Ten years ago, after a string of hits that included The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, M. Night Shyamalan was so big that his name would appear at the top of his movie posters, much larger and bolder than the actors starring in his films. Unfortunately, right about the time that Mr. Shyamanahmanayalan started getting carte blanche to make whatever movies he wanted, the guy stopped making good movies. The downward trajectory started with The Village, took a major plummet with The Happening, and finally bottomed out with The Last Airbender.
The result of this string of terrible films? Today, nobody wants the guy's name associated with their picture. And that includes Sony. Their new post-apocalyptic father-son adventure film After Earth, which stars Will Smith and his teenage son Jaden Smith, was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. However, they've decided to keep his involvement on the d-low. Thus, instead of "M. Night Shyamalan" in big bold letters at the top of the posters, and instead of trailers that open with phrases like 'from the director of The Sixth Sense,' all the promotional materials for After Earth focus on Will and Jaden. The director's name is relegated to the fine print.
So why was M. Night Shakakhan even tabbed to direct this $100 million summer blockbuster in the first place? Because he's the guy producer Will Smith wanted. If not for the Fresh Prince, M. Night would probably be directing episodes of NCIS right now.
After Earth hits theaters on May 31.
H/T – [Variety]