M. Night Shyamalan's Trouble in Hollywood - Will The Happening Hit Big?
With the release of M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening only weeks away, discussion has begun again on Shyamalan, his films, and his reputation. One of our most popular posts ever was one about What Happened To The Great M. Night Shyamalan?. The New York Times recently published a piece addressing this issue again, but this time they actually involved Shyamalan himself. The discussion seems to focus on Shyamalan's separation from Hollywood and continued attempt to still make films the way he wants without studio influence. Unfortunately I'm predicting The Happening is going to flop next weekend against The Incredible Hulk, but at least it's still refreshing to hear Shyamalan talk about his persistence.
"I have two options: conform to the paths that have been laid out prior to me or deal with it… So which one do you suggest I do? I wouldn't be where I am now if I hadn't denied those conventions to begin with." I actually admire his unyielding attitude towards the Hollywood system. And I do agree with Shyamalan in that Unbreakable was definitely mishandled and poorly marketed, however I don't feel like that was necessarily the start of his downfall. He's still making films that stay true to his spirit and definitely show his filmmaking prowess, but not everything is bound to hit with audiences like The Sixth Sense did. In fact, Shyamalan even made two other forgotten films before he made Sixth Sense, named Praying with Anger and Wide Awake, which goes to show that not everyone always makes one great movie after another.
"The Happening does draw back in its intentions to what Night first did in The Sixth Sense. It speaks more directly and clearly to that genre than some of his previous films," asserts New Regency chairman Hutch Parker, who worked on The Happening with M. Night. This is Shyamalan's first R rated feature to date, but it still dwells on terrifying and horrific occurrences. And the big question is whether this change will be too big of a shock for audiences or whether they'll appreciate what Shyamalan has done. As I said originally, my concern is that if The Happening does flop, Hollywood will look at it as a prime example of what happens when you let a director do what they want and fight what they believe is right. Which is unfortunate because although it might end up being a great film, too many bad apples have already ruined its potential, including early script leaks.
Paramount's president John Lesher adds, "He's collaborative, open to suggestions and wants to make a hit movie. He's open in the right way. You want a filmmaker who has passion and want him to defend why he believes something is correct." In a world where we see news like Warner Brothers reshooting Where the Wild Things Are on their own all too often, it is actually good to hear that a director is defending his own values. And maybe this actually means The Happening could turn out great. I've got high hopes and I've got a warm fuzzy feeling that maybe Shyamalan's latest will actually be something incredible, along the lines of Unbreakable or Signs. Only time will tell, but it sounds like even M. Night is sure Hollywood has screwed this one up again.
What I'm actually most worried about is that M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening will debut as a flop and he won't be given another opportunity to pull himself out of this ditch. I think he does have some more great films in him, he's just in a downward spiral and The Happening isn't going to help. Maybe when he's finally put back on a small budget with limitations and constraints he'll really begin to shine again. I just hope that he can get to that pointed and isn't killed once and for all this summer. I really don't want to see Shyamalan fade away, which is why I'm both concerned and excited for The Happening. You can read the full article on M. Night Shyamalan over at NYTimes.com. Does The Happening still have the potential to hit it big or is it a guaranteed flop?