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The Tim Burton Movie Disney Only Aired Once

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 9/25/2022 Adrienne Tyler
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Tim Burton has become a big name in the fantasy and horror genres thanks to how he combines gothic elements with these two genres, and while he has made movies aimed at a younger audience, these haven’t always been considered suitable for children, which is why there’s one, not-so-known movie of his that Disney aired only once. Tim Burton’s career in the film industry began as an animator and concept artist and with different short films of his own, and his big screen debut arrived in 1985 with Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. However, his style truly shone through in his subsequent movies, beginning with Beetlejuice in 1988.

Tim Burton hasn’t limited himself to fantasy horror in his movies, as in 1989 he paid a visit to Gotham City with Batman and later in 1992 with Batman Returns, while he continued establishing himself in the fantasy world with Edward Scissorhands. Burton has since explored other genres in his movies – from sci-fi with Mars Attacks! and Planet of the Apes to musicals with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Sweeney Todd and even live-action versions of animated classics with Dumbo –, and one where he has found a lot of success is stop-motion animation, with movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas (produced by Burton but directed by Henry Selick) and Corpse Bride.

Related: The Martin Scorsese Movie Almost Made By Tim Burton

However, there’s one movie by Burton that for years was believed to be a myth, as it only aired on Disney once, and it’s a wild take on the classic tale of Hansel and Gretel.

What Happened To Tim Burton’s Hansel & Gretel Movie?

Before Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Tim Burton worked with Disney as an animator, graphic designer, concept artist, and more, and it was during his time at the Mouse House that he made his first stop-motion short film, Vincent. Burton’s next project was his unique take on the story of Hansel and Gretel, a Japanese-themed version of the tale as, at the time, Burton was really into Japanese culture. As such, Hansel and Gretel was heavily influenced by the style of Godzilla and used a lot of special effects, including some stop-motion animation here and there. However, the wildest thing about Burton’s Hansel and Gretel was that it had a kung fu fight between the title characters and the witch. Hansel and Gretel aired on Disney Channel on October 31, 1983, and it was never shown again nor was it heard of, which led many people to believe that it was an urban legend.

It wasn’t until 2009 when it was screened at the Museum of Modern Art as part of a Tim Burton special exhibition that its existence was confirmed, but the full movie and good quality images from it are very difficult to find. After Burton’s short film Frankenweenie in 1984, Disney fired him, arguing that he was spending the studio’s resources on a film that would be too dark and scary for children to see – but years later, they teamed up again for other projects, including the stop-motion, feature-length version of Frankenweenie. As for Hansel and Gretel, it’s highly unlikely it will ever air again or be released in some format, as Tim Burton is rumored to be embarrassed by this particular project, so the only way to watch his Japanese-style take on the classic tale is either at exhibitions about Burton’s work or online, though the quality and even the length of it may vary.


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