Before a packed house at the Ziegfeld, M. Night Shyamalan introduced his thriller “The Happening” as the B-movie that finally reunited him with Fox, the studio that, bought his first script when he was 21 but wouldn’t let him direct.
Several hundred Philadelphians were bussed in for Tuesday’s preem (pic takes place in the City of Brotherly Love, which is also Shyamalan’s hometown), where they were joined by stars Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Spencer Breslin and Betty Buckley.
Also on hand were Fox topper Tom Rothman, producer Barry Mendel and New Regency’s Hutch Parker, who said the pic displays “a chilling level of violence and terror.”
At the after-party at Mansion, Shyamalan, surrounded by his wife and two daughters (who are too young to see the film), said this screening was his first with an audience. “It was such a thrill,” he said.
As for the pic’s much discussed R rating, the helmer said he went toe-to-toe with the MPAA. “I told them, it’s just the impact of it — don’t penalize me for intensity.”