Disney Didn’t Believe In Superhero Movies Once; Advised Shyamalan Against Marketing Unbreakable As One

As strange as it sounds, there was once a time when Disney was afraid of embracing the superhero movie genre. So much so that they refused to market Unbreakable as a comic book movie despite its close connections to comic books. This also went against the wishes of M. Night Shyamalan, the movie’s director who revealed this juicy tidbit in an exclusive interview to the Rolling Stone.

On approaching Disney with the idea of promoting Unbreakable as a superhero origin story, the executives balked, dismissing the comic book movie going audience as one that merely attends “conventions”. Here’s what Disney execs apparently told Shayamalan when he pitched them his idea:

This is just a bunch of people that go to that convention and you’re going to alienate everyone in this room if you use those words.

Of course this was 18 years back at a time when modern-day comic book films hadn’t really taken off. Sure, we had Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman and Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman that had set a great example of how superhero movies could be treated seriously and realisitically, but it wasn’t until Bryan Singer’s X-Men that came out in 2000, a few months before Unbreakable, that the comic book genre would be fully modernized. Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man epitomized it with visual effects, CGI, big-scale battles, strong supporting characters and an origin story that would really kick off superhero filmmaking.

This is also well in the past now. Today, Disney owns Marvel which produces some of the biggest superhero movies in Hollywood, only aside from Warner Bros. through its acquired DC Comics banner. And superhero movies are all the rage today, with six out of the top ten grossing movies in the United States being superhero films. Disney is also collaborating with Shyamalan in distributing Glass i

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, Glass is the third chapter in his Unbreakable trilogy after 2000’s Unbreakable and 2016’s surprise sequel Split and combines their worlds by featuring characters from both movies. It stars Bruce Willis as David Dunn, Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price a.k.a. Mr. Glass from Unbreakable alongside James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke. They’re joined by new character Ellie Staple (played by Sarah Paulson), a psychiatrist who specializes in treating people with delusions of grandeur i.e. those who think they possess superhuman abilities.

Glass releases in theaters on January 18, 2019.