Movie producers sought the rights to James and the Giant Peach numerous times during the lifetime of Roald Dahl, but he constantly declined them. After his death, his widow, Liccy Dahl, approved a film offer in the mid-1990s, giving Disney the right to produce a film adaptation. The film was released in April of 1996, and it was produced by Denise Di Novi and Tim Burton, and directed by Henry Selick.
The film used stop motion as well as live action, creating a very interesting visual setting. Burton and Di Novi typically worked with stop motion exclusively, but the live action was incorporated to reduce the overall production costs. The film generally followed the plot of the book, but there are some altercations, such as how James meets the Old Man (called the Wizard in the film), how he enters the peach, the accidental arrival in New York City (in the movie, James decides to direct them towards New York), the fate of Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, and the obstacles that James and his friends must overcome, such as a rhinoceros in the movie but not in the book.
When asked about these changes, Di Novi insisted that Dahl would have enjoyed their adaption of his novel. The film was received well, and it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score, and it received Best Animated Feature Film at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.