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.