M. Night Shyamalan reteaming with some old friends for a pair of new original thrillers: The Wrap reports that the filmmaker is set to direct two new films in the next four years, both of which will be distributed by Universal Pictures. While the studio previously released Shyamalan’s “The Visit,” “Split,” and “Glass,” the filmmaker independently financed all three of them and, according to The Wrap, he “will similarly finance his upcoming two films.”
The films will be released on February 26, 2021 and February 17, 2023, and details are very much under wraps. The one thing we do know: both are billed as original thrillers, in keeping with Shyamalan’s affection for creating his own unique material for the big screen (and that “original” designation likely hints that the films will not have anything to do with his recent features “Glass” and “Split,” which took place in the universe he first crafted for “Unbreakable” and says is now complete).
“M. Night Shyamalan continues to create exciting, highly original stories that keep global audiences on the edge of their seats,” Peter Cramer, President, Universal Pictures, said in an official statement. “There is no one like him: he is a master filmmaker working at the height of his powers, and we are honored that he has once again chosen Universal to be the home for his next two incredible projects.”
Shyamalan added, “There are wonderful studios out there, but Universal has made it a mandate to release original films. They are the best at finding an audience for new stories with unexpected tones. I believe original films are crucial to the longevity of the theatrical experience. I am so excited to be working with them again and bringing new stories to the movie screen for years to come.”
Despite a much-discussed downturn in his output — both in terms of critical reception and box office take — after the massive success of films like “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable,” the filmmaker has spent the past few years returning to form. His last three films have all been distributed by Universal, and have all proven to be good bets, earning big bucks on relatively small budgets. His most recent, “Split,” was made for $20 million and pulled in nearly $250 million in worldwide returns for the studio.
Shyamalan’s work will next be seen on the small screen, as he most recently executive produced and directed two episodes of the upcoming Apple TV+ series “Servant,” billed as a 10-episode psychological thriller. Filming was completed on that show, starring Toby Kebbell and Lauren Ambrose, in March but it has yet to set a release date for the soon-to-be-launched premium streaming service.