After Earth (2013) Will Smith, M. Night Shyamalan

What does M. Night Shyamalan have in common with the worst director since Ed Wood? One word: Profit.
After Earth is a box office bomb, but surprisingly he'll still make money.

After Earth shares the distinction of being M. Night Shyamalan's fourth straight dud and Will Smith's first flop since Wild, Wild West. I'll have to update my M. Night Shyamalan Chart of Descent.

Interestingly enough, Business Week did a chart that shows that while his movies are getting torn to shreds by critics, they still make money. The Happening, made on a $48 million budget, earned $163.4 million worldwide. The Last Airbender, earned $319.7 million worldwide on a budget of $150 million.

This means that Shyamalan is the big budget equivalent of Uwe Boll. Boll makes horrid movies but, thanks to tax loopholes, always makes a profit.

Uwe Boll is a German director, producer and screenwriter, who's been called the "Ed Wood of the 21st Century." He makes one critically panned movie after another, like Postal (2007), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2006) and House of the Dead (2003). Shyamalan is a director, producer and screenwriter who's made one critically panned movie after another, like The Village (2004), The Happening (2008), and now, After Earth (2013).

Will Smith, who came up with the story and was the executive producer of the film, said the project gave him valuable time to spend with his son. "Filmmaking and entertainment is our family business," Smith said at a news conference. "So, it really gave us an opportunity for the last year to spend ten or twelve hours a day together, every day. And for me it's just the best way, for me at least, to parent."

So, it's good to know something good came out of this film besides a paycheck.

How do you feel about M. Night Shyamalan's movies? Do you think it's fair to compare him to Ed Wood? Have you seen After Earth?

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad Will got something out of it.
Boll is the worst and he always gets name actors. Go figure.

Pat Dilloway said...

The worldwide market is what helps these crappy movies make money because I guess they're really starved for entertainment overseas and pretty much watch anything. Maybe we're just spoiled. I saw Boll's latest "Assault on Wall Street" got a 24/100 on Metacritic. That's probably a new high for him. lol

TS Hendrik said...

International has really been the name of the game for making blockbusters profitable. Anymore hollywood thinks globally rather than domestically. In the case of The Last Airbender, it was a big property overseas before the film. That said, when factoring how profitable a film actually is, you cant forget that for a big budget film it's not uncommon for the marketing costs to be upward of a 100 million itself. And that's not reported in the budget.

With After Earth I don't see international bailing this one out. It needed a stronger push domestically to eat up that hurtle as you figure it'll basically need to double its budget to be theatrically profitable.

Seriously though, M. Night needs to cool it for awhile, then come back and direct someone else's script without his own interference. He started out strong, with a few good films. I still think he can be good again, if he doesn't get in his own way.

jeremy [retro] said...

i would like my money back... then we all would win.

nutschell said...

M. Night started out so well. I don't know what happened to that guy.



Sci-Fi Gene said...

Roger Corman directed/produced 300-400 films and I think I'm right in saying he made a profit on all but 6. There are other examples too - it's about being able to make a movie relatively cheaply and quickly, and also having very good salesmanship/business savvy. The opening box office is just one part of the film industry and many filmmakers aim for other areas - international or art house cinema, DVD, TV broadcasting or online sales.

What's impressive about M. Night Shyamalan continuing to make a profit is that his movies are not bottom-of-the-barrel cheap, he works with big names and big effects. Incidentally I have heard rumours that After Earth is not a complete washout and I plan to see it at some point.

Why have all the trees around me started rustling?

Sci-Fi Gene said...

I just saw this and two things stood out: it's an M.Night Shyamalan film that's not all about the twist, and it's a Will Smith film that's not all about Will Smith. Yes, it is about his son, but even so seeing Mr. Smith in a minor supporting role is a real treat. It's no Sixth Sense but it's also no Happening although there are lots of trees. I'll expand a little in a review shortly.

Incidentally it's a Uwe Boll film in another sense: another film with a video game plot structure. Hero must get through a series of stages while another character guides him from a distance.


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