Glass (2019 film)
UK release poster
|Directed by||M. Night Shyamalan|
|Written by||M. Night Shyamalan|
|Music by||West Dylan Thordson|
|Box office||$95.5 million|
Glass is a 2019 American superhero thriller film written, produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film is a sequel to Shyamalan's previous films Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016), cumulatively forming the Eastrail 177 Trilogy and serve as the final installment for the franchise. Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark, and Charlayne Woodard reprise their Unbreakable roles, while James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy return as their Split characters, with Sarah Paulson, Adam David Thompson, and Luke Kirby joining the cast. In the film, David Dunn gets locked in a mental hospital alongside his once-rival Mr. Glass, as well as the multi-personality "The Horde," and must escape from a psychiatrist who is out to prove the trio do not actually possess super-human abilities.
While there was interest in creating a sequel to Unbreakable following its release, Touchstone Pictures opted not to finance one at that time despite the film's solid box office performance. Shyamalan set out to write Split using a character he had written for Unbreakable but pulled from the script due to balance issues. Shyamalan realized the opportunity he had to create a trilogy of works, and adapted the ending of Split to establish the film as within the Unbreakable narrative. This included securing the rights to use Willis's Unbreakable character from Walt Disney Studios, with the promise of including them within the production and distribution of this third film alongside Universal Pictures, should it be made. Split was a financial and critical success, and by April 2017, Shyamalan announced that he had started the production process for Glass.
The film was released on January 18, 2019, by Universal Pictures in the United States and by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures under the Buena Vista International label in international territories. It has grossed over $95 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, with some finding it underwhelming and lamenting the climax, although the performances (particularly McAvoy's and Jackson's) and the entertainment value of the first half were praised.
Three weeks after Kevin Wendell Crumb earns the nickname "The Horde"[N 1], vigilante David Dunn and his now-grown son Joseph, who have been working together to take down criminals, set out to save four cheerleaders Crumb has abducted. David comes across Kevin in his "Hedwig" persona and, after brushing up against him, discerns the cheerleaders' location using his powers of extrasensory perception. He frees all four cheerleaders and confronts Kevin in his "Beast" persona only for the ensuing fight to spill out into the streets, where the two are captured by local authorities.
The two are sent to a mental institution where Elijah Price, David's sworn enemy, known as "Mr. Glass," is being held. Dr. Ellie Staple, the head doctor of the mental institution, works with patients who claim to have special powers. Staple reveals that she has been given three days to persuade David, Kevin, and Elijah that they are "normal" people. Staple also knows that David's weakness is water and has a machine that forces The Horde to switch identities, effectively disarming The Beast.
Joseph, Mrs. Price, and Casey Cooke (who survived an attack from the Beast) all visit at separate times to attempt to aid their associates, but fail. Staple puts the three superhumans in one room for an evaluation and poisons David and The Horde with doubt of their abilities, accusing David of having the same ability as trained magicians and Dennis (a persona of The Horde) of copying rock climbers and being shot by bad cartridges.
The evaluation attracts Elijah to The Beast, leading him to make his move. Elijah breaks into The Horde's cell to prepare them for The Beast's awakening, but is captured and has surgery performed on him. The surgery fails and Elijah awakens The Beast, convincing him to battle David on the city's highest tower to revive The Horde's faith and expose him to the world, then turns his attention to David and forces him to use the extent of his power to escape, lest Elijah destroy the tower in place of the showdown. The Horde and David rematch outside of the hospital and are evenly matched until Staple intervenes.
Staple orders four armed men on each of superhumans but David and The Beast fend them off. Elijah tells The Beast that water is David's weakness, but Joseph retaliates by revealing to The Beast that Elijah orchestrated the train crash that killed his father, the same train wreck that Elijah caused to find David.
After Kevin's father died, his abusive mother began torturing him, thus leading to the creation of Kevin's multiple personalities. The Beast thanks Elijah for creating him but tells Mr. Glass that his purpose was to protect Kevin thus he cannot trust Mr. Glass, something Glass didn't forsee, breaking his back then throwing David into a water tank. David survives but is weakened by the water. The Beast retreats and promises to finish him off at the tower. As The Beast leaves, Casey confronts him and coerces Kevin to take control of his body thus returning to his normal human state and taking control away from The Beast.
Staple's men then gun Kevin down while he is weak, and then overpower the now weakened David and begin to drown him in a flooded pothole, Staple lets David touch her as he is drowned, granting him a vision of her being part of a secret society trying to keep the existence of superhumans a secret. She tells him that she would've left him alone if she had convinced him that he was normal, but that The Beast ruined that. As Elijah finally dies of his wounds, Staple strangely says to him that comic books were wrong about societies of supervillains obstructing superheroes, and that a human Illuminati-like group were the true masterminds of the obstruction of both heroes and villains despite many well known comic villains, and arguably Elijah himself, being non powered humans. Staple deletes the security footage and reports her mission as a success.
Unbeknownst to Staple, the cameras around the mental institution had previously been hacked by Elijah and were streaming to his mother along with Joseph and Casey, who are able to release it and the existence of those with superhuman abilities by extension to the public. Staple is shocked and furious that the public is now aware of superheroes and villains, which she fought to hide, and her plans and those of the secret society are destroyed.
While overlooking Philadelphia, Mrs. Price tells Joseph and Casey that it is "the beginning of a universe" as people and possibly other "superhumans" now know of their coexistence.
- James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb / The Horde: A former Philadelphia Zoo employee with 23 different personalities whose body chemistry changes with each personality, resulting in a 24th personality known as "The Beast." Kevin's personalities also include Jade (a teenage girl), Orwell (a historian), Barry (an effeminate man), Patricia (a proper British woman), Hedwig (a nine-year-old boy), Ann and Mary Reynolds (Irish twin girls), Dennis (a perverted man suffering from OCD), Norma (a Southern woman), Luke (a Southern man who spoils movies), and Mr. Pritchard (a professor of Japanese cinema).
- Bruce Willis as David Dunn / The Overseer: A security guard with superhuman strength, stamina, and invulnerability as well as an extrasensory ability to see the crimes people have committed by touching them. In the film, Dunn goes by a new alias named "The Overseer."
- Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price / Mr. Glass: A highly intelligent mass murderer and comic book theorist with Type I osteogenesis imperfecta who was institutionalized after Dunn discovered the extent of his crimes.
- Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple: A psychiatrist specializing in delusions of grandeur who treats patients convinced they are superhuman beings. She is revealed to be the main antagonist and part of a conspiracy that cover ups the existence of superhumans.
- Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke: A teenage girl with a history of abuse who was kidnapped by one of Kevin's personalities as a potential sacrifice to "The Beast" but managed to survive.
- Spencer Treat Clark as Joseph Dunn: David's son who has believed in his father's abilities since he was a child and sees him as a real-life superhero.
- Charlayne Woodard as Mrs. Price: Elijah's mother who took great care of her son and always told him he was special no matter what others said.
- Adam David Thompson as Daryl, an employee at the psych ward.
- Luke Kirby as Pierce, one of Mr. Glass' caretakers at the facility.
M. Night Shyamalan reprises his cameo role of Jai, the security guard from Dr. Fletcher's apartment building in Split who hints to David Dunn that he was the same man he confronted about selling drugs at the university stadium in Unbreakable.
After Unbreakable's release in 2000, rumors of possible sequels began circulating in different interviews and in film fansites. In 2000, Bruce Willis was quoted as hoping for an Unbreakable trilogy. In December 2000, director/writer M. Night Shyamalan denied rumors he wrote Unbreakable as the first installment of a trilogy, saying he was not even thinking about it. In August 2001, Shyamalan stated that, because of successful DVD sales, he had approached Touchstone Pictures about an Unbreakable sequel, an idea Shyamalan said the studio originally turned down because of the film's disappointing box office performance. In a September 2008 article, Shyamalan and Samuel L. Jackson said there was some discussion of a sequel when the film was being made, but that it mostly died with the disappointing box office. Jackson said he was still interested in a sequel but Shyamalan was non-committal. In February 2010, Willis said that Shyamalan was "still thinking about doing the fight movie between me and Sam that we were going to do", and stated that as long as Jackson was able to participate he would be "up for it."
Shyamalan continued to work on other films following Unbreakable, and in 2016 he released Split. Split's principal antagonist is Kevin Wendell Crumb, played by James McAvoy, a person suffering from dissociative identity disorder which affects his body chemistry, adapting the mannerisms of each of the separate personas. One of these personalities is "The Beast," which causes Crumb's body to transform into a feral superhuman state, with the desire to consume those that have not had a traumatic situation in their lives – those it does not consider "broken." Crumb had been written in the script for Unbreakable, but Shyamalan felt there were balancing issues with his inclusion, and removed him from the story; Split was effectively rewritten from some of the scenes he had planned for Crumb expanded out into a standalone picture.
The final scene for Split includes the appearance of David Dunn, played by Willis. Shyamalan included Dunn here to connect Split to Unbreakable, with Dunn on learning about the escape of "The Beast," realizing that there are other superhumans in the world, as predicted by Mr. Glass (Jackson). By including this scene, he realized there may be a possibility of completing a trilogy of films. Shyamalan stated "I hope [a third Unbreakable film happens]. The answer is yes. I'm just such a wimp sometimes. I don't know what's going to happen when I go off in my room, a week after this film opens, to write the script. But I'm going to start writing. [I have] a really robust outline, which is pretty intricate. But now the standards for my outlines are higher. I need to know I've won already. I'm almost there but I'm not quite there." Unbreakable had been produced under Touchstone, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, while Split was produced through Universal Pictures. Shyamalan had to get permission from Disney to reuse Dunn. Shyamalan met with Sean Bailey, President of the Walt Disney Studios, about the use of the character; they came to a gentlemen's agreement where Bailey agreed to allow the use of the character in the film without a fee and Shyamalan promised that Disney would be involved in a sequel, if developed.
Split was met with critical and financial success, and in February 2017, Shyamalan affirmed his next film would be the third work in the Eastrail 177 Trilogy. Shyamalan finished the script by April 2017, announcing that it would be called Glass and with a target release date of January 18, 2019. Universal will distribute the film in the United States and Disney will distribute the film internationally through its Buena Vista International label.
The cast includes returning actors from both films: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark, and Charlayne Woodard from Unbreakable and James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy from Split will all reprise their respective roles in Glass. Sarah Paulson has also joined the cast as a new character. In November 2017, Adam David Thompson joined the cast in an undisclosed role.
Principal photography on the film began on October 2, 2017 in Philadelphia, following a week of rehearsals. Shyamalan planned for a 39-day shoot in this period. On October 31, 2017 it was reported that Shyamalan was filming at the Allentown State Hospital for the film and would be filming there for a few weeks. On December 12, 2017 Shyamalan revealed that 4 scenes are being planned to be shot in January 2018, stating he'd have to travel for those. On February 16, 2018, a scene was filmed at Bryn Mawr College in the athletic center. On July 12, 2018, the first official photographs from production were released, including shots of Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, and James McAvoy. Deleted scenes from Unbreakable were also used as flashback sequences in the film.
West Dylan Thordson returned to score the film after his collaboration with the director on Split. He used themes from the score of Unbreakable by James Newton Howard, alongside those of Split, into this score. The score is now be distributed digitally by Back Lot Music.
On April 25, 2018, the film was featured at CinemaCon, with Shyamalan in attendance. He presented footage from the film, along with the first official image, featuring Willis, Jackson and McAvoy in character. He also expressed his intention with the film saying, "The worlds of Unbreakable and Split finally collide in Glass. What if these real life superheroes and super-villains are somehow locked up together? What could go wrong?" He considered it to be the "first truly grounded comic book movie".
On July 12, 2018, the first official photographs from production were released, including shots of Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, and James McAvoy. On July 20, 2018, the film was promoted at San Diego Comic-Con, with Shyamalan, Willis, Jackson, Taylor-Joy and Paulson attending a panel, where the film's first trailer premiered.
Glass was theatrically released on January 18, 2019 in the United States by Universal Pictures and in international territories by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through the Buena Vista International label. The first screening for Glass occurred on January 12, 2019, at 25 Alamo Drafthouse Cinema locations.
As of January 21, 2019[update], Glass has grossed $46.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $48.5 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $95.0 million, against a production budget of $20 million.
In the United States and Canada, Glass was projected to make $50–75 million from 3,841 theaters over its four-day MLK Day opening weekend. It made $16 million on its first day, including $3.7 million from Thursday night previews, marking the best amount of Shyamalan's career. It went on to gross $40.5 million in its opening weekend (and $46.5 million over the four days). Although coming in at the low-end of projections, the film topped the box office and marked the third-best total of both Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend and of Shyamalan's career.
Internationally the film was expected to gross $45–50 million in its first weekend, for a total of global opening of $105–120 million. It ended up making $48.5 million from international markets and had a global opening of $89.1 million. It finished first in most markets, while its highest-grossing countries were Russia ($5.2 million), Mexico ($4.5 million, the best-ever for a Shyamalan film), the United Kingdom ($4.3 million), France ($3.4 million) and South Korea ($2.8 million). The film underperformed in Japan, which was noted as odd since it was the largest foreign market for Unbreakable in 2000.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 36% based on 269 reviews, with an average rating of 5.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Glass displays a few glimmers of M. Night Shyamalan at his twisty world-building best, but ultimately disappoints as the conclusion to the writer-director's long-gestating trilogy." On Metacritic, which assigns normalized ratings to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 42 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, down from Split's "B+" but up from Unbreakable's "C", while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 70% and a "definite recommend" of 49%.
David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a "C–" and called it the biggest disappointment of Shyamalan's career, writing: "The trouble with Glass isn't that its creator sees his own reflection at every turn, or that he goes so far out of his way to contort the film into a clear parable for the many stages of his turbulent career; the trouble with Glass is that its mildly intriguing meta-textual narrative is so much richer and more compelling than the asinine story that Shyamalan tells on its surface." Writing for Rolling Stone, David Fear gave the film 3/5 stars, writing: "Glass is not the flaming flop some folks have already suggested it is, nor is it the movie you want in terms of tying ambitious, highfalutin notions together about how we process our pulp mythos. In a world in which all movies are now either genocide or ice cream, it's a grand gesture characterized by a sense of ambivalence about what you've just seen—which may in and of itself be a sign of failure." Laura Di Girolamo of Exclaim! scored the film 6/10, writing, "by virtue of being a followup to two films that have very little to do with each other, Glass struggles the most when it tries to be an effective finale to a trilogy we never realized was one"
Owen Gleiberman of Variety said: "It's good to see Shyamalan back (to a degree) in form, to the extent that he's recovered his basic mojo as a yarn spinner. But Glass occupies us without haunting us; it's more busy than it is stirring or exciting. Maybe that's because revisiting this material feels a touch opportunistic, and maybe it's because the deluge of comic-book movies that now threatens to engulf us on a daily basis has leeched what's left of the mystery out of comics."
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "an underwhelming, half-baked, slightly sour and even off-putting finale."  while Joshua Rivera of GQ said that "The timeline is barely comprehensible, with twists so openly telegraphed they'd have saved the Titanic." 
- As depicted in the 2016 film Split
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