M Night Shyamalan and His Low Budget Indie The Visit

M Night Shyamalan and His Low Budget Indie The Visit
Wait wait wait. Everybody pry yourselves off the ceiling. This time its going to be different! (I hope.) Apparently M. Night Shyamalan has realized the error of his ways. All his many many ways. And this time it is going to be different. Really.

But, before we get into what The Visit even is and where it’s come from let’s do a roll call of all of M. Night Shyamalan’s box office earnings in adjusted 2015 dollars to see what’s happened here.

Wide Awake – $282k – $7m budget
The Sixth Sense – $293m – $40m budget
Stuart Little – $140m – $130m budget
Unbreakable – $95m – $75m budget
Signs – $227m – $72m budget
The Village – $114m – $60m budget
Lady in the Water – $42m – $75m budget
The Happening – $64m – $48m budget
The Last Airbender – $131m – $150m budget
Devil – $33m – $10m budget
After Earth – $60m – $130m budget

M. Night’s box office is somewhere around 1.1 billion. Which is just amazing. And yet he is the ridicule of the movie making community. Why? Well, his budgets for this return have been upwards of 750 million dollars to achieve that 1.1 billion. More importantly, really expensive flops like The Last Airbender have just publicized his failures louder than his successes. And to be honest, we, as a community of movie goers all HOPE the M. Night we fell in love with by watching The Sixth Sense will come back again. With each new release we hope and hope.

But now we have something completely different from M. Night. He has gone his own way and paid for his own production out of his own deep pockets. He’s developed this movie covertly without anyone finding out about it. And then he reached out to low budget expert Blumhouse (who took the low budget Ouija to two consecutive weeks atop the leaderboards) to partner to bring this to theaters this coming September. This indie looking low budget thriller looks like Shyamalan has finally gone back to his small scale roots.

Shyamalan filmed the movie in his Pennsylvanian backyard. He probably borrowed a house. Tapped a few disillusioned stars. He financed it himself. And he probably shared the points with the cast and crew. Wait. I’ve heard this whole pitch somewhere else before. Hrm. Where. Where did I hear this spiel? Oh that’s right, it was from Mark Duplass, my new bromance, speaking at SXSW. That’s right. I remember now. This is possibly the greatest single bit of advice on movie making I’ve ever heard. Made me want to quit my job, and go make a movie. Seriously. I promise, you’ll feel the same way afterwards.

But back to M. Night. You know what? I say we give the guy a chance. We go in expecting a $300,000 lark, and see if we can be pleasantly surprised. At the very least I give him kudos for turning the Home Alone concept on its head. If nothing else I think he’s ditching the big budgets he’s been addicted since coming to Hollywood. And that in itself is an enormous move. Cheaper movies, better stories. Better profits. So, how about I meet you there at the movie theater to see this new flick? I’m guessing this could be a renaissance for M. He may just surprise us yet.