M. Night Shyamalan Signs First-Look Deal With Warner Bros, Including Daughter’s Directorial Debut Film
- The filmmaker’s middle daughter Ishana will write and direct “The Watchers,” slated for a June 7, 2024 release.
Warner Bros. Pictures Group has signed a multiyear first-look directing and producing agreement with two-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, including the directorial debut of his daughter Ishana, Deadline has reported. Under the new agreement, Shyamalan and his Philly-based production company Blinding Edge Pictures, run by president of production Ashwin Rajan, “will develop original projects for the filmmaker to produce and/or direct for WBPG production divisions Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema,” the report added.
Projects currently in the pipeline include Ishana’s “The Watchers,” which will commence production this year and is slated for a June 7, 2024 release; as well as “Trap,” Shyamalan’s “much-anticipated next project as a director” which is scheduled for an Aug. 2, 2024, theatrical release. “In addition, Blinding Edge will continue to ramp up its production with an eye to finding auteur-driven genre projects,” Deadline said.
The young filmmaker will write and direct “The Watchers,” based on A.M. Shine’s novel, centers on “Mina, a 28-year-old artist who gets stranded in an expansive, untouched forest in western Ireland,” according to the film’s longline. “When Mina finds shelter, she unknowingly becomes trapped alongside three strangers that are watched and stalked by mysterious creatures each night.”
Ishana, Shyaamalan’s middle daughter has helmed episodes of “Servant” the Apple TV+ series created by her father. In addition, she did second unit directing on “Old,” Shyamalan’s 2021 feature, and his new film “Knock at the Cabin.”
In a statement, Warner Bros. Pictures Group co-chairs and CEOs Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy described Shyamalan as “one of the most iconic and influential directors of his generation and an auteur in every sense of the word.” They called him “one of the few directors in contemporary cinema whose name alone promises a bold, singular vision, compelling original storytelling and a provocative, surprising and entirely unique experience at the theater.”
Shyamalan, whose career spans four decades, “has the rare distinction of having film open at No. 1 in each of those decades,” Deadline said. Most recently, he realized Universal’s apocalyptic mystery horror “Knock at the Cabin,” based on the book Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. The film, his seventh No. 1 opening at the box office, “currently counts $40 million worldwide off a $20M production cost,” Deadline said. Starring Dave Bautista, Rupert Grint and Nikki Amuka-Bird, the film sees a family of three held hostage by four assailants while on holiday in a remote cabin. The strangers demand that one of the family be sacrificed, in order to prevent a coming apocalypse.
The film, however, had mixed reviews. The Guardian said it “is short on both mystery and horror and the ambiguous finale is deeply ridiculous.” The New York Times wrote that despite its “skill and cunning,” “Knock at the Cabin” is “an overwrought quasi-theological melodrama that also manages to be a half-baked thought experiment. It’s a thrill ride in a toy trolley.” Variety, in its review, said that while “the ‘Sixth Sense’ director has resuscitated his career more times than most, this latest supernatural thriller feels like a tired remix of letdowns like “Signs’ and ‘The Happening.’”
Shyamalan started making movies while still a student at New York University. His first film was “Praying with Anger” (1992), followed by “Wide Awake” (1998). His third film, “The Sixth Sense,” released in 1999 “shot him out of a canon as a blockbuster filmmaker, grossing $700M WW off a $40M budget and notching six Oscar nominations including directing and original screenplay nods for Shyamalan.” Other big hits include “Signs,” “The Village,” and “The Visit.” His 2000 spin on the comic-book action thriller “Unbreakable” were followed up by “Split” and “Glass,” the combined trio of movies earning $773.5 million worldwide.
On the television side, Shyamalan serves as EP, and showrunner and has directed five episodes of Apple TV+’s popular thriller series “Servant,” which is currently in its fourth and final season.