in 1985 as Selick/Burton Projects, where Burton could direct episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre, while Henry Selick could focus on doing animation. In 1988, Tim Burton left to work on Beetlejuice, and Selick renamed the studio to Selick Projects. During this period, Selick Projects produced commercials for MTV, Ritz, and Pillsbury.

In September 1992, Tim Burton returned to Selick's studio, renamed it Skellington Productions, and sold it to Disney. The first film produced by Skellington Productions (which gave the company its namesake), The Nightmare Before Christmas, was released theatrically in 1993 under Disney's Touchstone Pictures banner to a positive reception and a successful box office, becoming a sleeper hit. Since 2006, Nightmare has been released by Walt Disney Pictures and in Disney Digital 3-D format.

Three months later, Disney released Skellington's second feature, Cabin Boy, starring Chris Elliott and directed by screenwriter, Adam Resnick. Tim Burton was a fan of the show Get a Life and commissioned Elliott and Resnick to write him a screenplay. When Burton received the script, he liked it very much and was going to direct it. At last minute, Burton got an offer to direct Ed Wood instead, so Burton jumped ship from Cabin Boy and handed the directing duties to Resnick, who had never directed anything in his life. When the film was released on January 7, 1994, the reception was overwhelmingly negative and was a huge flop at the box office. This film affected both Chris Elliott and Adam Resnick's careers for a long while.

Skellington's third and final film, James and the Giant Peach, based on the classic children's novel by Roald Dahl, was released to theaters in 1996.[2] Disney closed Skellington after the film became a box office flop despite positive reviews.

Aside from film, Skellington Productions also produced the Life with Loopy segments of Nickelodeon's TV series KaBlam! for its first season. Production on Life with Loopy moved to Custer Avenue Stages after Disney closed Skellington.[citation needed]


Year Title Co-production with Distributor Notes
1993 The Nightmare Before Christmas Touchstone Pictures Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
1994 Cabin Boy
1996 James and the Giant Peach Walt Disney Pictures
Allied Filmmakers
The last film to be made from the studio
KaBlam! Nickelodeon Animation Studios MTV Networks Life with Loopy (season 1 only)

See also


  1. ^ Noell K. Wolfgram Evans Animators of Film and Television: Nineteen Artists, Writers, ... 2011 0786486031 - Page 129 "To meet this challenge Selick established a separate production unit at Disney. Skellington Productions was filled with hand-chosen artists and technicians who collaborated together perfectly to advance this form of animation."
  2. ^ Ken A. Priebe The Art of Stop-Motion Animation - 2006 Page 182 1598632450 "I think Skellington Productions was the only studio that I've been a part of that lasted for more than one project, and that was Nightmare and James. There was about a year between those two projects when a few animators were shooting their ..."