Tim Burton suspects his Disney days are behind him: ‘I needed to escape’

A man with gray hair and glasses holding an award and pressing a hand to his chest while standing in front of a microphone
Tim Burton accepts an award at the 2022 Lumière Festival in Lyon, France.
(Laurent Cipriani / Associated Press)

Tim Burton’s most recent Disney film, a 2019 remake of “Dumbo,” is probably his last.

The prolific director-producer revealed Saturday during a press conference at the Lumière Festival in Lyon, France, that he has become disillusioned with the House of Mouse and is unlikely to work with the studio on future projects, according to Deadline.

For the record:

3:03 p.m. Oct. 23, 2022A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Tim Burton directed “Corpse Bride” for Disney. “Corpse Bride” was distributed by Warner Bros.

After launching his career as an animation artist at Disney, Burton went on to direct and/or produce several movies for the entertainment company, including “Frankenweenie” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”


“My history is that I started out there,” Burton said, according to Deadline.

“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. 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.”

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The filmmaker added that while Disney still occasionally makes standalone, original features, most of its content revolves around Marvel, Pixar and “Star Wars” franchises. And he’s not interested in helming a Marvel movie.

“It’s gotten to be very homogenized, very consolidated. There’s less room for different types of things,” he said. “I can only deal with one universe, l can’t deal with a multi-universe.”

At this year’s Lumière Festival, Burton was awarded the prestigious Prix Lumière. His first directorial effort since “Dumbo” debuted to lackluster reviews is “Wednesday,” an “Addams Family” spinoff series. It stars rising scream queen Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams and premieres Nov. 23 on Netflix.


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