Birton will direct Disney’s live action version of Dumbo. The film will use a mix of CGI and live action and will add a family story that parallels Dumbo’s journey.
Burton and Carter separate after 13 years together. Reps for Burton and Carter:
Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter separated amicably earlier this year and have continued to be friends and co-parent their children. We would ask that you respect their privacy and that of their children during this time.
Starring Winona Ryder, Burton directs his second music video with the Killers, Here with Me.
Burton remakes his 1984 short film, Frankenweenie, as a feature-length stop motion film. Again working with Walt Disney Pictures, Burton says:
The film is based on a memory that I had when I was growing up and with my relationship with a dog that I had.
Based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, Burton co-directs Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. With an overly obvious plot, reviews were negative: The Wall Street Journal says:
Someone forgot to tell the filmmakers that the movie was supposed to be fun. Or at least smart.
Based on the gothic TV soap opera of the 1960’s, Burton casts Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter to star in a film adaptation of Dark Shadows. Depp plays a centuries old vampire who escapes his grave in 1972 and has to adapt to the new times and what has become of his family line.
Burton retells the Lewis Carroll story, Alice in Wonderland. Starring Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonhem Carter as the Red Queen, and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, the film is set 13 years after the original fairy tale. The film prompted mixed reviews, Variety praised it for its:
Moments of delight, humor and bedazzelment. But it also becomes more ordinary as it goes along, building to a generic battle climax similar to a number of others in CGI-heavy movies of the past few years.
After seeing Shane Acken’s 2005 short film, 9, Burton immediately contacts him to produce a full-length adaptation. Directed by Acker, produced by Burton and starring the voice of Elijah Wood, 9 is an animated tale of a rag doll trying to save his 8 other rag doll companions from post-apocalyptic killing machines.
For his unique interpretation of horror and fantasy, Burton is honored with the Scream Immortal Award at the Spike TV Scream Awards.
Johnny Depp wins for Best Villain as Todd in Burton’s Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the MTV Movie Awards.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street wins two Golden Globe Awards for Burton in the categories of Best Musical or Comedy Motion Picture and Best Director. Also at the ceremony, Johnny Depp wins Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy for his leading role as the Demon Barber.
Combining classic Burton horror and gore with Broadway showtunes, Burton releases Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baren Cohen, the film depicts a barber who kills his customers and puts their bodies into meat pies. Time magazine rates the film an A-minus.
Burton receives a Golden Lion for the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 64th Venice International Film Festival. The Festival director says:
The Golden Lion pays homage again to one of the most courageous, visionary and innovative American filmmakers who have been able to move and fascinate the widest and broadest audience, and to be always suspended between art and industry.
Burton’s collaboration with the Killers results in the band winning Best Video at the Shockwaves NME Awards.
Burton teams up with the American indie rock group, The Killers, on his first music video direction for Bones, the second single off their album Sam’s Town. In the video, characters temporarily turn into CG skeletons and ultimately become complete skeletons at the end of the video. Burton featured secnes from classic films like Creature from the Black Lagoon and Lolita.
In his first stop-motion, full length direction, Corpse Bride, Burton casts Johnny Depp as Victor and Helena Bonham Carter as Emily in the lead roles. Variety gave the film a positive review:
This macabre musical about a young bridegroom who mistakenly weds a girl from beyond the grave is an endearingly schizoid Frankenstein of a movie, by turns relentlessly high-spirited and darkly poignant.
Adapting another Roald Dahl novel, Burton releases Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Bucket. The film played a more true-to-the-book role than the 1971 adaptation Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder, but added a back story about Wonka’s paternal issues.
Burton directs Big Fish, based on the Daniel Wallace novel, Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions. The film is about a father telling his son his life story using exaggeration and color.
Sleepy Hollow wins the Academy Award for Best Art Direction at the 72nd Annual Academy Awards.
Burton and Johnny Depp team up again to create a supernatural twist on the classic novel, Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod Crane, a forensic detective, travels to Sleepy Hollow to investigate recent kidnappings and beheadings. The Time Out New York wrote
Like the best of Burton’s films, Sleepy Hollow takes place in a world richly imagined that, despite it’s abundant terrors, you can’t help wanting to step through the screen.
Combining 1950’s science fiction and 1970’s all-star disaster films, Burton releases Mars Attacks!, a spoof of Independence Day. With a star-studded cast featuring Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Pierce Brosnan, Micheal J. Fox, Sarah Jessica Parker, Martin Short and Jack Black, the film bombs. The Los Angeles Times says
Mars Attacks! is all 1990’s cynicism and disbelief, mocking the conventions that Independence Day takes seriously. This all sounds clever enough, but in truth, Mars Attacks! is not as much fun as it should be. Few of its numerous actors leave a lasting impression and Burton’s heart and soul is not in the humor.
Burton and Disney reunite for an animated musical version of the Roald Dahl classic, James & the Giant Peach, about a boy who becomes friends with humanistic bugs living in a large peach. The New York Times calls the film:
A technological marvel, arch and innovative with a daringly offbeat visual concept. A strenuously artful film with a macabre edge.
Burton co-produces the third Warner Brothers reprise of the Batman trilogy, Batman Forever. Starring Val Kilmer as Batman, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Faced Harvy Dent and Jim Carrey as the Riddler, the film grossed $336 million with a combination of darkness and comedy. When interviewed about making another Batman movie:
It’s easy in retrospect to think why something worked, but I try not to. On this, giving it a different energy, working with different people, you can’t do that. It’s a different animal in a way. There’s some good parts to it, and stuff.
Burton’s Ed Wood wins Best Make Up and receives Best Supporting Actor for Martin Landau’s portrayal of Bella Lugosi.
Starring Johnny Depp, Burton creates a film dedicated to a filmmaker sometimes called “the worst director of all time”, Ed Wood. The film depicts Wood and longtime friend, Bella Lugosi as a cross dressing director desperately trying to give his friend an acting comeback in B-science-fiction films like I Changed my Sex!
While at Disney in 1982 longing to solo projects, Burton creates a six minute horror film, Vincent, about a 7 year old by who pretends to be like actor Vincent Price and is obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe. This film is narrated by Price, who later said the film was:
The most gratifying thing that ever happened. It was immortality – better than a star on the Hollywood Boulevard.
The film was never released, but can be seen following the credits of his 1993 film, The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Getting back to his roots in animation, Burton writes and produces The Nightmare Before Christmas for Disney. Starring Chris Sarandon as Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, Skellington enters the portal to Christmas Town, where he discovers Santa Claus. Desiring to obtain the Christmas traditions in Halloween Town, the Pumpkin King kidnaps Santa Claus and abstractly attempts to bring Christmas and Halloween together. Rolling Stone calls the film:
A dazzling mix of film and fright [that] also explodes the notion that animation is kids stuff. …It’s 74 minutes of timeless movie magic.
Burton says the film is loosely based off of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Burton agrees to direct Batman Returns starring Micheal Keaton as Batman, Danny DeVito as the Penguin, and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Critics agreed that the multiple villains and over-sexuality of Catwoman’s fetish-inspired suit ruined the film.
Burton co-writes and directs Edward Scissorhands, starring Winona Ryder and friend Johnny Depp. Edward, who was created by an inventor played by Vincent Price, is left with scissors in the place of hands after his creator dies.
Burton’s first big-budget project is a collaboration with Warner Brothers Pictures on Batman. Warner Bros. wanted to cast a muscular actor to portray the Caped Crusader, but Burton fought to cast Micheal Keaton as Bruce Wayne, insisting that he need not ‘bulk up’ because Batman should be an average, yet wealthy, man. Burton won, but Warner Bros. stock took a hit from displeased fans.
When the film opens, it becomes one of the biggest box office hits of all time, grossing $440 million worldwide. On the topic of Batman, Burton said
I was never a giant comic book fan but I’ve always loved the image of Batman and the Joker. The reason I’ve never been a comic book fan – and I think it started when I was a child – is because I could never tell which box I was supposed to read. I don’t know if it was dyslexia or whatever.
Beetlejuice wins an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Outstanding Children’s Animated Program at the 61st Annual Academy Awards.
Burton’s second full-length direction is Beetlejuice, starring Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as a family being supernaturally tormented by comedic menace, Beetlejuice, played by Micheal Keaton.
Burton directs television episodes for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, a revival of the 1955 broadcast that aired updated remakes and original stores of Hitchcock’s works.
After seeing Vincent and Frankenweenie, Paul Reubens chooses Burton to direct a full-length film about his character, Pee-wee Herman. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is Burton’s debut full-length direction.
While working at Disney, Burton works as an animator, storyboard artist, and concept artist on The Black Cauldron.
Burton is fired from Disney after the film was completed; the studio believed the film was not suitable for the young target audiences:
It wasn’t like Alan Sugar saying ‘You’re fired’. I didn’t quite get it that strong. But yes, we parted ways at that point. We have a nice revolving door policy! It’s all based on projects and how companies change. It was a ‘thank you very much, but you go your way and we’ll go our way’ kind of thing.
As both a homage and a parody of the 1931 Mary Shelly adapted film Frankenstein, Burton creates a live-action short with Disney entitled Frankenweenie, in which a young Victor Frankenstein’s dog gets hit by a car and Victor goes to work to reanimate it.
Burton directs the Disney feature Hansel & Gretel, a Japanese-themed adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, which includes kung fu battles. The short was only aired once before being shelved by Disney. Reports later claim that Burton was so emmbarassed of his work, he never had a desire to release it publicly, and was only aired a single time on Disney Channel with very little viewership. The film is considered an urban legend of the industry.
Burton works as an animator, storyboard artist and concept artist on Disney’s The Fox and the Hound. Burton says the animation and story line bored him silly.
While a student studying character animation at the California Institute of the Arts in Santa Clarita, Burton makes Stalk of the Celery Monster, a short animation on 8mm film about a dentist making bloody experiments with his patients. The film catches the attention of Walt Disney Animation Studios who offers him an animator’s apprenticeship.
A 13-year-old Burton stars in and directs his very first short, animated film adaptation of the H.G. Wells story, The Island of Doctor Moreau.
Timothy Walter “Tim” Burton is born in Burbank, California to Jean Erickson, the owner of a cat-themed gift shop, and Bill Burton, a former minor league baseball player.