M. Night Shyamalan’s next film will be a happening at 20th Century Fox, the first film he’s made for the Murdoch-owned studio reports Variety.
Originally titled “The Green Effect”, the film is now called “The Happening” and Shyamalan will direct the project in Philadelphia this August. The $57 million paranoid thriller follows a family on the run from a natural crisis that presents a large-scale threat to humanity.
The process has been very public for the once mega-hit filmmaker of “The Sixth Sense” and “Signs”. Shyamalan’s fight and split with Disney became a very public affair last year with him coming off the worse for it.
Insult was added to injury when “Lady in the Water”, the project that caused the split and ended up at Warner Bros., received scathing reviews and performed poorly at the box-office last summer.
After keeping quiet for a few months, early this year Shyamalan popped up with his next script “Green Planet” to shop around the studios – none however would bite, forcing him to go back and rewrite it.
Re-write complete, the offer went around again and this time several studios were keen with Fox winning it in the end thanks to their marketing savvy and Tom Rothman’s championing of Shyamalan’s desire for an edgy R-rated version of the picture.
A June 2008 release is planned. Shyamalan will prep and shoot “The Happening” as he continues to write the script for “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Shyamalan will follow with that live action film for Paramount.