The Nightmare Before Christmas
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHenry Selick
Screenplay byCaroline Thompson
Adaptation byMichael McDowell
Based onstory and characters
by Tim Burton
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyPete Kozachik
Edited byStan Webb
Music byDanny Elfman
Production
companies
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution[2]
Release dates
Running time
76 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$24 million[4]
Box office$101.2 million[5]

The Nightmare Before Christmas (also known as Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas) is a 1993 American stop-motion animated musical fantasy film directed by Henry Selick in his feature directorial debut and produced and conceived by Tim Burton. It tells the story of Jack Skellington, the King of "Halloween Town", who stumbles upon "Christmas Town" and schemes to take over the holiday. Danny Elfman wrote the songs and score and provided the singing voice of Jack.[6] The principal voice cast includes Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, William Hickey, Ken Page, Paul Reubens, Glenn Shadix, and Ed Ivory.

The Nightmare Before Christmas originated from a poem written by Burton in 1982 while he was working as an animator at Walt Disney Productions. With the critical success of Vincent that same year, Burton began to consider developing the film as either a short film or a half-hour television special, to no avail. Over the years, Burton's thoughts regularly returned to the project, and, in 1990, he made a development deal with Walt Disney Studios. Production started in July 1991 in San Francisco; Disney initially released the film through the Touchstone Pictures label because the studio believed the film would be "too dark and scary for kids".[1]

The Nightmare Before Christmas premiered at the New York Film Festival on October 9, 1993, and was given a limited release on October 13, before its wide theatrical release on October 29. The film was met with commercial and critical success upon release, earning praise for its animation, particularly the innovation of stop-motion as an art form, as well as its characters, songs, and score. While initially a modest box office hit, it has since garnered a large cult following and is widely regarded as one of the greatest animated films of all time.[7][8][9][10][11] It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, a first for an animated film, but lost to Jurassic Park.[12] The film has been reissued by Walt Disney Pictures and was re-released annually in Disney Digital 3-D from 2006 until 2010.

In 2023, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."[13]

Plot

Halloween Town is a fantasy world populated by various monsters and beings associated with the holiday ("This is Halloween"). Jack Skellington, the well-respected "Pumpkin King," leads the town in organizing the annual Halloween celebrations. Unknown to the citizens, however, he has grown tired of the same annual routine this year and wants something new ("Jack's Lament"). Wandering in the woods the next morning, he discovers several trees containing doors, which lead to other holiday-themed worlds (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Valentine's Day and Saint Patrick's Day). Stumbling through the one leading to Christmas Town and awed by the unfamiliar holiday, Jack develops an obsession for it ("What's This").

Jack returns home to share his discovery with his friends and neighbors. They relate to Christmas Town's ruler, Santa Claus (whom Jack mistakenly calls "Sandy Claws"), but are unfamiliar with the concept of Christmas and conflate its customs with the Halloween traditions that they are used to ("Town Meeting Song"). Frustrated, Jack isolates himself in his house and studies Christmas further, intent upon finding a way to rationally explain it ("Jack's Obsession"). When days of study and experimentation accomplish nothing, however, Jack abandons his attempts to understand Christmas and decides to "improve" the holiday instead.

Jack announces that Halloween Town will take over Christmas this year and assigns Christmas-themed jobs, such as singing carols, making presents ("Making Christmas") and building a sleigh pulled by skeletal reindeer, to various residents. Sally, a feminine creation of local mad scientist Doctor Finkelstein, experiences a vision detailing that their efforts will end in disaster. Jack, whom she secretly loves, dismisses her warnings and instructs her to make a Santa Claus suit for him. He also tasks a mischievous trick-or-treating trio named Lock, Shock and Barrel with abducting Santa ("Kidnap the Sandy Claws"); however, he orders the youngsters not to involve his long-time rival Oogie Boogie, a bogeyman with a passion for gambling, in their plot.

When Lock, Shock and Barrel bring Santa to Halloween Town (after mistakenly kidnapping the Easter Bunny first), Jack tells Santa that he will take care of Christmas this year and orders the trio to keep Santa safe. However, they disobey Jack's orders and bring Santa to Oogie, who plots to play a game with Santa's life at stake ("Oogie Boogie's Song"). Meanwhile, despite her best efforts, Sally is unable to stop Jack from proceeding with his plan ("Sally's Song"). As Jack departs to deliver presents in the real world, she attempts to rescue Santa from Oogie, only to be captured herself.

Unknown to Jack at first, his presents terrify the real world's populace, who contact the authorities and are instructed by them to lock down their homes and residences for protection. When word spreads about Jack's actions, he is shot down by military forces, causing him to crash in a cemetery. While the residents of Halloween Town believe him to be dead, Jack actually survived the ordeal. Bemoaning the disaster that he has caused ("Poor Jack"), he realizes that he enjoyed the experience nonetheless, reigniting his love for Halloween, but must act fast to fix the mess he had caused.

Upon returning home, Jack rescues Santa and Sally, then confronts Oogie and defeats him by unraveling a thread holding his cloth form together, causing all of the bugs inside Oogie to spill out and reduce him to nothing. Jack then apologizes to Santa, who scolds him for the chaos that he caused and for ignoring Sally's warnings. As Santa departs, however, both he and Sally assure Jack that Christmas can still be saved.

Santa resumes his yearly duties as he replaces Jack's presents with genuine ones, while all of Halloween Town celebrates Jack's survival and return ("Finale / Reprise"). To assure Jack that there are no hard feelings between them, Santa brings a snowfall to the town, thereby bringing the Christmas spirit upon it and, in a way, fulfilling Jack's original dream. The citizens finally realize the true meaning of Christmas, while Jack and Sally declare their love for each other and share a kiss.

Voice cast

Main article: List of The Nightmare Before Christmas characters

The voices for Jack Skellington's spoken lines and Sally were respectively provided by Sarandon and O'Hara.

The cast also features Kerry Katz, Carmen Twillie, Randy Crenshaw, Lisa Donovan Lukas, Debi Durst, Glenn Walters, Sherwood Ball, John Morris and Greg Proops voicing various characters. Patrick Stewart recorded narration for a prologue and epilogue. While not used in the final film, the narration is included on the soundtrack album.[16]

Production

Development

Director Henry Selick and producer/creator Tim Burton.

As writer Burton's upbringing in Burbank, California, was associated with the feeling of solitude, the filmmaker was largely fascinated by holidays during his childhood. "Anytime there was Christmas or Halloween, […] it was great. It gave you some sort of texture all of a sudden that wasn't there before," Burton would later recall.[17] After completing his short film Vincent in 1982,[17] Burton, who was then employed at Walt Disney Feature Animation, wrote a three-page poem titled The Nightmare Before Christmas, drawing inspiration from television specials of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas.[18] Burton intended to adapt the poem into a television special with the narration spoken by his favorite actor, Vincent Price,[19] but also considered other options such as a children's book.[20] He created concept art and storyboards for the project in collaboration with Rick Heinrichs, who also sculpted character models;[21][22] Burton later showed his and Heinrichs' works-in-progress to Henry Selick, also a Disney animator at the time.[23] After the success of Vincent in 1982, Disney started to consider developing The Nightmare Before Christmas as either a short film or 30-minute holiday television special.[21] However, the project's development eventually stalled, as its tone seemed "too weird" to the company.[24] As Disney was unable to "offer his nocturnal loners enough scope", Burton was fired from the studio in 1984[19] and went on to direct the commercially successful films Beetlejuice (1988) and Batman (1989) for Warner Bros. Pictures.[24]

Over the years, Burton regularly thought about the project. In 1990, Burton found out that Disney still owned the film rights.[25] He and Selick committed to produce a full-length film with the latter as director.[23] Burton's own success with live-action films piqued the interest of Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who saw the film as an opportunity to continue the studio's streak of recent successes in feature animation.[26] Disney was looking forward to Nightmare "to show capabilities of technical and storytelling achievements that were present in Who Framed Roger Rabbit."[27] Walt Disney Pictures president David Hoberman believed the film would prove to be a creative achievement for Disney's image, elaborating "we can think outside the envelope. We can do different and unusual things."[26]

Nightmare marked Burton's third consecutive film with a Christmas setting. Burton could not direct because of his commitment to Batman Returns, and he did not want to be involved with "the painstakingly slow process of stop motion".[23] To adapt his poem into a screenplay, Burton approached Michael McDowell, his collaborator on Beetlejuice. McDowell and Burton experienced creative differences, which convinced Burton to make the film as a musical with lyrics and compositions by frequent collaborator Danny Elfman. Elfman and Burton created a rough storyline and two-thirds of the film's songs.[4] Elfman found writing Nightmare's eleven songs to be "one of the easiest jobs I've ever had. I had a lot in common with Jack Skellington."[21] Caroline Thompson had yet to be hired to write the screenplay.[4] With Thompson's screenplay, Selick stated, "there are very few lines of dialogue that are Caroline's. She became busy on other films and we were constantly rewriting, re-configuring and developing the film visually."[28]

Filming

Selick and his team of animators began production in July 1991 in San Francisco, California, with a crew of over 120 workers, utilizing 20 sound stages for filming.[23][29] Joe Ranft was hired from Disney as a storyboard supervisor, while Eric Leighton was hired to supervise animation.[30] At the peak of production, 20 individual stages were simultaneously being used for filming.[31] In total, there were 109,440 frames taken for the film. The work of Ray Harryhausen, Ladislas Starevich, Edward Gorey, Étienne Delessert, Gahan Wilson, Charles Addams, Jan Lenica, Francis Bacon, and Wassily Kandinsky influenced the filmmakers. Selick described the production design as akin to a pop-up book.[21][28] In addition, Selick stated, "When we reach Halloween Town, it's entirely German Expressionism. When Jack enters Christmas Town, it's an outrageous Dr. Seuss-esque setpiece. Finally, when Jack is delivering presents in the 'Real World', everything is plain, simple and perfectly aligned."[32] Vincent Price, Don Ameche, and James Earl Jones were considered to provide the narration for the film's prologue; however, all proved difficult to cast, and the producers instead hired local voice artist Ed Ivory.[14] Patrick Stewart provided the prologue narration for the film's soundtrack.

On the direction of the film, Selick reflected, "It's as though he [Burton] laid the egg, and I sat on it and hatched it. He wasn't involved in a hands-on way, but his hand is in it. It was my job to make it look like 'a Tim Burton film', which is not so different from my own films."[28] When asked about Burton's involvement, Selick claimed, "I don't want to take away from Tim, but he was not in San Francisco when we made it. He came up five times over two years, and spent no more than eight or ten days in total."[28] Walt Disney Feature Animation contributed with digital effects and some second-layering traditional animation.[23] Burton found production somewhat difficult, because he was simultaneously filming Batman Returns and pre-production of Ed Wood.[4]

The filmmakers constructed 227 puppets to represent the characters in the movie, with Jack Skellington having "around four hundred heads", allowing the expression of every possible emotion.[33] Sally's mouth movements "were animated through the replacement method. During the animation process, […] only Sally's face 'mask' was removed in order to preserve the order of her long, red hair. Sally had ten types of faces, each made with a series of eleven expressions (e.g. eyes open and closed, and various facial poses) and synchronized mouth movements."[34] The stop-motion figurine of Jack was reused in James and the Giant Peach (also directed by Selick) as Captain Jack.[35]

Soundtracks

Main articles: The Nightmare Before Christmas (soundtrack) and Nightmare Revisited

Composer Danny Elfman.

The film's soundtrack album was released in 1993 on Walt Disney Records. The film's soundtrack contains bonus tracks, including a longer prologue and an extra epilogue, both narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart. For the film's 2006 re-release in Disney Digital 3-D, a special edition of the soundtrack was released, featuring a bonus disc that contained covers of five of the film's songs by Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Marilyn Manson, Fiona Apple, and She Wants Revenge. Four original demo tracks by Elfman were also included.[36] On September 30, 2008, Disney released the cover album Nightmare Revisited, featuring artists such as Amy Lee, Flyleaf, Korn, Rise Against, Plain White T's, The All-American Rejects, and many more.[37]

American gothic rock band London After Midnight featured a cover of "Sally's Song" on their 1998 album Oddities.

LiLi Roquelin performed a French cover of "Sally's Song" on her album Will you hate the rest of the world or will you renew your life? in 2010.

Pentatonix released a cover of "Making Christmas" for their 2018 Christmas album Christmas Is Here!.[38]

In 2003, the Disneyland Haunted Mansion Holiday soundtrack CD was released. Although most of the album's songs are not original ones from the film, one song is a medley of "Making Christmas", "What's This?", and "Kidnap the Sandy Claws". Other songs included are original holiday songs changed to incorporate the theme of the film. However, the last song is the soundtrack for the Disneyland Haunted Mansion Holiday ride.

Release

The Nightmare Before Christmas was originally going to be released under Walt Disney Pictures as part of the Walt Disney Feature Animation lineup, but Disney decided to release the film under the studio's adult-oriented Touchstone Pictures banner, because the studio thought the film would be "too dark and scary for kids," Selick remembered. "Their biggest fear, and why it was kind of a stepchild project, [was] they were afraid of their core audience hating the film and not coming."[39] To convey Burton's involvement and attract a wider audience, Disney marketed the film as Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.[26] Burton explained that, "…it turned more into more of a brand-name thing, it turned into something else, which I'm not quite sure about."[4] The film made its world premiere on the opening day celebration of the New York Film Festival on October 9, 1993,[40] and was given a limited release on October 13, 1993, before its wide theatrical release on October 29, 1993.

The Nightmare Before Christmas was reissued under the Walt Disney Pictures label and re-released on October 20, 2006, with conversion to Disney Digital 3-D, and was accompanied by Pixar's short film Knick Knack.[1] Industrial Light & Magic assisted in the process.[30] The film subsequently received three re-releases on October 19, 2007, October 24, 2008, and October 23, 2009.[41] The El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, has been showing the film in 4-D screenings annually in October, ending on Halloween, since 2010.[42] The reissues have led to a reemergence of 3-D films and advances in RealD Cinema.[43][44]

In October 2020, The Nightmare Before Christmas was re-released in 2,194 theaters. It made $1.323 million over the weekend, finishing fourth behind Tenet.[45] For the film's 30th anniversary and in commemoration of The Walt Disney Company's centennial, it was re-released in theaters across the United States and Canada on October 20, 2023, including engagements in 4DX.[46]

Home media

With years of successful home video sales, The Nightmare Before Christmas later achieved the ranks of a cult film.[30] Touchstone Home Video first released the film on VHS on September 30, 1994, and on DVD on December 2, 1997.[47] The Nightmare Before Christmas was released on DVD a second time on October 3, 2000, as a special edition. The release included an audio commentary by Selick and cinematographer Pete Kozachik, a 28-minute making-of documentary, a gallery of concept art, storyboards, test footage and deleted scenes. Burton's Vincent and Frankenweenie were also included.[48] Both DVDs were non-anamorphic widescreen releases. The film was released on UMD for PlayStation Portable on October 25, 2005.[49]

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the film on DVD again (this time with an anamorphic transfer) and on Blu-ray Disc (for the first time) on August 26, 2008, as a two-disc digitally remastered "collector's edition", but still containing the same special features.[50][51]

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released The Nightmare Before Christmas on Blu-ray 3D on August 30, 2011. The release included a Blu-ray 3D disc, Blu-ray disc and a DVD that includes both a DVD and digital copy of the film.

In 2018, Disney issued a singalong version of the film, accompanied by the theatrical cut and a Movies Anywhere copy, as a single-disc version for the film's 25th anniversary.[52] The singalong version was also released on Disney+ on September 30, 2022.

In celebration of 30th anniversary, the film was remastered in 4K and was released on 4K Blu-ray, including extra content, on August 22, 2023.[53][54]

Marketing

Disney has extensively marketed the film and its characters across many forms of media and memorabilia, including action figures, books, games, art crafts, and fashion products. Jack Skellington, Sally, Pajama Jack, and the Mayor have been made into bendable figures,[55] while Jack and Sally even appear in fine art.[56] Sally has been made into an action figure and a Halloween costume.[57]

Various Disneyland and the branching theme parks host attractions featuring Nightmare characters, particularly during Halloween and Christmas seasons. Since 2001, Disneyland has given its Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction a Nightmare Before Christmas theme for the holiday season. It features characters, decorations and music from the film, in addition to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Halloween Party featuring the film's characters.[58] Additionally, Jack hosts the Halloween Screams, HalloWishes, and Not So Spooky Spectacular! fireworks shows at Magic Kingdom (where the host is Ghost Host) and Disneyland (where the host is Jack himself), as well as the Frightfully Fun Parade.[59]

Reception

Box office

Around the release of the film, Hoberman was quoted, "I hope Nightmare goes out and makes a fortune. If it does, great. If it doesn't, that doesn't negate the validity of the process. The budget was less than any Disney blockbuster so it doesn't have to earn Aladdin-sized grosses to satisfy us."[21] The film earned $50 million in the United States in its initial theatrical run[41] and was regarded as a moderate sleeper hit.

The Nightmare Before Christmas made an additional $11.1 million in box office gross in its 2006 reissue.[60] The 2007, 2008, 2009, 2020, and 2023 reissues earned $15.8 million, $2.5 million, $2.3 million, and $10 million, respectively[clarification needed], increasing the film's total box office gross to $101.2 million.[41][61]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 95% based on 106 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stunningly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation."[62] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 82 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[63] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[64]

Roger Ebert praised the film's visual inventiveness: "One of the many pleasures of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is that there is not a single recognizable landscape in it. Everything looks strange and haunting. Even Santa Claus would be difficult to recognize without his red-and-white uniform." He wrote that it presented a world "that is as completely new as the worlds we saw for the first time in such films as Metropolis, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Star Wars. What all of these films have in common is a visual richness, so abundant they deserve more than one viewing." He wrote that "The songs by Danny Elfman are fun too, a couple of them using lyrics so clever they could be updated from Gilbert & Sullivan. And the choreography, liberated from gravity and reality, has an energy of its own, as when the furniture, the architecture, and the very landscape itself gets in on the act." He notes that "some of the Halloween creatures might be a tad scary for smaller children, but this is the kind of movie older kids will eat up; it has the kind of offbeat, subversive energy that tells them wonderful things are likely to happen."[65]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called it a restoration of "originality and daring to the Halloween genre. This dazzling mix of fun and fright also explodes the notion that animation is kid stuff. … It's 74 minutes of timeless movie magic."[66] James Berardinelli stated "The Nightmare Before Christmas has something to offer just about everyone. For the kids, it's a fantasy celebrating two holidays. For the adults, it's an opportunity to experience some light entertainment while marveling at how adept Hollywood has become at these techniques. There are songs, laughs, and a little romance. In short, The Nightmare Before Christmas does what it intends to: entertain."[67] Desson Thomson of The Washington Post enjoyed the film's similarities to the writings of Oscar Wilde and the Brothers Grimm, as well as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and other German Expressionist films.[68]

Michael A. Morrison discusses the influence of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! on the film, writing that Jack parallels the Grinch and Zero parallels Max, the Grinch's dog.[69] Philip Nel writes that the film "challenges the wisdom of adults through its trickster characters", contrasting Jack as a "good trickster" with Oogie Boogie, whom he also compares with Seuss' Dr. Terwilliker as a bad trickster.[70] Entertainment Weekly reports that fan reception of these characters borders on obsession, profiling Laurie and Myk Rudnick, a couple whose "degree of obsession with [the] film is so great that … they named their son after the real-life person that a character in the film is based on."[71] This enthusiasm for the characters has also been profiled as having spread beyond North America to Japan.[72] Yvonne Tasker notes "the complex characterization seen in The Nightmare Before Christmas".[73]

Accolades

The film was nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Nightmare won the Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film, while Elfman won Best Music. Selick and the animators were also nominated for their work. Elfman was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. Most recently, the film ranked #1 on Rotten Tomatoes' "Top 25 Best Christmas Movies" list.[74]

AFI's 10 Top 10 – Nominated

Legacy

Blink 182's 2003 song "I Miss You" makes reference to the film.[75][76]

The third and fourth episodes of the fifth season of Fargo feature a group of characters that wear masks depicting characters from the movie, including Jack Skellington.

Possible sequel

In 2002, Disney began to consider producing a sequel, but rather than using stop motion, they wanted to use computer animation.[77] Burton convinced Disney to drop the idea. "I was always very protective of [The Nightmare Before Christmas], not to do sequels or things of that kind," Burton explained. "You know, Jack visits Thanksgiving world or other kinds of things just because I felt the movie had a purity to it and the people that like it, because it's a mass-market kind of thing, it was important to kind of keep that purity of it."[44] The 2004 video game The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge did serve as a sequel of the film, with Capcom's crew of developers going after Burton for advice[78] and having the collaboration of the film's art director, Deane Taylor.[79] In 2009, Selick said he would do a film sequel if he and Burton could create a good story for it.[80]

In February 2019, it was reported that a new Nightmare Before Christmas film was in the works with Disney considering either a stop-motion sequel or live-action remake.[81] In October 2019, Chris Sarandon expressed interest on reprising his role as Jack Skellington if a sequel film ever materializes.[82]

On February 22, 2021, it was announced by Disney Publishing that a sequel was given to the 1993 film in the form of a young adult novel, released as Long Live the Pumpkin Queen. It was written by Shea Ernshaw and features Sally as the main character, told through her point-of-view, with events taking place after the film.[83] The book was released on August 2, 2022.[84]

In October 2023, Selick stated that he would like to do a prequel film about how Jack became king of Halloween Town.[85][86] The following month, however, Burton said that he did not want to see any further projects in that universe.[87]

Related media

Toys and games

A collectible card game based on the film called The Nightmare Before Christmas TCG was released in 2005 by NECA. The game was designed by Quixotic Games founder Andrew Parks[88] and Zev Shlasinger. It consists of a Premiere set and 4 Starter Decks based on four characters, Jack Skellington, the Mayor, Oogie Boogie, and Doctor Finkelstein. Each Starter Deck contains a rule book, a Pumpkin King card, a Pumpkin Points card, and a 48-card deck. The game has four card types: Characters, Locales, Creations, and Surprises. The Cards' rarities are separated into four categories: Common, Uncommon, Rare, Ultra Rare.

Quixotic Games also developed The Nightmare Before Christmas Party Game that was released in 2007 by NECA.[89]

A collector's edition The Nightmare Before Christmas-themed Jenga game was issued with orange, purple and black blocks with Jack Skellington heads on them. The set comes in a coffin-shaped box instead of the normal rectangular box.[90]

A 168-card Munchkin Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas-themed Munchkin was developed by USAopoly featuring the citizens of Halloween Town such as Jack Skellington, Oogie Boogie, Doctor Finkelstein, and Lock, Shock and Barrel. The game comes with a custom die similar to the ones used by Oogie Boogie in the film.[91][92]

On September 15, 2020, a Nightmare Before Christmas-themed tarot card deck and guidebook was released and the illustration was done by Abigail Larson.[93] On October 27, 2023, Disney partnered with Mattel to produce a Jack and Sally doll under their Monster High toyline.[94]

Books, comics, and manga

In 1993, a pop-up book based on the film was released on October 1.[95] Another pop-up book calendar titled Nightmare Before Christmas Pop-Up Book and Advent Calendar was released September 29, 2020.[96][97] Jack is the titular character in the short story "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack's Story".[98] Disney Press released a Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Party Cookbook: Recipes and Crafts for the Perfect Spooky Party on August 21, 2017.[99] A behind-the-scenes art book titled Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas: The Film, the Art, the Vision was released on October 14, 1993, and a Disney Editions Deluxe edition was published July 28, 2009.[100][101]

In 2006, a picture book containing the poem Tim Burton wrote that originated the film was released on August 15.[102] In celebration of the film's 20th anniversary, the poem was re-released with a hardcover edition in 2013.[103] On July 20, 2009, an illustrated book covering a rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" song titled Nightmare Before Christmas: The 13 Days of Christmas was published. In celebration of the film's 25th anniversary, a book and CD, featuring narration and sound effects, was released on July 3, 2018.[104]

In honor of the film's 25th anniversary, a Cinestory Comic made by Disney and published by Joe Books LTD was released on September 26, 2017.[105] A graphic novel retelling of the film by Joe Books LTD was released on July 31, 2018, and digital and hardcover versions were released August 25, 2020.[106][107] On November 26, 2020, a novel retelling of the film version was released as part of the Disney Animated Classics series.[108] In 2021, another version of Nightmare Before Christmas 13 Days of Christmas came out on July 6 and was soon followed by Little Golden Books's release of their adaptation of Nightmare Before Christmas on July 13, 2021.[109][110]

In 2017, Tokyopop secured exclusive licensing for two manga adaptions for Nightmare Before Christmas, with the first manga being an adaptation of the film's plot line, with art by Jun Asuka, released October 17.[111][112] The second manga, a fully colored series illustrated by Kei Ishiyama and titled Zero's Journey, chronicles the adventures of Jack's dog, Zero, in his experiences beginning in Christmas Town after accidentally getting separated from Jack, who tries to find him, and acts as a sequel to the film, with Tim Burton's story approval.[113] The 20 issues were first published monthly, starting on October 2, and then collected into four full-color graphic novels, with a black-and-white collector's edition manga edition as well.[114][115] Starting on July 21, 2021, Tokyopop released another sequel manga centered around Sally, titled The Nightmare Before Christmas: Mirror Moon, written by Mallory Reaves and fully-colored series illustrated by Gabriella Chianello, and Nataliya Torretta. The first two issues will be collected into a graphic novel that is slated to be released on October 26.[116][117][118]

A novelization of the film written by Daphne Skinner was published on January 1, 1994.[119] On August 2, 2022, a young adult novel titled Long Live the Pumpkin Queen by Shea Ernshaw was released. With Sally as the protagonist, with the premise described as "...takes place shortly after the movie ends. It's the yet-to-be-told love story of Sally and Jack. But it's also a coming-of-age story for Sally, as we see her navigate her new royal title as the Pumpkin Queen of Halloween Town". The novel introduced new characters and explored Sally's past, as well as exploring other holiday worlds as Sally and Jack tackle a mysterious villain Sally has accidentally unleashed.[83][120][121][122]

On November 1, 2022, Tokyopop announced a full-colored graphic novel series titled Disney Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Battle for Pumpkin King, which centers around the friendship and rivalry between a young Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie. The graphic novel consisted of five issues, starting with the first release in May 2023, and the full graphic novel edition is available in September 2023.[123][124][125]

A novelization for The Nightmare Before Christmas, written by Megan Shepherd was released on July 4, 2023, to celebrate the 30th anniversary.[126] On July 20, 2023, Shepherd also revealed that she will be writing a sequel to Ernshaw's Pumpkin Queen book and is expected to be released in 2024.[127][128]

On July 19, 2023, Disney announced that it is partnering with Dynamite Entertainment to publish new comics based on the film, with the first project being written by Torunn Grønbekk.[129][130][131]

On August 22, 2023, Epic Ink published a cultural book titled "Disney Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Beyond Halloween Town: The Story, the Characters, and the Legacy'" by writer Emily Zemler.[132]

Video games

The Nightmare Before Christmas has inspired video game spin-offs, including Oogie's Revenge and The Pumpkin King.

The Kingdom Hearts series includes Halloween Town as a world, appearing in the titles Kingdom Hearts, Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, and 358/2 Days, with Christmas Town also as a major area in Kingdom Hearts II. Jack Skellington appears as a party member of the protagonist, Sora, while other important characters from the film appear as supporting characters in the world. The games adapt parts of the plot of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

A Jack Skellington figurine is available for the Disney Infinity video game, allowing the character to be playable in the game's "Toy Box Mode".[133] The main characters of the film (except Santa Claus) appear as playable characters in the video game Disney Magic Kingdoms, as well as in some attractions based on locations of the film, in new storylines in which the characters are involved.[134][135][136][137] Jack and Oogie Boogie are featured as playable units in many Disney-related mobile games, such as Disney Heroes: Battle Mode, Disney Sorcerer's Arena, and Disney Mirrorverse.

In December 2021, a collaboration between Disney and Fall Guys released a seasonal challenge themed after The Nightmare Before Christmas, which was available from December 16 through December 27.[138][139]

In September 2023, Disney Dreamlight Valley released a patch update featuring furniture, clothing and motifs inspired by the film.

In October 2023, Fortnite collaborated with Disney to make the Jack Skellington costume and other The Nightmare Before Christmas-themed cosmetics for the Fortnitemares 2023 event.[140]

Rocket League released The Nightmare Before Christmas-themed cosmetics and items for their Haunted Hallows Event from October 18 to November 1, 2023.[141][142]

Concerts

Elfman's The Nightmare Before Christmas live at the Hollywood Bowl, 2015.

A live concert, produced by Disney Concerts, was held at the Hollywood Bowl in October 2015 and was followed by subsequent performances in 2016 and 2018. The shows featured Elfman, O'Hara, and Page reprising their roles from the film. In December 2019, this show came to Europe, with dates in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Dublin.[143]

A one-night-only virtual benefit concert presentation of the film, presented by The Actors Fund and produced by James Monroe Iglehart with the cooperation of Burton, Elfman, Disney and Actors' Equity Association, streamed on October 31, 2020. 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Lymphoma Research Foundation, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the performing arts. The cast included Iglehart as Oogie Boogie, along with Rafael Casal as Jack Skellington, Adrienne Warren as Sally, Danny Burstein as Santa Claus and the Narrator, Nik Walker as Lock, Lesli Margherita as Shock and Rob McClure as Barrel. Rounding out the cast were Kathryn Allison, Jenni Barber, Erin Elizabeth Clemons, Fergie L. Phillipe, Jawan M. Jackson and Brian Gonzalez.[144][145]

In October 2021, Disney hosted a live-to-film concert of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas for two nights at LA's Banc of California Stadium on October 29 and 31. The show featured Billie Eilish singing as Sally and Danny Elfman reprising his role as Jack. Ken Page reprised the role of Oogie Boogie, while "Weird Al" Yankovic sang as Shock. The concert included a full orchestra led by acclaimed conductor John Mauceri to perform the film's score and songs live.[146][147][148][149]

In October 2021, Disney announced that they were hosting another live-to-film concert at the OVO Arena Wembley in London on December 9 and 10, 2022. The show featured Elfman and Page reprising their respective roles, while John Mauceri returned as conductor alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra. Acclaimed singer and songwriter Phoebe Bridgers took on the role of Sally.[150]

In October 2023, Disney hosted another concert from October 27–29 at the Hollywood Bowl. Elfman, Page, Catherine O'Hara, and other guest stars are set to appear, including Halsey, who is sharing the role of Sally with O'Hara.[151][152] However, days before the concert, Halsey dropped out from her role due to a "scheduling conflict".[153][154] The 2023 concert series was dedicated to Paul Reubens, the original voice of Lock, who died in July that year.

Other media

Disney Interactive Studios released an As Told by Emoji animated adaptation of The Nightmare Before Christmas in 2016, which can be found on their official YouTube channel.[155]

In 2019, a behind-the-scenes podcast series about The Nightmare Before Christmas was made, featuring the animators, producers and other crew discussing the making of the movie, totaling 38 episodes.[156]

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ The Nightmare Before Christmas has been reissued as a Walt Disney Pictures release since 2006.[1]
Footnotes
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Further reading