How Long Did It Take To Make Nightmare Before Christmas (And Why)?

Exact Answer: It Took Over 3 Years To Make

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stop-motion animated film released in 1993. It is quite a dark movie directed by Henry Selick.  

It tells the story of Jack Skellington, a skeleton who lives in Halloween Town and becomes bored with Halloween’s routines. Then, he accidentally stumbles upon Christmastown and decides to take over Christmas.

The film has been critically acclaimed and been nominated for two Academy Awards. It has also spawned a franchise, including video games, comic books, and theme park attractions.

How Long Did It Take To Make Nightmare Before Christmas

How Long Did It Take To Make Nightmare Before Christmas?

Nightmare Before Christmas took3 years to make
Nightmare Before Christmas duration1h 16m

It took about 3 years to make Nightmare Before Christmas. Director Henry Selick started working on the project in early 1991, and it was released in 1993. 

The movie was made using stop-motion animation, which is a time-consuming process that requires animators to physically move each character or object one frame at a time. In total, there are more than 110,000 frames in the movie.

It took 110,000 frames to make Nightmare Before Christmas. The stop-motion animation process is extremely time consuming and painstaking, but the result is worth it. With elaborate sets, costumes, and detailed puppets, stop-motion animation can bring characters to life in a uniquely charming way.

The film was well-received by both critics and audiences, with the animation (particularly the invention of stop-motion animation), characters, songs, and a score receiving particular praise. It has earned $91.5 million in theaters worldwide since its debut and has a cult following.

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The plot starts with Halloween Town, a fantasy realm inhabited by various monsters and supernatural beings linked with the holiday. Jack Skellington, regarded by the citizens as “The Pumpkin King,” leads them in organizing the annual Halloween celebrations. However, Jack has grown weary of the same old routine and yearns for something fresh this year.

Jack goes into the woods the next morning searching for adventure, and there he discovers six trees with doors that lead to other holiday-themed realms. Jack returns home to show his friends and neighbors his discoveries, but they are unaware of the concept of Christmas and compare everything to their Halloween preconceptions.

Why Would Making Nightmare Before Christmas Take So Long?

It’s not just Nightmare Before Christmas that takes a long time to make–most big-budget animated movies require years of effort. Here are some of the reasons why making an animated movie can be so time-consuming:

  1. Every frame must be drawn by hand. Unlike live-action films, which can use footage of people or objects filmed in real life, the animation is created entirely from scratch. This means that an artist must draw each frame, and there can be no mistakes since it would have to be redrawn if there were any errors. 
  1. Most animated movies are made with “rotoscoping,” which involves tracing over live-action footage to create more realistic visuals.
  1. To make a stop motion movie like Nightmare Before Christmas, each frame must be captured and edited by hand. This is a very time consuming process, so it can take years to make a movie like a Nightmare Before Christmas.
  1. In addition to capturing and editing each frame by hand, the animators must also create the sets, props, and characters for the movie. To create a believable and visually stunning world for the movie, one must do all of this work in meticulous detail.
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Hence, while making Nightmare Before Christmas may take a long time, every frame of the movie is carefully crafted by hand. This ensures that the result is a masterpiece that will dazzle audiences for years to come.

The Christmas/Halloween offering was a watershed moment in stop-motion feature filmmaking, drawing on 1970s Rankin/Bass Christmas TV specials as its inspiration.


It’s tough to say whether or not the Nightmare Before Christmas Take movie is good because it’s such a subjective topic. However, many think it’s safe to say that many people like it and find it fun.

One can personally enjoy the movie. Many thought the stop-motion animation was great and that the storyline was interesting and creative. That said, some people didn’t care for it as much. Overall, it comes down to personal preference.



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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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