If there’s one thing to say about M. Night Shyamalan’s career, he’s failed up. Columbia Pictures announced today that Will Smith – the biggest and perhaps only real movie star left in America – will team with Shyamalan to produce and star in a science-fiction film. Also starring: Smith’s son Jaden. Jaden had been rumored for the script before - and the project is currently known as One Thousand AE, but Will Smith’s presence takes this to a new level.

Will Smith – as an A lister – has made very few missteps and has been able to launch properties like Hancock that need star power in an industry that has very few high wattage talents. Unfortunately, Smith is also involved in Men In Black 3, which – at this point – has to be written off as a debacle, and/or will be at the very best not as terrible as it might have been. Currently the film is still trying to move forward after having done a couple weeks of principle photography, but the film was shut down because no one is happy with the script.

But as Men in Black 3 is ultimately a disaster in the offing, such makes his decision to work with M. Night Shyamalan all the more confusing. Shyamalan was once a guaranteed performer and audience favorite, but since Signs his grosses and cinematic prowess has all but collapsed. The Last Airbender was one of last year’s worst films, and was so terrible that Paramount did a rush-job last minute 3-D conversion to help salvage the film’s domestic box office.It would be one thing if this was his sole “off” film, but Shyamalan has not been making good or all that commercially viable films for nearly a decade – let’s say The Village got over on goodwill. Since then a film he produced (Devil) had a trailer that was known to get audiences groaning at the mere mention of his name.

Perhaps the script is magic and this will relaunch his career, or perhaps this will be the end for both Smith’s rule at the box office, and Shyamalan’s career, period.

Did you see Lady in the Water or The Happening?