Tim Burton has an infamous relationship with the Walt Disney Company. It’s well known that the director and animator has worked with Disney on multiple occasions and even started out his animation career at the studio. One of his most successful collaborations with Disney is the beloved Nightmare Before Christmas franchise. He also did a few other well known films for Disney including: James and the Giant Peach, Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass and Frankenweenie
During a recent interview with Deadline, Burton answered some questions about various projects and the discussion turned to his tumultuous relationship with the House of Mouse and why he would not return to work with them again after his 2019 live-action Dumbo film.
Here’s what he said:
“My history is that I started out there. I was hired and fired like several times throughout my career there. The thing about Dumbo, is that’s why I think my days with Disney are done, I realized that I was Dumbo, that I was working in this horrible big circus and I needed to escape. That movie is quite autobiographical at a certain level.“
Yikes. He compared Disney to a “horrible big circus.” Which is a sentiment other people have voiced, albeit with different phrasing. It’s especially evident in the constant changes in directors or writers at Marvel or Disney. Which Burton also made sure to mention in his interview. Saying that Disney’s focus was on Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars.
“It’s gotten to be very homogenized, very consolidated. There’s less room for different types of things.”
When asked if he would ever do a Marvel film his answer was no stating:
“I can only deal with one universe, l can’t deal with a multi-universe.”
The 2019 live-action ‘Dumbo’ film did okay at the box office hitting $353.3 million on a $170 million budget. But it is sitting on Rotten Tomatoes at a 45% critical score and a 48% audience score. But it does make one wonder what it could have been if the “horrible big circus” hadn’t gotten in the way.
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