The beloved spooky yet endearing film, “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” had an alternate ending that never saw the light of day, thanks to director Tim Burton’s vehement dislike for the proposed changes. During a special episode of Netflix’s “The Holiday Movies That Made Us,” revelations surfaced about a significant narrative suggestion by director Henry Selick (known for “Coraline”) that irked Burton considerably.
The film, based on a poem by Burton, follows Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, as he encounters an existential crisis and discovers Christmas Town, becoming fascinated with the idea of Santa Claus. The original ending featured Jack and his love interest, Sally, rescuing Santa from Oogie Boogie, a villain made entirely of bugs after being unraveled.
In the behind-the-scenes revelation, Selick proposed a radical switch where Oogie Boogie would instead be revealed as Dr. Finkelstein, Sally’s captor and an adept inventor. This unexpected twist was meant to provide a classic narrative turn. However, when Burton heard the idea, he reportedly erupted into a fit of rage, purportedly kicking a hole in Disney’s wall.
Moreover, Caroline Thompson, the screenplay writer, suggested adding more depth to Sally and Jack’s relationship for a more impactful ending. Burton’s response was equally adverse, leading to an incident where he attacked an editing machine.
Despite the destructive reactions, Burton’s staunch stance against the proposed changes prevailed. The film retained its original ending and storyline, avoiding the Scooby-Doo-like twist suggested by Selick. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” continues to enjoy universal acclaim, boasting an impressive 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its iconic status as a beloved kids’ movie stands strong, having weathered through the tumultuous development spats and remaining cherished by audiences for its original vision.