WTF Happened to Tim Burton?

Last Updated on April 27, 2024

Burbank, California’s own Tim Burton is one of the greatest directors of our era. A former animator for The Walt Disney Company, his early short films Hansel and Gretel, Vincent, and Frankenweenie, marked him as one of the most promising up-and-comers in the business. His first film, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, helped turn Paul Reubens’ Pee-Wee Herman into a household name. It would mark his first collaboration with composer Danny Elfman, who would remain one of his most frequent collaborators. His next film, Beetlejuice, was an even bigger hit, but when Burton was chosen to direct Batman and picked the star of Beetlejuice, Michael Keaton, to be his Caped Crusader, people were wary. However, the resulting film became one of the biggest hits of the eighties and changed the superhero film forever, with many still counting Keaton as the definitive Batman.

In the years that followed, Burton’s creativity was in full swing, with the former California Institute of the Arts student delivering the Johnny Depp classic Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns (which ranks as one of the most unusual blockbuster sequels ever), Ed Wood, and so many more. In recent years, Burton has swung between big-budget movies, such as his Dumbo and Dark Shadows remakes, and more personal fare, such as Big Eyes. Most recently, he had one of the biggest hits of his career by directing episodes and producing Netflix’s Addams Family series, Wednesday, which has become one of Netflix’s most-watched shows ever. Yet, all is quiet on the feature film front from Burton, who’s gone on record criticizing Disney and the over-reliance on franchises. As we all eagerly await his next project, we take a look at Burton’s career in this episode of WTF Happened to this Celebrity, which is written (with Mathew Plale), edited, produced and narrated by Taylor James Johnson.

What’s your favorite Tim Burton movie? Let us know in the comments below! The options include Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Beetlejuice (1988), Batman (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Batman Returns (1992), Ed Wood (1994), Mars Attacks! (1996), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Planet of the Apes (2001), Big Fish (2003), Corpse Bride (2005, co-directed by Mike Johnson), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Dark Shadows (2012), Frankenweenie (2012), Big Eyes (2014), Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016), and the live-action Dumbo (2019). Burton produced, but did not direct, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.