Tim Burton’s complicated working relationship with the Mouse is officially over.
The filmmaker started his film career as an animator at Disney before Warner Bros. hired him to make his live-action directorial debut on Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Burton has had problems with Disney in the past, most notably being fired and then re-hired by Disney for creating what they believed was too scary of a kid’s movie, Frankenweenie .
Though their collaborations on Alice In Wonderland and the stop-motion Frankenweenie indicated some troubles in their past, the straw that broke the camel’s back happened during the production of 2019’s live-action Dumbo.
'Dumbo' (2019) Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Deadline reports that Burton revealed at the Lumière Festival in Lyon that Dumbo likely marked the end of his long-running relationship with Disney. Burton believed that the entertainment landscape has shifted to the point where it no longer makes sense for him to collaborate with the entertainment behemoth .
“My history is that I started out there,” Burton said. “I was hired and fired, like, several times throughout my career there. The thing about Dumbo, is that’s why I think my days with Disney are done.”
Burton continued, saying, “I realized that I was Dumbo, that I was working in this horrible big circus and I need to escape. That movie is quite autobiographical at a certain level.”
Burton expanded on his statement during a masterclass at the festival on Friday by talking about the state of superhero movies. While he doesn’t share the same sentiment as filmmakers like Martin Scorsese or James Gunn , Burton’s feeling about the genre is surprising.
“It did feel very exciting to be at the beginning of all of it. It’s amazing how much it hasn’t really changed in a sense—the tortured superhero, weird costumes—but for me, at the time it was very exciting. It felt new,” Burton said about his landmark 1989 film Batman .
'Batman Returns' Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
“The thing that is funny now is, people go, ‘What do you think of the new Batman ?' and I start laughing and crying because I go back to a time capsule, where pretty much every day the studios were saying, ‘It’s too dark, it’s too dark.’ Now it looks like a lighthearted romp,” Burton said.
Burton has been able to avoid making a superhero movie with Disney, but I wouldn’t say it's because Burton doesn’t want to make one. Sure, he probably doesn’t care to make another superhero movie, but Burton’s filmmaking style is very unique and would stand out against the cookie-cutter style of Marvel films.
“It’s gotten to be very homogenized, very consolidated,” Burton said about the state of Disney-distributed films. “There’s less room for different types of things. I can only deal with one universe, I can’t deal with a multi-universe.”
Thankfully, Burton is staying true to his gothic roots with his upcoming Netflix series Wednesday, but Burton's working relationship with Disney is over.
What do you think about the end of this creative partnership? Let us know in the comments below!