“Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else’s dreams?” – Orson Welles (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) in Ed Wood (1994)
“We don’t have permits. Run!” – Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) in the same film
Box office prosperity has never had a great deal of correlation to artistic quality when it comes to movies, but few directors have a filmmography where that relationship is as inversely proportional as Tim Burton’s. Which is a wordy way of saying that the more money a Burton film seems to make (i.e. Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland), the less likely I seem to be to enjoy it. That equation is summed up by the fact that my favorite Burton outing (1994’s Ed Wood) was by far his least attended. Ed Wood put so few butts in seats upon release that the same year’s Monkey Trouble, Lightning Jack and House Party 3 all more than doubled its box office take.
Below is a look back at Burton’s paradoxical career through a series of Behind the Scenes pics detailing the making of all 17 of the director’s feature films. I like to think that on each of them, Burton channeled Bela Lugosi (or at least Martin Landau’s incarnation of him) with the call to arms, “Let’s shoot this fucker.”