Director to lens 'Happening' in Philadelphia

Indian movie and TV conglom UTV Motion Pictures will co-finance M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming thriller “The Happening” with 20th Century Fox.

UTV confirmed that it will distribute the $57 million-budgeted pic in India and share in worldwide revenues, while Fox distributes worldwide.

Fox boarded the pic earlier this month. UTV CEO Ronnie Screwvala, who was introduced to Shyamalan via CAA, flew to Philadelphia prior to Fox’s commitment to hammer out a deal with Shyamalan.

“Fox is perfect because they have such strength in distribution and they see the film as a real tentpole for next summer,” Screwvala said. Pic, which was based on a spec script, is skedded for release in summer 2008.

Shyamalan plans to lens “Happening” principally in Philadelphia, where he has shot most of his movies. But UTV isn’t concerned that the pic won’t have an Indian theme. “It is our ambition to be involved with Indian world directors,” Screwvala said.

UTV, which co-produced Mira Nair’s “The Namesake,” released last week, has production relationships with three Hollywood majors: Fox, Disney and, through their relationship with Will Smith, Sony. It is also involved with Chris Rock starrer “I Think I Love My Wife.”

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