Nightmare Before Christmas: Danny Elfman Calls "Persistence" of Cult Film A "Real Pleasure"

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas was a flop upon its release and a black mark on the record of Disney having made their name as a family and kid-friendly animation studio. The film wouldn't die though, becoming a cult hit for a certain generation of movie watchers (who likely caught it on VHS in the years later) to the point where now it's a mainstay of Disney's ever-growing merchandise machine. Not much of the fresh crop of new toys, clothes, and household goods come from titles from the previous century but Nightmare Before Christmas has revealed itself to have that kind of staying power, and composer Danny Elfman loves it.

"When it came out, I did a two-day press junket and virtually every interview started with: 'Too scary for kids, right?'," Elfman, who composed the music and provided the singing voice of Jack Skellington, recalled to Variety. "I think that’s why Disney was like, 'What do we do with this thing? We’re a family film company.' So to come back years later and to see families out there, and to be getting recordings of people’s kids who are 4 years old singing 'What’s This' or 'This is Halloween,' makes me really feel blessed. It’s like a second life and proving them wrong."

He continued, "And to Disney’s credit, after a decade or 15 years, they recognized that there was still this following, and they started putting energy back into it. This time they understood what it was. And not many companies would have done that — pick up a decade-old film and put energy into it. I consider the persistence of Nightmare Before Christmas to be one of my real pleasures in life."

The staying power of Nightmare Before Christmas is so strong that earlier this year came the announcement that a sequel is on the way, just not on the big screen. Back in February Disney Publishing annoucned that Shea Ernshaw (The Wicked Deep, Winterwood) had been tapped to pen a YA novel set after the events of 1993 film. The new story, which is currently untitled, is told from Sally's point of view and begins sometime after her first kiss with Jack Skellington on Spiral Hill, with the two now married. A new adventure begins for Sally when she accidentally sets a Halloween Town villain free. The villain puts Jack, Halloween Town, and the other holiday-themed towns in the film's universe, including at least one that fans have never seen before, in danger.