NEW YORK (AP) – For the first time in almost two months, the box office doesn’t belong to blue people.
After seven weeks as the top film in theatres, Avatar: The Way of Water was finally knocked out of the No 1 spot by the M Night Shyamalan thriller Knock at the Cabin and the octogenarian comedy 80 for Brady.
Knock at the Cabin, a home invasion horror film with an apocalyptic riff, dethroned James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi epic with USD14.2 million in ticket sales at United States (US) and Canadian theatres, according to studio estimates on Sunday. The Universal Pictures release stars Dave Bautista as one of four strangers who approach a family vacationing in a rural cabin.
The opening for Knock at the Cabin came up shy of some of Shyamalan’s recent releases.
His last film, 2021’s Old, about a beach that rapidly ages those who visit it, launched with USD16.9 million and ultimately collected USD90.1 million worldwide. His 2019 film Glass, the third installment in the director’s Unbreakable trilogy, opened with USD40.3 million on its way to grossing USD247 million globally. Every other film directed by Shyamalan has opened higher than Knock at the Cabin.
But Knock at the Cabin still marks Shyamalan’s seventh film as director to open No 1. With a modest budget of USD20 million, Knock at the Cabin should easily turn a profit.
The film, which drew mostly positive reviews from critics (68 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes), added another USD7 million internationally.
Taking second place was 80 for Brady, a comedy about four friends (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno and Sally Field) who take a trip to the 2017 Super Bowl. It opened with an estimated USD12.5 million. Shortly after announcing his retirement from football (again), Tom Brady attended the film’s premiere.
Paramount Pictures employed a unique strategy in releasing 80 for Brady. While many films have sought to capitalise on higher ticket prices through large-format or 3D screenings or surge pricing, which films like The Batman have tried, Paramount went the other direction on 80 for Brady. The studio partnered with exhibitors, including the largest chains, to play 80 for Brady at matinee prices to help lure its largely older audience. (Half of ticket buyers were over the age of 55).
It seemed to work. At a time when comedies have struggled mightily in theatres, 80 for Brady (with a production budget of USD28 million) had one of the best openings for a live-action comedy in years. Discount pricing is to continue for the rest of the film’s run.
Avatar: The Way of Water slide to third with USD10.8 million domestically in its eighth weekend.