Universal Pictures’ presentation at the 2015 CinemaCon in Vegas included actors and directors from films including Pitch Perfect 2, Ted 2, Everest, Trainwreck, Straight Outta Compton, Sisters, Minions, and Jurassic World. The Visit was also well represented by writer/director M. Night Shyamalan and producer Jason Blum who talked about how the film came to be part of the Universal Pictures lineup.
On stage at the Coliseum at Caesars Palace in Vegas, Blum explained that his company Blumhouse Productions does small movies and so it felt counter intuitive to be talking to the thousands of National Association of Theater Owners members in attendance. However, he further explained there is no better place to see a scary movie than in a big theater alongside fellow screaming horror fans.
Blum, who sees hundreds of film scripts and TV projects each year, says he was drawn to The Visit because it was not only scary but fun. He then introduced the film’s writer/director M. Night Shyamalan who described how his movies are always written in his little office at his home in Philly and he joked they’re almost shot in his barn, that’s how close to home he remains while working on his movies.
Shyamalan paid his producer high compliments, saying he’s a producer of artistic, original filmmaking and he puts humanity into the genre. Shyamalan was also complimentary of Universal Pictures who came on board the project after he asked studio execs to learn about the film by attending an screening with a real audience. Shyamalan said the audience went nuts and applauded five times, adding “but who’s counting?” He then recalled how he asked that preview audience if they thought it was a film that should be seen in theaters and they unanimously raised their hands yes. Shyamalan’s a firm supporter of the theatrical screening experience and doesn’t believe in theatrical and On Demand same day releases. He’s a proponent of the theatrical experience because it helps the audience feel connected.
With The Visit, M. Night said his goal was to make the “loudest, funnest movie-going experience” possible. He confessed that he loves to scare people and he’s excited to return to that style of filmmaking with The Visit.
Watch the first official trailer:
Shyamalan returns to his roots with the terrifying story of a brother and sister who are sent to their grandparents’ remote Pennsylvania farm for a weeklong trip. Once the children discover that the elderly couple is involved in something deeply disturbing, they see their chances of getting back home are growing smaller every day.
The Visit stars Kathryn Hahn, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Ed Oxenbould, Olivia DeJonge. Universal’s releasing the horror film in theaters this September.
-By Rebecca Murray
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