Although Hollywood is slowly warming up to M. Night Shyamalan’s unique approach to filmmaking again, the writer/director revealed he used his own money to finance his latest film, Glass.
According to Forbes, Shyamalan took out a $5 million loan on his 125-acre Pennsylvania estate to finance The Visit. The film received mixed to positive reviews and earned $98.5 million at the box office. He repeated this with Split, which opened to generally positive reviews and grossed $278.5 million on a budget of $9 million. When he had prepared the script and gained the necessary permissions for Glass, he decided to use his earnings from both movies, as well as further collateral from his property, for the film's $20 million budget.
After the success of his 1999 film The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan continued his progress with Unbreakable, Signs and The Village. Suddenly, his career was plagued by a series of poorly received films, which gave the impression that Shyamalan’s best work may have been behind him. Fortunately, he was able to redeem himself with 2015’s The Visit and 2016’s Split, the latter of which was revealed to be the second part in the Eastrail 177 Trilogy he began with Unbreakable and will now complete with Glass.
With the unpredictable nature of Hollywood and modern-day audiences, more and more films are financed on smaller budgets or even crowdfunded as creative individuals seek opportunities to work with limited studio input or interference. Considering the varying degrees of success throughout his career, one can understand why film studios would be hesitant to fund Shyamalan, despite his recent resurgence. By financing his films with his own money, Shyamalan reaps all the benefits if the film is successful but will also suffer the most if it fails.
With the film estimated to make $50-75 million on its opening weekend and early mixed to negative reviews from the critics, time will tell where Glass will fit within the trajectory of Shyamalan's career.
Directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan, Glass is slated for release on Jan. 18. The film stars James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Beast, Bruce Willis as David Dunn, Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass and Sarah Paulson as Ellie Staple.