This past week, MouseInfo was invited to check out the El Capitan Theatre and take in all the sights and sounds of the THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS 4D limited-time engagement.
What’s 4D exactly? The movie is presented in 3D but then paired with unique sensory effects including wind, fog, snow, and more! In addition to the special effects, there are a few other extras that will certainly make your local cineplex pale in comparison.
This is an extremely limited engagement – so be sure to drop in before September 25! Here’s what you’ll encounter once you enter the historic movie palace…
Once you step inside the historic theatre, grab a bucket of popcorn, and join Jack, Sally, and the other residents of Halloweentown for a photo opportunity.
Sets, Skulls, and a bunch of Hocus Pocus!
As per usual, the El Capitan offers a themed exhibit in the lower lounge. Head downstairs (to the left of the concession stand) and you’ll find yourself face to face, to face, to face, to face, with Jack Skellington himself!
On display is a small sampling of The Many Faces of Jack Skellington plus a fun art project in which more than 500 artists were asked to create pieces from a single vinyl Jack head — you’ll see Jack imagined as Coco, a Porg, a hamburger and more. In addition, the film-used Mayor’s car is on display, along with the actual Halloweentown City Hall and Spiral Mountain used to create what you see on the screen!
If you’re still looking for more frightful delights, props from Hocus Pocus are also on display to put a spell on you.
Props and More
More to Explore
You’re jokin’, you’re jokin’! I can’t believe my eyes! This Oogie Boogie popcorn bucket – with light up eyes – can be purchased at the concessions stand. It’s the only other place outside of the Disney Parks that you can get this crafty little guy.
After the show, head next door to the Disney Studio Store for some THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and Disney Halloween merchandise.
2019 Opening Night Event
As the audience found their seats, everyone’s favorite organ player, Rob Richards, dressed in a Dracula cape, played spooky music while artist, George McClements drew our favorite Nightmare characters live.
To celebrate 26 years of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, producer Don Hahn and author Dave Bossert stopped by to introduce the movie and host a special pre-show with behind-the-scenes stories from their time working on the movie.
Here are some highlights:
Tim Burton’s Severed Head
The scene with the vampire characters playing hockey with a pumpkin was originally shot with Tim Burton’s severed head. The animators hedged their bets, and shot the alternate scene with the pumpkin. But this is the El Capitan Theatre, so Hahn and Bossert brought along the original scene for the audience to enjoy!
During the opening night panel, we got to see a deleted scene of the vampires playing ice hockey not with a pumpkin as we know from the film but a deleted version where they used Tim Burton's severed head! pic.twitter.com/bwrXDFfidH
— MouseInfo (@MouseInfo) September 15, 2019
“She said that stop motion seems to to be dominated by male animators because it involves power tools and climbing around and building stuff. But when she grew up, her father was a woodworker and made furniture. She was always in the shop working with him and she was very comfortable using power tools and drills. And she really got in to this and she did some fabulous animation on Nightmare”
Hahn continues: “And I’m happy to say, the ratio of men to women is changing a little bit in the right direction. By the time we made Frankenweenie we had quite a few women animators. And even now if you go to art schools like Cal Arts, we have a good mix of men and women coming up in the sport.”
Hahn continued, “If any of you out there are interested in animation, it’s not so much a male dominated sport. It’s the best news, really.”
Bossert explains Tim Burton’s hand in all THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS merchandise: “This film is over 25 years old. And they continue to come out with tons of new merchandise every year. And it’s approved by Tim. He looks at it all and approves it before it’s manufactured.”
Hahn adds, “George [McClements], who was out here earlier drawing, works almost full time on consumer products for THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.”
During some unexpected technical difficulties with a projector, Dave Bossert came back out to answer audience questions.
How did you make Jack’s arm move?
A series of pictures, changed slightly between shots, that were run together at movie speed. He explained that we can now do this today with an iPhone and some LEGOs.
Zero. How did you make him?
Zero was originally hand drawn 2-dimensional animation. They later decided to make him a puppet, and add him in to the movie later with a transparency.
Who is your favorite character?
When is your book coming out?
In a year or two, depending on the publisher
What is it about this movie that it has stood the test of time?
I’ll let Dave answer this one in his own words: “What really does it is the story.” Dave explains, “The story has a big heart to it. What the message in this movie is all about is ‘Be Yourself. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not’ and I think that’s a hugely important message and why the audience continues to grow year in and year out. This movie, which was called a ‘cult film’ when it came out, is really a bona fide holiday movie that people are now taking their children to see it after they saw it as children themselves. It’s a great story, a great message, and it has heart.
See it for Yourself
Tickets available at The El Capitan Theatre (6838 Hollywood Blvd.), online at elcapitantickets.com, or by calling 1-800-DISNEY6 (1-800-347-6396).
- Daily showtimes are 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., and 9:45 p.m. daily.
Showtimes and dates are subject to change.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS 4D is playing at the El Capitan Theatre now through September 25.