Don’t expect director Tim Burton to make another “Dumbo” movie for Disney.
The director, known for Disney Studios flicks like “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Ed Wood” and “Alice and Wonderland,” revealed on Saturday at the Lumière Festival in Lyon, France, that his filmmaking relationship with the Mouse House is likely over.
“My history is that I started out there. “ was hired and fired like several times throughout my career there,” Burton said of Disney, where he kicked off his career as an animator before Warner Bros. hired him to make his live-action directorial debut with “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.”
According to Deadline, Burton explained that when he made his the live-action flick “Dumbo” in 2019, he realized that Disney had gotten too big for him and that the kinds of kooky, eerie movies he likes making no longer made sense at the entertainment giant.
“The thing about ‘Dumbo,’ is that’s why I think my days with Disney are done, I realized that I was Dumbo, that I was working in this horrible big circus and I needed to escape. That movie is quite autobiographical at a certain level,” Burton said.
Disney did not comment.
By contrast, the “Beetlejuice” director said that his 1989 film “Batman” for Warner Bros., which starred Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as The Joker, has influenced the superhero genre even to this day — to his surprise.
“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,” he said.
The director continued: “The thing that is funny about it 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.”
Recently, Burton vowed never to direct another “Batman” flick after “Batman Returns,” the 1992 sequel, starring Keaton, Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. The sequel wasn’t as big a hit as Burton’s first effort. He was replaced by Joel Schumacher, who directed the next two films, “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin,” with the intent of making the franchise more family-friendly.
The Oscar nominee recently told Empire Magazine that he was being told his films were “too dark” three decades ago. Now, looking at the current –even darker– “Batman” franchise directed by Matt Reeves, Burton said he “laughs a little bit.”
“[Back then] they went the other way. That’s the funny thing about it,” Burton said, before turning to Schumacher’s “Batman,” which wore a Batman suit with nipples.
“But then I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Okay. Hold on a second here. You complain about me, I’m too weird, I’m too dark, and then you put nipples on the costume? Go f- -k yourself,” Burton said.