Why Do They Keep Using M. Night Shyamalan To Advertise Movies If This Is How People React To His Name?

Behold an audience’s reaction to the mention of M. Night Shyamalan’s name in a trailer for the horror movie “Devil.” The director apparently gets a “story” credit in the film and is, of course, the film’s producer. UPDATE: NBC Universal blocked the video, so we’ll describe it for you. Someone is taping a trailer for a horror movie with a camcorder. The usual audience noises are audible. When the credits switch to “From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan” the audience spontaneously groans, as if in pain.

His recent movie, “The Last Airbender” has not been what you’d call a huge commercial and critical success.

In two weeks of release, the $150 million movie has dropped from second place to seventh. It lost more than half its audience in the first week. By comparison, Toy Story 3, which has been in theaters two weeks longer than Airbender, continues to beat it in total revenue and per-screen revenue.

And then there was “The Happening” (in which nothing happened), and before that, “Lady in the Water,” which was described by a film critic as “someone pouring petrol over their heads and setting fire to themselves.”

So the question is: Why, if this is the reaction audiences have to M. Night, do they continue to advertise him prominently?

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  1. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Option 5: Repetition educates against the will. Keep throwing the name around and people will associate with it.

    • Javin says:

      Yeah, but only in the same way that a dog that’s repeatedly beat will begin to duck it’s tail and run any time someone waves at it.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        No…it also works to convince people that Bose speakers are the win, that Monster Cables will make their stereo faster, and that Macs are easier to use than actual computers.

  2. mythago says:

    Seriously, it must be the same way that gamblers deep in the hole keep desperately betting on the hopes that THIS one is gonna be the lucky hand that turns it all around.

  3. Rolcol says:

    Hm… what if they advertise his name to warn the masses NOT to watch it?

  4. warf0x0r says:

    Cause typically he’s also the producer and they determine with the studio how the credits are shown and spoken. So if he’s got the clout/cash his name is on stuff.

    • Enriquez the Water Bottle says:

      So, then the larger question becomes: why is Hollywood still letting him produce films to begin with?

      • stormbird says:

        I think there is a surprisingly strong power in bad ideas. From Vietnam (hey, let’s refight a land war in Asian that the French Foreign Legion couldn’t even win!) to the Rick Berman era of Star Trek (hey, let’s take out the wonder and hope from Trek and replace it with ‘splosions!), bad ideas go on because of operational inertia. Yes, he made a few great movies (two) but the last five went from bad to really bad to craptacular.

        • XTC46 says:

          Lets be honest, not doing something becasue the French failed at it would be kind of silly… ;)

      • Starsmore says:

        I think the answer up there was option numero uno on the poll.

  5. XianZomby says:

    If his films, however critically bad they may be, gross more than they cost to make and distribute, then he is a “successful” producer/director. As long as he is successful by this measure, he will be permitted to make films on his own terms. Likely, one of those terms is that his name is highlighted.

    • ktetch says:

      films don’t make money any more, haven’t for years.
      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100708/02510310122.shtml explains how

      • full.tang.halo says:

        To be fair, films “make money” the studios just use accounting tricks to make sure they don’t turn a profit on paper. The interest paid on HP:TOTF was probably as the linked article stated paid to the parent company of WB. So in effect they paid back 57 million in interest to themselves, thus insuring the film would have to make 57 million more to start paying those %’s to people who were to get a cut of the profits.

  6. Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

    What a twist!

  7. Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

    Oh, and you do realize that MPAA will now have you arrested for linking to a You Tube posting of a person who took a cell phone video of a trailer of a movie.

    Just sayin….

  8. Broke says:

    Always advertise your weakness as a strong selling point.

    Good lord, this mans imagination in a can of worms.

  9. mandy_Reeves says:

    good gracious…he’s getting as bad as Uwe Boll.

  10. jim says:

    maybe some people are left that have only seen his first movie

    • redskull says:

      That’s what I was thinking– odds are most people haven’t seen his more recent fare, so the studio’s trying to sell to people who’ve only seen Sixth Sense.

  11. Benny Gesserit says:

    Attendance at Shyamalan’s movies, much like second marriages, are a triumph of hope over experience. (With thanks to Samuel Johnson.)

  12. QrazyQat says:

    That Haley kid was pretty good in “Second Hand Lions”.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      yeah, that’s probably my favorite movie out of that kid. I need to see it again. He was at just the right age for the role, with his voice breaking and stuff. It’s so rare to see that awkward stage in male child actors, they usually disappear for a year or two around that point. XD

  13. RandomHookup says:

    Because someone is hoping that lightning will strike twice.

  14. UltimateOutsider says:

    I would say, “Option 5: The Last Airbender was supposed to be his comeback where he ditched the gimmicks and proved that he could direct conventional blockbuster films, and his deal to lend his name to Devil was done amid that hype. But then Last Airbender sucked.”

  15. Cyniconvention says:

    It sort of looks like Shyamalan is becoming to movies what the new Sonic The Hedgehog entries are to video games.

    • Jerkface says:

      Nice. One point though – there was more than one good Sonic the Hedgehog game.

      • MaxPower says:

        He said NEW Sonic games like the ones that come out on the Wii. Those are not good. For some reason I bought two of them. ::sigh::

  16. FranktasticVoyage says:

    Umm… because Last Airbender is already over $115 M in the US with International revenue yet to come.

    It’s fun to be a sarcastic douche about stuff like Shyamalan, but his movie still make money.

    • UltimateOutsider says:

      Thank you, M Night’s Mom, but the movie has $35 million to make before it even recoups budget, to say nothing of the advertising costs. Hollywood doesn’t produce films with a goal of breaking even; this was a failure. Even if foreign distribution pushes it into the positive range, the film will STILL be considered a failure for a summer blockbuster.

      • Limewater says:

        Don’t forget about all of the distribution costs and the movie theaters’ cut. From what I’ve read, a movie needs to gross roughly twice its production costs to break even.

        • SixOfOne says:

          Which means they’ll just push it to DVD and Blu-ray with haste in order to try and recoup those costs. Which means seeing more crappy trailers for it on TV. >:P

    • kenj0418 says:

      What money it makes will be because of the Airbender franchise, not because of Shyamalan.

  17. BigHeadEd says:

    For the same equally inexplicable reason they keep trying to make movies “based on a book by Stephen King”

    • Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

      Ohhh Win! There are only a couple movies out there with King as the inspiration which are any good at all.

      Carrie and The Shining. All else are horrible movies with “C” list actors.

    • thedarkerside.to says:

      Yeah, but at least the movies / tv shows are more interesting than his books.

    • Dalsnsetters says:

      As a rabid King fan I must say…..

      If you notice, almost all (in fact, I think I can safely say all) of the recent movies based on his books say “Stephen King’s ____________.” This started after the man himself was sick and tired of seeing his books mutilated when the movies were made out of them (see: the original The Shining–yes an awesome flick but King hated it, see also Lawnmower Man….not even CLOSE to the short story). So he is now taking a very active role in scripts, production, etc. If the flick says “Stephen King’s __________” it’s a safe bet that he had some control over the making of the movie and it will be very close to the plotline of the book.

      His books are hard to make into movies because of the detail the man puts into his stories. I can read one of his books and feel like I am actually there, seeing the story unfold right in front of me. I know this isn’t the case for others who have read his books, but it is the case for me. I will intentionally NOT see the movies based on his books because the movie versions usually suck hard. It has gotten better lately as he has taken a more active role in the making of the movie and control of the script.

  18. ZukeZuke says:

    Bummer, Shamalamadingdong’s YouTube video got pulled. :(

    • EtherealFlame says:

      “Shamalamadingdong”
      EPIC LOLs over here. Thank you for the sore ribs.

      • hotdogsunrise says:

        Seriously, this is how I say his name in my head every single time I read it. My brain must think it’s hilarious or something.

  19. ZukeZuke says:

    Bummer, Shamalamadingdong’s YouTube video got pulled. :(

  20. FranktasticVoyage says:

    “In two weeks of release, the $150 million movie has dropped from second place to seventh. It lost more than half its audience in the first week. By comparison, Toy Story 3, which has been in theaters two weeks longer than Airbender, continues to beat it in total revenue and per-screen revenue. “

    I love how you “Consumerists” can berate a company for mis-using numbers in one post and run something like this in the next.
    Comparing Air Bender to what will probably be the highest grossing movie of the year seems a little off. Similarly, losing half of the audience is what most non-artsy blockbusters do now-a-days, and going from 2nd to 7th isn’t ridiculous during the summer movie season (especially when that second weekend is the 4th of July when other big movies are released)

    I don’t love M. Night (and I’m certainly not going to see this movie) but it’s ridiculous to frame the numbers this way

    (You would definitely call Wal-Mart or Toyota on something like this…)

    • ShruggingGalt says:

      Umm Transformers 2 and The Dark Knight have rewritten the rules for summer blockbusters. They were consistently filling seats in the theatres…without 3D revenue either.

      Any large budget movie fails to stay at or near the top of the box office for more than one week will probably be considered a failure.

      • craptastico says:

        it.s pretty standard for a movie to lose half its gross from the forst weekend to the second

  21. TehQ says:

    He sucks and has always sucked. People are finally realizing that he is a one trick pony.

    • chuckreis says:

      Signs and Unbreakable were really good flicks

      • thedarkerside.to says:

        Huh? Unbreakable was just boring, trying to be something it wasn’t.

        Signs? Oh so scary, he’s predictable and boring IMO.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        Signs was probably the most ridiculous of his films. “Duh, water kills us, so let’s invade a planet where it falls from the freaking sky!”

        • macruadhi says:

          Dude, It was a vague remake of “War of the Worlds”, or at least very loosely based on it. How about that whole, “Let’s invade a planet whose atmosphere and every surface teems with germs that will kill us!”

  22. JPM says:

    Option D: People are stupid

    That is why movies like Date Movie, Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans are still made. Stupid people still pay to see them.

    • craptastico says:

      those movies are a gold mine for studios. even if nobody goes to see them in the theaters, they’ll make theie money back when they start playing them ad nauseam on TBS and the like

    • Johnny Rotten says:

      They used to do great spoof movies back in the day (airplane, top secret, naked gun). The modern ones seem to be dribble.

      /old guy rant off

  23. nybiker says:

    The video has been blocked by NBC.

  24. Zowzers says:

    Meh, when ever I see his name attached to a movie it just makes me wonder what ridiculous twist will be at the end that makes the preceding 2 hours of story and plot irrelevant.

  25. TechnoDestructo says:

    Failure to access the large presumed-to-be-guaranteed audience of Avatar fans due to the whole “racebending” fracas.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      My friend is HUGELY upset about the “racebending,” or “whitewashing” or whatnot, but we were still all looking forward to seeing the movie if the reviews said it was at all good. A lot of people were willing to give the movie a chance if they heard it was good.

      We ended up waiting a bit and saw Despicable Me instead, which was adorable.

  26. TechnoDestructo says:

    Failure to access the large presumed-to-be-guaranteed audience of Avatar fans due to the whole “racebending” fracas.

  27. scientific progress goes boink says:

    Every single Shamalamadingdong movie I see makes me face-palm.

  28. Kia says:

    Dammit, they blocked the video. -.- I wanted to see that.

  29. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    I just call him M. Night Shamalamadingdong.

  30. evnmorlo says:

    NBC Universal sucks.

    (The above text is licensed for free distribution)

  31. lukesdad says:

    I’m guessing that after his first couple of successes when folks were calling him “the next Spielberg” he inked some kind of deal regarding the prominent display of his name on projects he is attached to. It’s the only reasonable explanation I can come up with. Early success + massive ego + multiple atrocious movies = the audience reaction seen here.

  32. Timbojones says:

    So many people are saying he only made one good movie. I must protest! Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were both excellent. Two good movies, folks.

    • ooeygooey says:

      I saw the TV ad for The Sixth Sense and before it even ended, looked at my husband and said, “the kid is dead.” Shamalonga has made *zero* good movies.

      • ooeygooey says:

        Doh! I meant “he” was dead — whatever, the movie was utterly predictable.

        • Timbojones says:

          And predictable makes it bad?

          Sixth Sense was still a great character study, just like Unbreakable.

      • craptastico says:

        Signs was decent. not worth a second viewing, but if you look back objectively it was a decent movie

        • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

          Yeah. Well. At least in Signs it was exactly what everyone was expecting. WTF the Village? Seriously? Though I was pretty irritated with Signs, in that it was two hours of sloooowly building tension and anxiety, punctuated by points of awkward and depressing.

      • user765 says:

        The kid wasn’t dead. Bruce Willis was dead.

  33. golddog says:

    I’m ready to communicate with you now MNight…that accident up there? Someone got hurt real bad. One of the producers of your latest film.

    Sixth Sense was awesome. I wanted to like your stuff that came after but it ranged from “meh” to “yikes that was freakin horrible” for me. Living up to the Super Twisty Ending pressure has to be a bitch. I’m just one consumer, but I swear to god, I was in a theater and saw that same trailer, and the same exact thing happened. We can’t all be wrong.

    P.S.: Why do all your ghosts have shadows?

  34. EdnaLegume says:

    HEY I like his movies!!!!!

  35. Irishskillz says:

    I think people do not like M because most of the people in this country only like what is “popular” according to critics, the media, etc. His movies are different and unique. I like them and look forward to more M. Night movies.
    The rest of the people need to expand their minds more.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      Actually, a lot of us dislike his movies because the twists can frequently be discerned 15 minutes into the movie (The Village), the narratives are boring (The Happening), or the plots are ridiculous (Signs).

      • Billy says:

        You forgot to add that his directing style is boring, too. It seems like his direction to his actors, no matter what the situation is, goes something like, “Okay. In this scene, I want you to act deadly serious. Be very methodical. Whisper all of your words. Show no emotion whatsoever. Repeat.”

  36. microzeta says:

    For what it’s worth, when I saw Inception this past weekend (amazing movie, btw) and they showed a trailer for this movie, our audience groaned as well. I normally don’t make noise in theaters, but I couldn’t resist; at the end of the trailer I shouted out “What a twist!”. There were at least 7 Robot Chicken fans in that audience who joined in on the laughter.

  37. grahams says:

    Similar thing happened at a Sunday Night showing of “Inception” last night, except everyone was laughing when M. Night’s name appeared during the trailer.

  38. unimus says:

    After The Village, I vowed to never watch another M Night movie unless there are multiple good reviews. Not even excellent, just good.

    I haven’t seen another M Night movie since.

    • dolemite says:

      Last Airbender had like 8% positive metacritic review I think on Rotten Tomatoes.

      I’ll admit, I was excited about it when I saw the previews, because the cartoon is very good, but he somehow managed to wreck it.

  39. Big Mama Pain says:

    I do this when I find out that Tarantino has anything to do with a certain movie.

  40. Raekwon says:

    this exact thing happened when I went to see Inception. They showed the trailer for Devil and when his name appeared the entire audience booed and laughed. It was quite amusing.

  41. sn1per420 says:

    When I saw this trailer on Friday night, everyone in the theater burst out laughing when his name went up.

  42. mannyvel says:

    The triumph of ego over reality.

  43. sadolakced says:

    Same thing happened when I was watching inception. The entire audience reacted. Quite disfavorably.

  44. Pax says:

    Wait. You describe the failure of “The Last Airbender” at length, and you DON’T mention RACEBENDING.COM …? You DON’T mention the racist whitewashing of the lead roles in TLA …?

    That makes the Consumerist a pretty singular and unique media outlet – because all the others most assuredly _DO_ mention those things. And the RaceBending.com-led Boycott is no small part of the movie’s failure, either.

    Shyamalan is a sham. He was a two-hit wonder, at best.

  45. Admiral_John says:

    I loved The Sixth Sense.

    I liked Unbreakable.

    I was moderately entertained by Signs.

    I gave up on him after that… it’s apparent to me that The Sixth Sense was a fluke.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Yea, that’s too bad. I really had hope after seeing that movie (6th Sense) that the guy would produce more like that. But it looks more like he’s a “one trick pony”

  46. laffmakr says:

    Can anyone who saw the video enlighten us as to what happened?

  47. Hobz says:

    I think the only reason they keep attaching him to movies is cause his name sounds cool…

  48. dolemite says:

    Well, someone keeps giving Uwe Boll money to make movies. The same people giving M. Night money? Perhaps it’s a plot… M. will churn out the bad high-end movies, while Uwe does the same for straight to dvd. By putting out many bad movies, the mediocre movies that come out in the meantime will look like masterpieces.

  49. startertan says:

    So I just read the Wikipedia synopsis of Lady in the Water…terrible. I think I would rather disassemble a guided missile because it would make more sense than that movie.

  50. Sparty999 says:

    option 5… people still think he has a “6th Sense” in him… unfortunately, we keep on getting ladies of the lake…

  51. wkm001 says:

    Good thing the commercial for this movie wasn’t shot in the theater that black girl got arrested in. The manager would have called the cops and demanded M. Night and his entire crew be taken to jail. Then he would ask, “where is my $500?”

  52. grandzu says:

    The groaning by the audience thing also happened when I saw that trailer on Sunday.

  53. almightytora says:

    At least it doesn’t say “from the creative writer of ‘The Last Airbender’”.

  54. giax says:

    How do people react to his name?

    “M. Night” isn’t what he was named – that would have been Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan, to be prcecise.

    How do I react to his name? Meh. How I react to the movies is just skip them. Sixth Sense was fine, but that was the only one I’d deem watchable (drunk).

  55. Pandrogas says:

    I saw this trailer the other day when I went to see Inception. While the trailer was fine, the audience had that exact same reaction when his name came up.

  56. ArmitageID says:

    I have personally pretty much hated everything this guy has done. Can’t stand these movies.

  57. nodaybuttoday says:

    I am grasping onto hope he’ll make another great movie. The Happening wasn’t bad and now that he’s hit rock bottom with the last airbender there is only one way to go, up, right? I can’t believe he did something like the Last Airbender though, typically he has been one of those directors who rely on plot more than special effects. Look at Signs. Suspense and a great plot. He could have totally gone all CGI with the aliens, but he didn’t. Yet, the movie was still effective. Did he just get greedy with this one?