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Hot 100 First-Timers: The Citizens of Halloween Debut With ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ Classic ‘This Is Halloween’

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The Citizens of Halloween are, at last, first-time residents on the Billboard Hot 100 (chart dated Nov. 11), thanks to “This Is Halloween,” from Tim Burton’s classic 1993 stop-motion animated film, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The song, on Walt Disney Records, debuts at No. 41 with 12.4 million streams (up 152%), 511,000 radio impressions (up 815%) and 3,000 downloads (up 58%) Oct. 27-Nov. 2, according to Luminate.

The song’s parent album The Nightmare Before Christmas jumps from No. 54 to No. 25 on the Billboard 200 with 25,000 equivalent album units (up 61%). The collection reached No. 22 last year, a new high. On the Soundtracks chart, the set rebounds for a fourth total week at No. 1.

Although he doesn’t earn an official artist billing on the song, “This Is Halloween” was written, composed and produced by Danny Elfman, also the main composer for The Nightmare Before Christmas.

In 2018, for the film’s 25th anniversary, Elfman began performing a live concert experience of its music, complete with a live orchestra and Elfman embodying the character Jack Skellington; he still performs such shows today. Catherine O’Hara and Ken Page also reprised their roles as Sally and Oogie Boogie, respectively.

In an interview with Billboard that year, Elfman said that despite The Nightmare Before Christmas becoming the first animated movie to earn an Academy Award nomination for best visual effects, he was initially disappointed by the film’s reception. “It came and went pretty quickly and didn’t do very well,” he said. “Nobody understood what it was or how to market it. I put so much into this project, including so much of my own personality, that it really hurt. At the time, I was really depressed after it came out. I put so much into it and it was gone.”

The film’s lasting impact, however, has brightened his outlook. “Of all the things I’ve worked on that I would have wished to find a second life,” he mused, “and I’ve worked on a million movies that died early deaths, it would have been Nightmare.”

Elfman has appeared on the Hot 100 in one additional iteration: as a member of new wave group Oingo Boingo. The band charted two songs on the list in the 1980s: “Weird Science,” the theme from the 1985 fantasy sci-fi film, and John Hughes TV series of the same name, reached No. 45 in 1985, and “Just Another Day” peaked at No. 85 in 1986. He’s credited as the sole songwriter on both tracks, and as a co-producer, alongside Steve Bartek.

Outside of the debut of “This Is Halloween,” three other Halloween hits re-enter the Hot 100: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Bobby “Boris” Pick and the Crypt-Kickers’ “Monster Mash” and Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters.”

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