Movie collectibles

Movie collectibles

The Nightmare Before Christmas, was  one of the most discussed toy ranges since the movie came out. 

The interest and intrigue those first plastic adaptations generated has recently seen a renaissance as a totally new range of toys and collectables has been produced by two companies in Japan. he film itself was the idea of S Tim Burton, acclaimed Director of such dark classics as Edward Scissorhands, Batman and Batman Returns.Based upon a poem he had written, inspired by Clement Clarke Moore's The Night Before Christmas, Nightmare tells the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town.

In the film Jack opens a door that leads to Christmas Town, and he is so enthralled by what he discovers that he returns to Pumpkin Town eager to bring Christmas under his control.What follows is an enthralling, macabre, hilarious and sad tale of Jack's mis­guided attempts to re-create the Christmas feelings he had discovered.

This modern fairy tale is presented in Stop Motion animation which adds a realism and enchantment that appealed to children and critic's of all ages!

The supporting cast contains Sally, who's love for Jack is perpetually denied because of her mad creator's demands upon her. Zero, Jack's own faithful ghost dog, who suLock, Shock and Barrel, three I naughty ghouls " employed by Jack to 'aid' the true Father Christmas to Halloween Town.

And of course, Mr Oogie Boogie, A bug filled hesian cloth (!!) eager to capture Father Christmas for his own enjoyment. At the time of the films cinematic release two toypports a red nose at the climax of the film to become Halloween's very own Rudolph! companies held licenses to the film.

The first was Kenner who had the major toy license and created action figures and dolls of some of the characters.

The nightmare before christmas  movie

The second company Applause, well known for their gift products, created a series of PVC's, wind up figures and cloth dolls.

Collectors of the toys from this classic movie, even had trouble tracking down merchandise from the film when they were initially released.Even more difficult was getting the product here in the UK where no official distribution was sought .In fact, Nightmare products quickly became some of the scarcest around due to 'low retailer interest'.

The nightmare before christmas  movie
As it implies the products from both companies didn't receive the orders from the major distribution companies and retail chains they would have expected and this led to very small amounts being produced.

This low anticipation of sales effectively led to each product being produced as a limited edition.This was compounded by the films success at the box office. Released in 1993 on Halloween in the US, the film grossed $51 million.

Another impact on the licensees products was the film being perceived as too scary for kids.Unlike today when a series features built in merchandising potential, like the animated series Southpark, which is definately aimed at adults, five years ago toy producers wouldn't risk a production run that didn't involve either the girls or boys toy market.

The nightmare before christmas  movie

Quite simply demand for Nightmare products exceeded production, even today with particular figures or toys from a series this does happen, but with Nightmare it included the whole range not specific items.

Kenners range of figures included nine 6" figures and a three piece set of Lock, Shock and Barrel.Behemoth, Evil Scientist, Jack as Santa, Jack Skellington, Mayor, Oogie Boogie, Sally, Santa and Werewolf made up this series and Oogie Boogie witf his glow in the dark feature quickly became the mos difficult to find.Here in the UK Toy Fairs at the time had figures from this series for £10 each with the three piece set and Oogie approaching the £20 mark.

Kenners second series of large scale dolls, were the most difficult to unearth. Four figures were included in this series and the Sally doll has since established herself as the most collectable.At the time of the films release Sally and her associates were fetching secondary prices of £50 upwards.At the present time Sally has increased in value roughly £50 each year, her current market price being £300- £400.

The nightmare before christmas  movie

Applause's product was equally difficult to track down, and their range of gift items were guaranteed to sell because of the high demand created.

The premier range from Applause included some highly detailed dolls of Lock, Shock and Barrel, Oogie Boogie and Santa.A range of articulated PVC characters was also available and included Scientist in wheel chair, Lock, Shock and Barrel in Bathtub and Zero who shook his head side to side when rolled along a surface! The largest item from this range was a 7" Bendy Jack.There were also a range of smaller 2" PVC's and a Jack Straw!!
Like the action figures, prices for these items quickly rose with individual pieces now worth anything from £5-£30.


While Nightmare collectors had only finance to prevent them

 collecting the whole range of products 

available, the demand for merchandise from the film never abated.

 Companies came along that produced

Cookie Jars and Party plates and Place Mats that were all quickly

 devoured by a buying public eager to

 acquire anything from this Oscar nominated, animation classic.

Within the last two years this continual demand has I finally been

 catered for by the Japanese company 

JUN Planning.Obviously aware that there was a need for new,

 quality Nightmare product, JUN released 

in 1997 totally new Jack and Sally Dolls in beautiful collectors

 coffin boxes.Each had limited articulation

 for such quirky figures and created a real stir among collectors in

 Japan, America and here in the UK.

The nightmare before christmas  movie

Virtually as soon as news broke on these new figures they had sold out.ln keeping with the first series of figures, this new range was only licensed for release in Japan and had a production run of only 10,000 pieces.

As collectors and retail stores worldwide clamoured for the new figures, news arose that they were the first in a whole new series that was to be released over the coming months Jack was later re-released in a green coffin along with a new piece that had an alternative head option, and a Jack in Pyjama's which came in a purple coffin.

Perhaps the rarest of these initial releases was the Santa Jack that was released on Christmas Eve 1997 in Japan and was limited to just 2,000 pieces. I did actually see one piece here in the UK the following January with a price tag of £600

At present, along with the previously mentioned, JUN have released The Mayor, Zero with Tombstone and The Mad Scientist.All figures come in attractive window boxes and retail from £80-£l 10.

Along with the dolls JUN have also produced a series of PVC's.Three sets were initially released and contained Jack and Sally, Mayor, Oogie and Zero and Lock,Shock and | Barrel.

The nightmare before christmas  movie

Another company has also realised the potential that Nightmare product's offer and have recently begun to initiate a positive assault on our wallets with a deluge of totally new product. Sega is the name of this new licensee and they are producing, many gift orientated products.

From picture frames to keychains all of this new product is sure to please both hardened collectors to new fans of this unique film.

Apart from the video of the movie, it's Grammy nominated soundtrack by Burton's regular conspirator Danny Elfman is still available along with some other less well known pieces of Nightmare , goodies.Back in 1994 a company in Japan released a limited edition picture frame that contained sixteen Jack head's contorted into many of his ghoulish expressions from the film.

The reverse of the frame was signed by Burton himself. It is unfortunate that many of these new products are strictly produced for the Japanese market which ultimately means that prices and availability are high and scarce respectively.

However the quality and attention to detail the products contain, have made them worth the waitlPerhaps now more than ever, collectors have a much wider and varied choice of Nightmare products to find.With it's continually appealing seasonal themes,

The Nightmare Before Christmas  movie will continue to hold a very special place in both collecting and cinematic history.

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