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Director Warns of Big Screens' Extinction

M. Night Shyamalan says ending the delay of DVD releases would doom moviegoing.

October 28, 2005|Claudia Eller | Times Staff Writer

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.

"I came here to tell you that what you do is something sacred. Nobody has benefited more from DVD sales than me. I bought my house on DVD sales from 'The Sixth Sense.' But take away my house. That's not why I do what I do."

"If I can't make movies for theaters, I don't want to make movies," Shyamalan told The Times. "I hope this is a very bad idea that goes away."

Times staff writer Richard Verrier and Orlando Sentinel reporters Mark Chediak and Roger Moore contributed to this report.

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