M. Night Shyamalan is an iconic filmmaker, known for his mind blowing twists. The filmmaker has made plenty of beloved movies, which pierced the pop culture landscape. The Sixth Sense and Signs remain quotable in the years since their release, and Shyamalan recently created a cinematic universe with the Glass trilogy. Shyamalan is a filmmaker who deals primarily with thrillers, and recently revealed an unconventional way of judging movies during the test screening process: bathroom breaks.
Because M. Night Shyamalan's movies are tense thrillers with plenty of plot twists, he wants to keep audience's attention. And the best way to judge how successful he is with that task is by counting how many people take bathroom breaks during test screenings. The filmmaker recently explained how this goes into his job as a director, saying:
So, you screen the first cut of the movie, and it’s really long. It has like, everything in it. It’s not paced correctly. And about 50 people will go to the bathroom during the screening of the movie. They’ll just get up and go at some point in the movie. And as you make the movie and you keep on doing it, then 30 people go to the bathroom. And the time next it’s 20 people, and then 10 people, then 4 people. And then the last cut of the movie when it’s ready to go out, its 2 people and they’re running, and they’re backwards watching the screen as they go to the bathroom. And what’s really interesting is that you stop thinking about yourself when you’re completely connected to the movie. And like 500 people forget they needed to go to the bathroom.
Honestly, he's got a point. The best movies will completely capture the attention of moviegoers, even if they've got a full bladder. And as such, M. Night Shyamalan pays attention to how many people use the facilities during test screenings of his movie.
M. Night Shyamalan's comments to Late Night with Seth Meyers make a great deal of sense, even if it goes blue. The testing of filmmaking is an important one, even though most moviegoers never actually see it play out. Before movies are released to the masses, test audiences are able to watch and respond, which informs what happens in the editing process. But it looks like Shyamalan also communicates with those audiences nonverbally, counting down how many people run to the washroom during the runtime.
While some movies will allow for potty breaks, thrillers are another animal. If successful, these films will keep audiences glued to the screen. So much so that a trip to the ladies or men's room has the potential to ruin the theatrical experience. That's exactly how much M. Night Shyamalan is trying to grip audiences. And he's had success lately; The Visit was a great take on found footage, while Split and Glass were psychological commentaries on superhero movies.
M. Night Shyamalan recently took his talents to the small screen, with Apple TV+'s new horror series Servant. The show's first season has nearly ended, and it was already renewed for Season 2 on the streaming service. Although he'll no longer be able to judge test audience with bathroom breaks, given the shorter format.
Servant is currently streaming on Apple TV+. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.