It turns out that one of the best scary movies for kids, The Nightmare Before Christmas, had an alternate ending, which Tim Burton thankfully hated. During a special episode of the Netflix TV series The Holiday Movies That Made Us, it was revealed that while helming the animated movie director Henry Selick (Coraline) made a narrative suggestion for the film’s leading villain and climax, which caused Burton to fly off into a rage – supposedly.
Based on a poem by Burton, The Nightmare Before Christmas follows the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington, who has a bit of an existential crisis. Becoming bored of his own spooky holiday, Jack stumbles upon Christmas Town and soon becomes obsessed with all things Santa Claus and the North Pole – leading to some dire consequences. The original end of the 1993 movie saw Jack and his love interest Sally having to save Santa from the clutches of Oogie Boogie, who, after being unravelled, is revealed to be made entirely of bugs.
According to the TV series, Selick suggested that Oogie should have been Dr Finkelstein, Sally’s captor who also happens to be a handy inventor, instead of a bunch of bugs. The old switcheroo was meant to be a classic twist, but when Burton heard the idea, he “erupted into a screaming fit” and even kicked a hole in Disney’s wall.
If Tim Burton’s first reaction wasn’t warning enough, Caroline Thompson (who penned the musical movie’s screenplay) told him that Sally and Jack’s relationship needed “another couple of beats” for the ending to really hit home. The show revealed that Burton didn’t take that suggestion well either and went on to attack an editing machine.
Destruction of property aside, we are happy that Tim Burton held his ground on the changes, especially the Scooby-Doo like twist that Selick suggested. The Nightmare Before Christmas is universally loved and currently holds an impressive 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is an iconic kids movie for a reason, and we are happy that it survived all the development spats.
Tim Burton is currently working with Netflix on an Addam’s Family spin-off TV series titled Wednesday. Right now, no release date for the upcoming fantasy series has been confirmed by the streaming service. Stay tuned for updates.