The poor reviews of Glass made director M. Night Shyamalan cry. Glass, which starred Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, and Bruce Willis, was the third and final film of the Unbreakable trilogy. The 2000 film was followed up with a surprise sequel in 2017 called Split, which starred McAvoy as a man with 23 distinct personalities. Glass was the cumulation of these stories, tying together the stories of Elijah Price, Kevin Wendell Crumb, and David Dunn.
Glass may be Shyamalan’s most recent film, but he has been involved with filmmaking since the early ’90s. He first recieved critical praise for The Sixth Sense in 1999, before going on to make movies like Unbreakable, Signs, and The Village. Shyamalan’s praise didn’t last forever though, especially after he directed The Last Airbender and After Earth, both of which were critical and financial flops. The found-footage horror movie The Visit and Split seemed to help Shyamalan’s reputation for a while, but then Glass recieved some truly brutal reviews.
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During a lecture at NYU’s Stern School of Business (via Indiewire), Shyamalan spoke about when he first heard that Glass was getting negative reviews:
“I was in London when I heard the U.S. reviews for ‘Glass’ were poor. I was in a makeup chair for a TV show, and I cried. We’d just come back from the London screenings, which were through the roof. We had only great screenings of the movie around the world. So essentially I wasn’t prepared. I had this false sense of being a part of the group in a safe way. But boy, did I feel distraught that day.”
Even though reviews for Glass were mainly negative, Glass wasn’t exactly a commercial disappointment. The film more than turned a profit off of its $20 million budget. That being said, the haul for Glass didn’t even come close to Split, which ended its worldwide box office run at $278,454,538. Movie studios can survive films flopping at the box office, but Shyamalan needed Glass to do well financially since he personally funded Glass himself.
Like any film, the cast and crew of Glass no doubt put a lot of effort and energy into the Unbreakable trilogy’s finale. While Shyamalan was likely relieved when Glass turned out to be a box office success, it makes sense why he would be disappointed about the film’s reviews. After all, not very many directors would be happy about their film getting poor reviews, especially if it was an original story like Glass was for Shyamalan. Even though most people ended up not being too fond of Glass, that doesn’t seem to be stopping the director, who is currently hard at work on the Apple series Servant and is also developing a new movie called Labor of Love. Needless to say, Hollywood hasn’t seen the last of Shyamalan.