M. Night Shyamalan Has Two Original Thrillers In The Works At Universal

Glass may not have shattered any box office records, and critics may be split on M. Night Shyamalan as a director, but Universal is investing in the filmmaker's next two movies. Following the successful theatrical trifecta of The Visit, Split and Glass, Shyamalan is renewing his partnership with Universal for two more untitled thrillers, set to be released in 2021 and 2023.

Universal announced the release dates for two M. Night Shyamalan original thrillers, set for theatrical release on February 26, 2021 and February 17, 2023, respectively. No plot details have been revealed about these untitled films, except for the genre, which is firmly in Shyamalan's wheelhouse. The close release dates of M. Night Shyamalan's next two movies suggest that they could be connected to each other, though it's too soon to say yet. In a statement following the announcement, Shyamalan said (via Deadline):

"There are wonderful studios out there, but Universal has made it a mandate to release original films. They are the best at finding an audience for new stories with unexpected tones.  I believe original films are crucial to the longevity of the theatrical experience. I am so excited to be working with them again and bringing new stories to the movie screen for years to come."

Shyamalan's renewed partnership with Universal follows the mixed success of his last three films, all of which were released under the studio. His 2015 found footage film The Visit was considered a creative and commercial comeback for the director, grossing $98.5 million against a budget of $5 million. His follow-up, 2016's Split, cemented that comeback, earning buzz as a surprise sequel to his hit Unbreakable and raking in $278.5 million worldwide against a budget of just $9 million. Glass was supposed to be the crowning achievement of the comeback, but ended up critically disappointing and underperforming at a respectable but disappointing $274 million worldwide.

However, it seems that Universal is still happy to continue collaborating with the filmmaker, with Universal Pictures President Peter Cramer saying in a statement:

"M. Night Shyamalan continues to create exciting, highly original stories that keep global audiences on the edge of their seats. There is no one like him. He is a master filmmaker working at the height of his powers, and we are honored that he has once again chosen Universal to be the home for his next two incredible projects."

Despite Shyamalan's spotty track record, it is still a relief to see the filmmaker doubling down on making original, high-concept thrillers. It's rare to see any original mid-budget films these days as the film industry is increasingly dominated by sequels and Disney reboots, so it's encouraging to see Universal back a director keen on crafting original stories.