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Is Shyamalan a copycat?

rediff Entertainment Bureau | August 11, 2004 10:36 IST

Simon & Schuster may file a case against M Night Shyamalan.

The American publisher believes the director's latest film The Village has startling similarities with one of its books, Margaret Peterson Haddix's Running Out of Time.

The book was published in 1995, nine years before The Village released to damning reviews.
Haddick told The New York Times that the film's climax -- a surprise ending, in true Shyamalan style --  was the biggest similarity with her book.

Both the book and film are set in rural America in the 1800s. Both have a young girl at the heart of the story, discovering secrets when they venture out of their village to get medicine.
Disney, which produced The Village, and Shyamalan's Blinding Edge Pictures company dismissed suggestions of plagiarism.

After his previous film Signs released, screenplaywriter Robert McIlhinney claimed Signs was a copy of his script for a film, which was never made. The matter is in litigation.

Simon & Schuster is owned by Viacom, which also owns the CBS television network and MTV.

The Village, which dominated the US box office in its opening weekend with a gross of $50.8 million, slumped in its second weekend by 67 percent to $85.6 million.

rediff box office pundit Arthur J Pais feels the film could earn about $120 million in North America, but will be the least profitable of Shyamalan's films.

Signs, starring Mel Gibson, ended with $240 million.


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