Well, I think there's a big problem in some of what we're saying, mainly that his career is in need of resurecting. He's only had one flop and that being his latest movie. Even the Village by most standards was a success. It was a film that cost 60 million to produce and grossed 120 mil domestically. Not many films even break the 100 mil mark. He doesn't need his career resurected. Lady In The Water just didn't work, and rather than scrambling to figure out what's the best thing to do next to make him popular again, he should just be a man about it and move on to the next thing. I mean look, he's human, not every movie he creates will be amazing or be the greatest thing since the Sixth Sense, but what I'd rather see is a filmmaker/artist who believes in his vision and keeps doing it whether other people come along or not. Because one dud does not mean that most people aren't listening to the overall message. I just feel that there is so little grace amongst people. We don't allow people the space to be wrong once in awhile in both creative and athletic venues particularly. If they screw up once, they've had it and they're in need of correcting and or we need to turn our backs on them forever. NIght shouldn't be trying to figure out what's the bet thing to make him on top again, but what does he believe in as his next project. And maybe Avatar is it. He's said in a lot of interviews that he is now going in a different direction as a filmmaker because Lady In The Water defined the way he's always wanted to make movies. So this is going to be interesting. I just don't think it's fair to say that somehow his career is in a terrible place because of Lady. Nor do I think he feels that way. When he was asked whether he thought Lady In The Water would be successful he just said "it doesn't matter." He believed in his story and that's something all of us should do when we committ to a project.
Point. But I'm not looking at just theatrical grosses. It's been something of a slippery slope for a while.
Sixth sense was a movie that took a lot of people by surprise and was a huge hit. Most people don't get one of those in their career, and I take nothing away from that. But, a big part of that sucess was repeat viewings and the twist ending is what made that happen. So, their was a lot of pressure to not only duplicate that sucess, but pressure to follow that formula.
Unbreakable met with mixed reviews, though I think it was a better movie than many have made it out to be. It didn't do the box office and it wasn't well recieved by most audiences.
Signs did better with audiences (and might have done better than Unbreakable at the box office, but I'm not sure) and got people talking. Sure, it was still not the sucess he enjoyed with Sixth Sense, but it was much better recieved.
The Village slumped at the box office and was once again not well recieved by most audiences. Though the film wasn't a train wreck by any means, it did do a fair ammount of damage in regards to future audiences. And I think that was reflected in the box office for Lady in the Water.
So yes, he does need a hit. He needs something that will make money and be well recieved by audiences (Much like Michael Bay with Transformers). He needs this so studios will continue to give him money to make the movies he wants to make.