How ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ went from cult classic to beloved Disney property

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is, today, a proud Disney property. You can find its spindly hero Jack Skellington across Disneyland during Halloween and Christmastime, and his skeletal smile adorns everything from pillowcases to backpacks to Build-a-Bear stuffed creatures. It’s one of the company’s most unique artistic achievements and a proven moneymaker, even 30 years on.

They feared its cast of murderous child sidekicks, warty witches and a “clown with a tearaway face” would prove too scary for young audiences. “They never felt (“Nightmare”) was a Disney film,” Selick told IGN. “Their biggest fear, and why it was kind of a stepchild project, was they were afraid of their core audience hating the film and not coming.” “Nightmare” got a wide release on October 29, 1993, without Disney’s name attached.

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