M. Night Shyamalan doesn't do anything small, professionally. As a mostly unknown 27-year-old filmmaker, his first studio film, Wide Awake, received a splashy March 15, 1998 premiere at New York's Ziegfeld Theater with an introduction by sitting Vice-President Al Gore. At age 29, his next film, The Sixth Sense stunned audiences around the world and reaped global grosses of $672 million along with two personal Oscar nominations for Shyamalan. Later that year, his first screenplay for a studio film that he didn't direct, Stuart Little took in $300 million, worldwide. Shyamalan's next five films grossed $1.1 billion, worldwide. The critical reception may have cooled over his past few films, but it served to shoot the stakes even higher for his new film, The Last Airbender, which opens today. However, Shyamalan gives off the sense that he wouldn't be happy with anything less than a monumental challenge.
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