Movie Editor's Blog

Movie Editor's Blog

Tim Burton: How Disney fired me

Tim Burton is currently plugging his new movie 'Frankenweenie' but some may not know that the wacky director actually got fired for making the same movie 28 years ago!

Back in 1984 Burton made a 30 minute live action short film about a boy who harnesses the power of science to resurrect his dead dog. Disney, the studio who paid for the film, immediately fired the director for wasting their money on a kid's film that was too scary.

[Related story: Tim Burton 'completely normal' says cast]
[Related video: Watch the 'Frankenweenie' trailer]

He spoke to us about the moment he got fired in the video below:

"It wasn't like Alan Sugar saying 'You're fired'. I didn't quite get it that strong", he said. "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."

The '70s and '80s were a tricky time for Disney. The company was financially vulnerable and their original animators were retiring, leaving a gaping void in the creative departments. The Mouse House plucked Tim Burton from college after seeing his short film 'Stalk Of The Celery Monster' and he immediately got a reputation for truly distinctive film-making.

The company was still pretty conservative, releasing very child-friendly films right up until the mid-80s having only made a couple of PG-rated movies. Clearly Burton's style was never going to suit the corporate big-wigs facing financial trouble.

Inevitably things didn't really work out. 2012's 'Frankenweenie' producer Don Hahn (who was working for the studio at the time) told us that Disney "didn't really know what to do with him". Hahn explained that Burton was fired for being too quirky and making some odd movies.

How things have changed.

Watch the full interview below:

'Frankenweenie' is in cinemas now.