No, The Nightmare Before Christmas Director Henry Selick Didn't Get Any Of The Movie's Crazy Merchandise Profits

Director Henry Selick has been around the block a time or two, to say the absolute least. The acclaimed stop-motion animation filmmaker behind movies like "James and the Giant Peach," "Coraline," and, yes, 1993's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (it wasn't Tim Burton, despite what the marketing would've had you think at the time and in the years since!) is making his grand return to the medium with the upcoming horror-comedy, "Wendell & Wild." As if that weren't already enough to get fans excited, another novelty factor of the project comes from the fact that it'll also reunite Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, years after the creative duo made their lasting comedy mark with "Key & Peele."

Maybe that nostalgia factor had Selick in the mood to look back at times gone by when /Film and other outlets visited the Portland, Orgeon set of "Wendell & Wild" in April of 2022. Among the many new insights and reveals, the director touched on the difficulties of getting funding for stop-motion animation projects and how it remains challenging to make a living in the field, even when a movie makes it to the finish line. Few would know that better than he does, having seen "The Nightmare Before Christmas" go on to become a rare Halloween and Christmas classic over the years ... all without seeing any of those significant merchandising profits himself from such overwhelming success.

It's a tragically familiar story for those who've been in the business for as long as Selick has, unfortunately. Here's what he had to say.

'There's still new little kids wearing 'Nightmare Before Christmas' stuff'

When someone like Henry Selick talks, you listen. It's as simple as that. During a set visit for "Wendell & Wild," the director spoke matter-of-factly and with no malice about receiving the short end of the stick when it came to reaping the rewards of the success of "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Even at the best of times, working in filmmaking can be a thankless job, to say nothing of doing so in the horror field and especially in stop-motion animation. Credited as a writer and producer on the 1993 animated film, Tim Burton's name was plastered all over the marketing for "The Nightmare Before Christmas," likely with specific contract language allowing for him to receive much of the profits for a film that has gone on to enjoy immense merchandising appeal.

In talking about the unique challenges involved in stop-motion films, Selick commented on how indelible the best efforts can become over time in pop culture while using perhaps his most famous film as an example:

"I do stop-motion. Hopefully people like it. And the good ones, the films last. They don't get old because they're already old. It's already an ancient technology. And it's like old magic, but I think it's strong magic. So I think the best ones have really long shelf lives. I mean, there's still new little kids wearing 'Nightmare Before Christmas' stuff. They made over a billion dollars in merchandising off that 12 years ago. No, I don't get any of that. But Tim Burton sure does."

Such refreshingly straightforward words could only come from the mouth of someone who's been through it all before, but still remains driven to succeed. "Wendell and Wild" hits Netflix on October 28, 2022.