Okay, don’t immediately blow past this post because your eye caught the name M. Night Shyamalan – this is actually encouraging news.
The last time I wrote something about M. Night (as they call him in the biz that once thought he was the next Spielberg, but then mercilessly crucified him), he had left his tomato-covered director’s chair and returned to writing. M. Night completed the script for Devil back in 2009 and relative newcomer John Dowdle brought it to the big screen with a modest $10M budget. It grossed nearly $340M worldwide, definitively proving that M. Night is a masterful storyteller, but an inconsistent front man.
Case in point: in a rush of optimism following Devil, the Hollywood moneymen turned around and gave M. Night $130M and Will Smith (plus child) to write, direct and executive produce After Earth, which was an apocalyptic film in more ways than one.
So it is either by choice or necessity that M. Night’s latest project is very small and hasn’t been getting a ton of press beyond what M. Night himself has been dolling out; oh, and it’s being called a micro-budgeted horror film.
“Micro budget” is the latest, sexy term for independent films, or films not financially supported or promoted by a large studio or big-budget investors. If you want some examples of micro-budget films that went platinum, IMDB has compiled a handy list (ironically a good percentage of them are horror movies), and in the number 1 slot is The Blair Witch Project.
M. Night revealed via Twitter that he’s deep into production on his top secret project, which he revealed yesterday is called Sundowning, or at least that is what it is called on the clapboard – our M. Night can be sneaky that way.
The encouraging bit is the M. Night is going back to his beginnings, before Hollywood started delivering production budgets with a forklift. The film that first got him noticed was made for a paltry $750K.
Filming for Sundowning is currently underway in Philadelphia and based on another M. Night tweet is running on a cast and crew of 10.
Any guesses? Sounds like a vampire movie to me. Teeth, contact lenses, and pale makeup don’t cost all that much…
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