For the first time in nearly two months, the No. 1 film on the weekend box office charts is not “Avatar: The Way of Water. The new top film is Universal and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Knock at the Cabin” with a $14.2 million opening weekend.
The horror film starring Dave Bautista is hitting the very low end of pre-release projections for an opening in the mid-to-high teens and is the lowest domestic opening ever for a Shyamalan film. With a reported $20 million budget financed by Shyamalan, “Knock at the Cabin” should be able to easily get into the black over the course of February, but it’s not likely to leg out particularly well at the box office with a C on CinemaScore to go with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 68% critics and 64% audience.
Still, despite the career-low opening for Shyamalan, it is the director’s seventh film to open No. 1 at the box office, driven by a younger-skewing audience that was 62% in the 18-34 demographic. Ethnic demos were 39% white, 27% Latino and 16% Black.
In second is fellow newcomer “80 for Brady,” a football comedy acquired by Paramount from Fifth Season that is meeting box office projections with a $12.5 million opening from 3,912 theaters. Aimed towards older audiences with New England Patriots fans as a small side demographic, “80 for Brady” has received mildly positive reviews with a 64% Rotten Tomatoes score but has done well with moviegoers with an A- on CinemaScore, 90% audience RT score and 86% overall positive score on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak.
For studios and exhibitors, “80 for Brady” is also doubling as an interesting experiment in dynamic pricing for movies, as major chains AMC, Cinemark and Regal are offering matinee ticket prices for all screenings of the film. As movie theaters continue to recover from the pandemic, selling tickets for films that aren’t big blockbusters at lower prices has been a strategy suggested by some exhibitors and distribution executives, including at Paramount.
It is possible that such discount pricing, combined with the positive word-of-mouth among older moviegoers, could help “80 for Brady” leg out. It’s also important to note that the polar vortex that has gripped much of the northeast probably weighed down performance for the film, as fans of the Patriots and football legend Tom Brady who may have been interested in the film were forced to stay home this weekend from the dangerous temperatures.
“Avatar: The Way of Water” is third with $10.8 million grossed in its eighth weekend. Combined with $27.9 million overseas, the film has pushed its immense global total to $2.17 billion. This coming week, “Avatar 2” will pass the lifetime gross of fellow James Cameron megahit “Titanic” to become the third highest-grossing film of all time before inflation adjustment.
Universal/DreamWorks’ “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is in fourth with $7.9 million in its seventh weekend, pushing it past $150 million in domestic grosses and bringing its global total to $368.5 million. In fifth is Trafalgar’s concert film “BTS: Yet to Come in Cinemas,” which is estimated to make $5.1 million from 1,111 theaters this weekend. Releasing in theaters on Wednesday, the K-Pop concert film is estimated to post a 5-day total of $7.8 million.