Although it didn’t take off at the box office, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie generated strong reviews, and for many fans it was a great return to form for the director.
The goth auteur indeed appeared to be slippin’ with the disaster of Dark Shadows, and Frankenweenie was a nice return with a much more personal story. You also have to love the fact that it was done in stop-motion, an old school technology we’re glad to see is making a comeback.
We just ran a story here on TG about stop motion animation being up for the Oscar gold this year with ParaNorman, Pirates! Band of Misfits, and of course, Frankenweenie. As Burton told Vulture, “Everybody works really hard for something like this, especially the people who work in a dark room for a couple of years. The thing about stop-motion is that it’s such a slow, painful process – one frame at a time. The positive side is that it helps keep the medium alive.”
Burton added that, “It’s not high on to-do lists for studio execs to make stop-motion, let along black-and-white stop-motion. There’s still a bit of a stigma, so any sort of positive response is meaningful.”
As far as Frankenweenie not living up to box office expectations, Burton said, “No one wants to feel like they weren’t [successful], unless they’re doing some kind of weird art-house thing: ‘I hope nobody sees this film! And if they see the film, I’m selling out!’ You hope for success, but it’s a strange phenomenon. You have a movie that gets sh*tty, crappy reviews but makes a lot of money; you have a movie that gets good, decent reviews, but then no one goes to see it.” (Actually, my favorite Burton film, Ed Wood, is a perfect example of this too).
But Burton also said that even if a movie doesn’t make money, he meets fans who connect with the movie, “and that evens the score.” Frankenweenie did indeed connect with people in a big way, and if it wins Oscar gold this year, it could also really even the score even more.