20th Century Fox has given the green light to M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, a spec script thriller that Shyamalan wrote and will direct in Philadelphia this August. Variety says Fox is targeting a June, 2008 release for the film.
Shyamalan will produce with Sam Mercer. He also reunites with Munich producer Barry Mendel, who produced the Shyamalan-directed The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.
The film, previously known as “The Green Effect,” will mark Shyamalan’s first R-rated effort, is a paranoid thriller about a family on the run from a natural crisis that presents a large-scale threat to humanity.
The movie is expected to carry a budget of around $57 million, and Shyamalan expects to cast a big male star for the lead.
Shyamalan will prepare and shoot The Happening as he continues to write the script for Avatar: The Last Airbender. Shyamalan will follow with that live action film for Paramount.