So, that Darabont draft… it’s out there. I like it more than the film that was released, but that’s just me.


There was a sense that with the book “The Man who Heard Voices” and with the failure of The Lady in the Water that M. Night Shyamalan had possibly learned his lesson. Too often audiences are happy to take the side of the bean-counters versus the crazy artists (to a certain extent, it’s understandable, it’s much easier to understand bean-counting than genius), and bemoan an artist who spends too much money and has too many crazy ideas and takes chances than – say – anything Adam Shankman has ever done or will ever do. Then again, one of the last times an artist took chances like that you got Titanic, which is as far removed from Heaven’s Gate as anything could be. Still, when M. Night failed with The Lady in Water, it was an honest, terrible failure. For a lesser artist, it would have been a lesson.

How will the world look at M. Night Shyamalan twenty, thirty, forty years from now? It’s quite possible that his downward cycle of The Village, The Lady in the Water and The Happening (The “The” trilogy) will be viewed as more interesting than The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs. Who’s to say? Somehow, I doubt that. Perhaps MNS was attempting a deconstruction of his own success with those films, and we shall see something greater later.

Shyamalan emerged in 1999, during the summer of Lucas, when The Sixth Sense proved to be a word of mouth sensation. Nearly ten years later, this is something that hasn’t really occurred since; Memento and My Big Fat Greek Wedding are the only contenders. Oscar nominations followed. The man was rewarded for his grand success. Sadly, Unbreakable allowed his to flex his muscles, and mixed results followed (I’m not a fan for its Bela-Tarr-does-DC-Comics approach). Signs was hugely successful (but more problematic as a narrative), while The Village skated over $100 Million while the audiences weren’t buying it as much as they were before.

As I talked about last week, using your name as a brand is hard but powerful, and M. Night has done nothing but taint that. Though The Happening should open over $15 Million, it’s one of those films Fox hopes was cheap. Smartly, Shyamalan has his next film lined up, though that may eventually fall through the cracks. But whatever he does, M. Night – especially if this film opens and dies – whill likely have to for the sake of his career publically flog himself before the gods of cinema, and create a sense of humility. Even if he does not doubt himself, the image of learning your lesson, ready to play old time hockey (like Eddie Shore) might be powerful if the press tour is convincing. Considering M’s been selling the ego for nearly a decade, that hubris and contempt will probably land him closer to the curb.


Louis Leterrier, director of Danny the Dog and Transporter 2, has shown that he can play with the studios, and so he got to mind Edward Norton as he tried to rewrite The Incredible Hulk. Oh, what, Edward’s happy with the cut, and all that is all that? Norton is dangerously close to tides turning against him as he seems close to sailing on the It’s All True vessel. He better find a director partner who he trusts so he doesn’t look like a born meddler. Seriously. But with not much else out there, it will be no surprise to see The Incredible Hulk open huge. Which is in itself surprising considering that the film wasn’t tracking so great a couple weeks back. But when you give away the store, you’ll open.

The Happening should get above $15. And it’s likely to get over $20. The question is how bad the word of mouth will be. Will it be like poison ivy? I would bet close to $20, but still a third or fourth place with the R rating, and the biggest draw is Mark Wahlberg, who commands an audience but not one that could compete with Hulk. Kung Fu Panda should be able to fend off the plant attack, and Zohan should take around a 40-50% plunge, putting it at either 3 or 4. Which means either Sex or Indy gets #5.

Here we go y’all, here we go y’all, so what’s, so what’s the scenario?:
1. The Incredible Hulk - $52 Million
2. Kung Fu Panda - $35.5 Million
3. You Don’t Mess with the Zohan - $21 Million
4. The Happening - $19 Million
5. Indiana Jones and the Fuck me this Film is Stupid - 11.5 Million

And Bo know this (what), and Bo know that (what), but Bo can’t rap, so Bo won’t be here come Sunday.