The One Movie You Thought Disney Would Never Do: 'The Sixth Sense'
Seriously? Disney did that movie??
And you thought that it was an M. Night Shyamalan affair, right? Wrong. Believe it or not, but the minds behind the ominous tale about a man trying to solve the mental breakdown of a kid who sees "dead people" everywhere he goes was actually technically funded by the very studio that brought you Bambi (which, let's be fair, is an animated movie with some dark themes as well).
Let's break down this mind-blowing fact for you.
For starters, you couldn't have guessed at all by the initial credits of the film. Aside from being written and directed by Shyamalan himself, production companies involved included Hollywood Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Barry Mendel Productions, and—here's the clincher—THE KENNEDY/MARSHALL COMPANY.
Now that might not mean much to you as you don't obviously see anything even remotely listing the word "Disney" anywhere in there. But look closer....
The name Kennedy. As in Kathleen Kennedy. Many Disney experts and gurus of the entertainment biz would know that name quite well as she is the current president of Lucasfilm. If you've been up on your news and such, that would also mean she's technically the property of—yes, you guessed it—Disney. Remember that the "House of Mouse" did purchase the rights to Lucasfilm, making it possible for them to control the direction of the Star Wars Universe.
Back in the day, she had also co-founded the studio Amblin Entertainment. But that's not all—The Kennedy/Marshall Company refers to not only Kathleen herself but also her husband Frank Marshall.
It means that both of them were a couple of the brainchilds responsible for producing the dark film about a ghost guy and a bunch of other zombified-spirits haunting a kid out of his mind.
However—believe it or not—that's not all.
You might think that it really doesn't count in the grand scheme of things—as back then Kathleen Kennedy wasn't even associated with Disney at the time, at least until she became President of Lucasfilm. Think again, folks.
The way film-making works is that not only are there production companies involved, but distributors as well. That, therefore, shows involvement and certain legal rights behind the curtain that make it inevitably a property of said party.
Now, numerous distributors were at-hand to show this film worldwide— Buena Vista Pictures had that right back in 1999 for the US, among others—for other countries all over the world. Back in 2002 when the film hit the small screen, ABC got the rights to it. Bingo...
ABC is actually linked with Disney. There's your first reveal. But it gets better.
Aside from Buena Vista Home Entertainment getting DVD rights in 2000–2002, among other distributors all over the world, it turns out that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainmentalso nabbed rights to it in 2008 for Blu-Ray.
Bam. There you go.
That essentially makes 'The Sixth Sense'... a Disney film.
That's no stretch. After all, Disney rules the world right now with a truly vicious hand. They have so much clout that they could probably own a country if they really wanted to. They own Star Wars. They own Marvel Studios. They now own 21st Century Fox.
You'd freak seeing the likes of X-Forcehelmed by Fox knowing that above all of it is Mickey. Thankfully, we think Deadpool would approve of a bunch of cartoon characters consorting with the Merc with a Mouth without a problem. This is theoretically where Disney could be going, which is a phenomenal thought, especially given where the studio began.
Heck, even at the time before they purchased the rights to Marvel Studios, the original Iron Man film would've never been mistaken for a Disney movie. Watch it again. You'll see. The tone is perhaps slightly different from what we know from the sequels, the Avengers flicks, and Spider-Man.
Who knows what other films the House of Mouse could legally show on their own channels or networks, right?