Rumor has it that Disney is looking into doing something more with A Nightmare before Christmas, and while it could be another Disney live action adventure, the current rumor states a sequel is a better possibility. There's no official confirmation for this news, but it wouldn't be surprising given the film's legacy and continued popularity. That said, a movie sequel is a terrible idea and may be as bad, if not worse, than when Jack thought he could replace Santa.
To start, it's worth mentioning a sequel to A Nightmare Before Christmas goes against Tim Burton's vision. He believed its standalone nature kept it pure, and doing a sequel would make for, as he put it, a "mass-market kind of thing." Thus Disney ended up scrapping a 2001 idea that involved CGI, but did churn out follow-ups in the years following in the form of a book and a Playstation 2 game called The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge.
For the record, that game performed poorly with critics, even with Capcom receiving guidance from Tim Burton. To be fair ,it isn't hard to see why, especially when the game was released a full decade after the original film. If folks weren't excited on a small scale, will they flock en masse to see a new movie? They might, but it seems like a risky venture for a company presently invested on re-adapting films that were big successes.
And to revisit what Tim Burton said, there is some truth that some of the magic behind A Nightmare Before Christmas is its bizarre nature. It's a film far different from what Disney traditionally made at the time, and honestly, still different than what it's done since. Jack Skellington isn't the type of character Disney prominently displays plushes of in its stores except maybe during Halloween, whereas Spencer's Gifts and Hot Topic always seems to have some merch on display.
Disney's aversion to the franchise and its embrace by loyal fans have helped make it such a classic, and making that mainstream again could jeopardize that or ruin it for that niche audience still loyal. It's up there with kids who love Fortnite emulating dances popularized by Goths years ago. There's nothing wrong with it, but why couldn't the past be left in the past untarnished as opposed to making these grown individuals re-examine their love at an older age?
Also, let's not forget that the premise of A Nightmare Before Christmas sequel sounds really stupid at face value. What, is Jack going to decide he could take another go at Christmas and get things right this time around? Is he going to decide Valentine's Day needs his intervention instead? What if the sequel is simply titled "This Is Halloween" and it's Jack hoping to defend his beloved holiday from another holiday looking to step on his territory?
Ok, maybe that last idea wasn't terrible, but a sequel opens up a lot of questions that may have never been considered. For example, do these characters age? Are those Halloween kids that worked for Oogie all grown up? Is the Mayor still in his position, or was he voted out and there's another person in the position? Why did Jack call Santa "Sandy Claws" when he read books about him and knew the proper way to say it?
Obviously these are sillier questions, but examples of more valid ones that a screenwriter may have to address in a sequel to The Nightmare Before Christmas. Conversely, Disney could just leave the franchise be and leave that world the way it is and people would be absolutely fine with that. Why make a sequel and run the risk of tarnishing the legacy of the original feature or make it feel tainted?
This is especially the case with a classic as timeless as this. The Nightmare Before Christmas' stop-motion animation, bizarre story and the constant relevance of Halloween and Christmas have made it a timeless classic that's best enjoyed in the latter half of the year. Disney created one of the few holiday films that's suitable for two major holidays, and should be grateful it managed to capture lightning in a bottle the first time.
Alas, Disney has been going hard at attempting to capitalize on the nostalgia factor of its animated films of the '90s, which makes the rumor that The Nightmare Before Christmas is up for consideration all the more believable. As mentioned though, this film was no Aladdin nor was it The Lion King. Also, there's a big difference between recreating a movie for a new generation and providing a sequel nearly three decades after the original.
While the story of The Nightmare Before Christmas may hold up just as well today as it will then, that does not mean a follow-up more than 25 years later is cool to do. Children have been born and potentially had children of their own in this time gap, so best believe Disney would be doing some massive re-hashing or a soft reboot to re-introduce these characters to kids. After all, that's mainly who these films are made for, right?
So once those new characters are established and a new story is told, what happens after that? Do these new characters get another film, and suddenly the world is has a Nightmare Cinematic Universe? It's hard not to be skeptical there isn't some larger play here like forming a shared universe, because it's truly baffling to hear Disney may be considering The Nightmare Before Christmas ahead of other films it has yet to give sequels or live action adaptations to.
Wouldn't it be better to do a live action version of Hercules, or Atlantis: The Lost Empire? There's still many great and popular films that Disney can give the live action or sequel treatment to, but sorry, The Nightmare Before Christmas isn't one of them. Also, for what it's worth, a live action adaptation sounds like a bad idea as well, and one can't help but pity the actor who has to resort to Christian Bale dieting measure to get Jack's body right.
For now, the only way to enjoy The Nightmare Before Christmas franchise in cinemas is by watching the original digitally or wherever it's sold. For more on the stop-motion masterpiece that should stand on it s own, read up on the gag the director cut from the movie that he'd love to put back in.
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Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.