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    June 27, 2010

    PARAMOUNT HAS INVESTED $280 MILLION ON THE LAST AIRBENDER



    M Night Shyamalan expressed his hopes to turn 'The Last Airbender' into a huge franchise. Let's look at this way, the movie itself is a genuine departure from Shyamalan's comfort zone of supernatural thrills and what would be among his first movie which is not written by him. LA Times reported that The Last Airbender is now at a cost of $280 million. The project is a risk for both Paramount and Shyamalan to handle where the number includes $150 million production budget and a further $130 million marketing budget.


    Since Shyamalan received a phenomenon in 1999, due to the hit success of The Sixth Sense, he is Hollywood's prodigal storyteller in creating surprises to his audiences. The Unbreakable was equally stunning while Signs relied heavily on the perpetual aspect of believing what we see and what we feel to develop a deep connection into inner soul to the thriller. The Village begins to suffer a sort of burn out and his filmography suffers a stumble with Lady In The Water and The Happening.


    While he has up and down in the Tinseltown business, Shyamalan is seeking the only possible redemption by taking a movie with a franchise potential. After juggling those options, he finally settled with The Last Airbender and he did a lot for the movie too. Production wise, with a grand scale of FX and the 3D incorporated with the movie, this is Shyamalan's biggest movie ever in terms of production. There is plenty of hefty works on the movie and long post-production justifying Shyamalan's commitment to creating a franchise. He also envision Last Airbender as a trilogy and a chance for him to channel the area of his interest into the movie: martial arts, mysticism and spirituality.


    Special effects look great and those CGIs has been choking up the sums of budget. The casting looks relatively unknown and Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel is virtually unrecognized in the movie as one of the Fire Nation prince. Marketing has been aggressive lately with lots of TV spots and tie-in merchandising. Shyamalan himself approached McDonald's to work on The Last Airbender Happy Meals and also appearing in TV spots selling Last Airbender Flip video cameras too. The Nickelodeon has promoted the film heavily on its channel and also cross the film into the other sister channels of Nickelodeon like MTV, Comedy Central, Spike TV and CMT. (These TV channels belong to Viacom and related to Paramount Pictures). This is undeniably the stretch he has gone to make this film works.
    For the last 10 years, I've been working in a cottage industry of the supernatural. And I've always had my eye on doing a franchise.
    M Night Shyamalan, director


    Well we hope all the best for Shyamalan. The Last Airbender is a hard stuff to sell but it is a family movie. For that, it remains a risky business to be eschewed by anyone.
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