By Kyle | June 2, 2008
M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening” appears almost certain to be his second straight flop, after “The Lady in the Water,” whose script was so bad it was rejected by his longtime partner studio Disney. My dart-throwing colleague Sara Stewart, in a long piece in yesterday’s Post, points out that his other hits, “The Village” and “Signs,” were also stinkeramas, compares him to Lucy Van Pelt (“Just give the old ball a kick. I promise I won’t move it this time”) and psychoanalyzes the sources of his staggering arrogance: “He’s isolated himself,” says Movie City News analyst David Poland. “He lives in Pennsylvania.” Says Shyamalan: “I’ve made profit a mathematic certainty. I’m the safest bet you got.” Sham-a-lan! “Lady in the Water” lost tens of millions for Warner Bros, which was not eager to work with him again. Two studios burned, four left!
Thus the Mark Wahlberg film “The Happening” is happening at Fox. It’s rumored to be some sort of global-warming groaner. Fox seems prepared for the movie to underwhelm but Stewart finds an exec who reasons that Night’s films don’t cost more than $50 or $60 million, so the risk is slight (though “s–tty reviews” seem to be expected). Translation: people will see the movie before word gets out about how stupid the twist is. Says Lou Lumenick: maybe audiences aren’t going to continue to be that gullible. Fox still hasn’t announced when they are screening the film, opening next Friday, meaning a possible pre-birth burial of holding no critics’ screenings whatsoever, though the last time I reported that, on the Ewan McGregor-Hugh Jackman flop, “Deception,” they reversed course a day or two later. Meanwhile, M. Night is in full damage-control mode, giving the standard I’m-a-misunderstood-genius but I’ve learned humility Times interview that is guaranteed not to change anyone’s mind. (Unintended laugh line from the interview: it says Shyamalan “broke off his relationship with Disney,” which is a bit like saying Jennifer Aniston broke off her relationship with Brad Pitt.)