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May 5, 2024

42 Amazing Behind the Scenes Photographs From the Making of “Beetlejuice” (1988)

Beetlejuice is a 1988 fantasy horror comedy film directed by Tim Burton from a screenplay by Michael McDowell and Warren Skaaren based on a story by McDowell and Larry Wilson. The film stars Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder, and Michael Keaton as the title character.

Beetlejuice’s budget was $15 million, with just $1 million given over to visual effects work. Considering the scale and scope of the effects, which included stop motion, replacement animation, prosthetic makeup, puppetry and blue screen, it was always Burton’s intention to make the style similar to that of the B movies he grew up with as a child. He said that he wanted to make the effects look cheap and purposely fake-looking.

Tim Burton wanted to hire Anton Furst as production designer after being impressed with his work on The Company of Wolves (1984) and Full Metal Jacket (1987), but Furst was committed to High Spirits, a choice he later regretted. He hired Bo Welch, his future collaborator on Edward Scissorhands and Batman Returns. The test screenings were met with positive feedback and prompted Burton to film an epilogue featuring Betelgeuse foolishly angering a witch doctor.

Warner Bros. disliked the title Beetlejuice and wanted to call the film House Ghosts. As a joke, Burton suggested the name Scared Sheetless and was horrified when the studio actually considered using it. While the setting is the fictional village of Winter River, Connecticut, all outdoor scenes were filmed in East Corinth, a village in the town of Corinth, Vermont. Interiors were filmed at The Culver Studios in Culver City, California. Principal photography took place from March 11 to June 11, 1987.

Beetlejuice opened theatrically in the United States on March 30, 1988, earning $8,030,897 its opening weekend. The film eventually grossed $74,664,632 in North America. Beetlejuice was a financial success, recouping its $15 million budget, and the 10th-highest grossing film of 1988. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and three Saturn Awards: Best Horror Film, Best Makeup, and Best Supporting Actress for Sylvia Sidney.

These behind the scenes photos give a rare peek into the creative process that brought this cult classic to life. From Michael Keaton’s transformation into the mischievous ghost to the elaborate set designs. Delve deeper, and you’ll find snapshots capturing candid moments of the cast and crew, revealing the lighter side of a film known for its dark humor. The images not only showcase the meticulous attention to detail in costumes and makeup but also the camaraderie and fun that permeated the set. It’s a fascinating look at the making of a film that defied genre conventions, blending the macabre with the absurd in a way only Burton could envision.


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