His films may not always turn out to be what we consider “cinematic masterpieces” *cough* The Last Airbender *cough*, but there’s little doubt that M. Night Shyamalan is one of the most passionate and imaginative filmmakers out there. After a string of duds that turned him into a borderline joke, M. Night Shyamalan returned to form in 2016, with the highly engrossing psychological thriller, Split. But Split is no ordinary thriller, rather a film that also doubles as a supervillain origin story and a secret sequel to Shyamalan’s highly acclaimed Unbreakable that hit the big screens in 2000.
But a series of career missteps — Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, After Earth — that were not only critical failures (those four movies have a combined average Rotten Tomato score of 14.75%), but also mostly box office duds meant that it got really challenging for the man who once helmed The Sixth Sense to find financiers confident enough to fund his projects. But that didn’t stop M. Night Shyamalan from pursuing his passion.
Forbes reports that Shyamalan took out a US$ 5 million loan on his 125 acre Pennsylvania estate for The Visit, a film that received praise and made people wonder if classic Shyamalan was just lurking around the corner, ready to pounce. Following that, he put US$ 9 million together for Split, a film that not only garnered critical acclaim but also smashed the box office, grossing over US$ 278 million worldwide with the aforementioned US$ 9 million production budget. But it didn’t stop there. For the culmination of what is now being called the Eastrail 177 trilogy, Glass, Shyamalan used the earnings from his previous two movies and more collateral from his property and put together US$ 20 million. Isn’t that something?
While Glass is currently receiving mixed to poor reviews from critics, with the consensus being “great ideas, relatively poor execution,” we’ll have to wait until the end of the week to see if the film managed to take off with fans and casual audiences. Regardless of how the film performs at the box office, there’s no denying that Shyamalan deserves high praise for his sheer determination and giant balls.