Shortly after his public spat with Iger, Fithian received a call from Shyamalan's agent. The soft-spoken director wanted to speak out.
"I don't get involved in too many causes, but this is what I do for a living," Shyamalan said in an interview.
Two weeks ago, as he was preparing to host ShowEast, Fithian and his organization's general counsel flew to Philadelphia to visit the director on the set of the movie he is shooting, the fantasy thriller "Lady in the Water." After hours of discussing the hot-button issue, Fithian suggested that Shyamalan make his first public statement in Orlando.
At Thursday's closing night dinner, Shyamalan assured his audience that his movies are made to be viewed in theaters. DVDs, cable and all other ancillary markets are just "souvenirs," he said, that are meant to enhance -- but not replace -- the theatergoing experience.