Tim Burton’s Next Best Franchise Revival Would Fix 23-Year-OId Christmas Movie Failure



  • Tim Burton’s involvement in reviving franchises, such as The Addams Family and Beetlejuice, has led to record-breaking success and high expectations for the upcoming Beetlejuice 2.
  • Burton’s successful film The Nightmare Before Christmas was partially inspired by Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, making him a potentially excellent choice to revive the Grinch franchise with his unique style.
  • Despite almost directing the Jim Carrey-led How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2000, Burton was not chosen for the job. However, the passage of time and Burton’s recent success with older franchises suggests that he may still have a chance to bring his unique touch to a Grinch movie in the future.



If acclaimed filmmaker Tim Burton were to take a crack at it, he could potentially revive a 23-year-old Christmas movie failure and develop it into a booming franchise. Reviving franchises has been something of a sport for Burton recently, as his hand in the revival of The Addams Family franchise with the Netflix series Wednesday led to record-breaking, critical success. Moreover, the outstanding achievements of the Wednesday series have since placed particularly high expectations on Burton’s revival of the 1988 fantasy comedy Beetlejuice with the keenly awaited upcoming sequel Beetlejuice 2.

With Burton’s involvement with Beetlejuice 2 as an executive producer, an all-star cast of returning actors, and fan anticipation exceedingly high, the sequel is already sure to be a smash hit. Along with Wednesday, the Beetlejuice revival will solidify Burton’s comeback after nearly a decade of poor theatrical runs, and it raises the question of whether he can breathe magic into other franchises that have the potential to flourish under his hand. If Burton continues his streak of success and stays with the standard of his signature gothic style that he perfected in the Wednesday series, he could undoubtedly revive the How The Grinch Stole Christmas franchise with promising finesse.

Nightmare Before Christmas Proves Tim Burton Is The Best Chance To Successfully Revive The Grinch

Jack Skellington and The Grinch

The Grinch movie franchise isn’t a failure in terms of profitability, as its most popular installments, 2000’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas and 2018’s animated Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, were both box office hits. However, with low Rotten Tomatoes scores, both proved to be less than stellar with critics and far from form following the first adaptation, 1967’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas!, which towers the franchise with a 100% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. In order for the next Grinch adaptation to be both profitable and critically received, it needs the assistance of Tim Burton, who is riding a revival high and actually has a background with the franchise.

Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, which boasts a Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 95% and grossed $95.8 million (via Box Office Mojo), was partially inspired by Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! According to the Los Angeles Times, Burton revealed that the 1993 cult classic stop-motion animated feature he wrote and produced was modeled after themes and character found in Seuss’s story. He divulged:

I find the mix of Halloween and Christmas beautiful, and I just liked the idea where it’s like a reversed Grinch character. Where Jack’s not a bad character. I like the kind of character that’s passionate but doesn’t know what he’s doing. I think it’s a reaction against the kind of society you grow up with, where people don’t feel a lot or go out on a limb a lot and just kind of remain in the shadows and judge others. What’s nice about these characters is they just get swept up into something, even if they don’t know what they’re doing.

Potentially, Burton’s fascination with the Grinch franchise and his ability to adapt its overarching themes into The Nightmare Before Christmas could mean that he is the best candidate to successfully revive The Grinch into a booming franchise that’s both lucrative and inspired enough to impress critics.

Tim Burton Reportedly Almost Directed 2000’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas

The Grinch in 2000 How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Tim Burton directing for the Grinch franchise nearly happened before, as he reportedly almost took up the charge for the wild Jim Carrey-led How the Grinch Stole Christmas. As claimed by Cosmopolitan, Burton almost directed the movie, but because of conflict with his 1999 film Sleepy Hollow, the duty was handed over to Ron Howard instead. However, at the time, Burton was widely considered to be the better directorial fit for the whimsical Christmas movie.

It was hard to see how Howard, the director of such films as Apollo 13 and Parenthood, could nail the franchise’s whimsicality against the misanthropic nature of The Grinch. It was especially troubling to accept Howard as How the Grinch Stole Christmas‘s director when Burton had a history of perfecting fantastical yet gothic films, evident in movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands, and he could have imaginably done the same for the Grinch franchise. Howard was inevitably chosen despite the consensus, but now that time has passed, it’s entirely feasible that audiences could be graced with a Burton-directed Grinch movie sometime in the future.

Tim Burton’s 31-Year Addams Family Delay Proves A Grinch Movie Or Show Can Still Happen

Collage of Wednesday Addams and The Grinch

Time may be a saving grace for audiences who’d like to see Tim Burton take on a Grinch movie. It has been 23 years since the franchise’s last live-action installment, and the large gap of time could indicate that the world is ready for another volume featuring the furry green scrooge. Plus, Burton has proven with the Wednesday series that he is not one to shy away from franchises that are decades old or projects he originally passed up on.

Initially, Burton passed on directing the 1991 Addams Family movie, but he returned to the franchise three decades later when he decided to take on the Wednesday series. For fans, this could mean there’s definitely still time for Burton to return to the Grinch franchise, also previously abandoned, to develop a new movie or show regarding The Grinch. If he could revive the Grinch franchise in a way similar to how he uniquely developed Wednesday, Tim Burton could prove that he’s always been the perfect candidate to take on another Grinch installment.

Sources: Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Cosmopolitan