‘Knock at the Cabin,’ ’80 for Brady’ in Narrow Box Office Race for No. 1

Newcomers end the reign of “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which is nearing the lifetime gross of “Titanic”

Dave Bautista in "Knock at the Cabin" and Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin in "80 for Brady" (Universal/Paramount)

After seven weekends at No. 1, the reign of “Avatar: The Way of Water” has come to an end, leaving newcomers “Knock at the Cabin” and “80 for Brady” to vie for the top spot.

“Knock at the Cabin,” the latest from M. Night Shyamalan and Universal, is currently estimated to take the top spot with a $14.5 million opening weekend from 3,643 theaters. That is on the low end of pre-release projections in the mid-to-high teens and slightly below the $16.8 million opening of Shyamalan’s 2021 film “Old.”

Audience and critical reception for the horror film, which stars Dave Bautista as the leader of a cult that demands a family sacrifice one of themselves to prevent the apocalypse, has been mixed. “Knock” has earned Rotten Tomatoes scores of 68% critics and 65% audience, but has also earned a dismal C- grade on CinemaScore, a sign that the film will not leg out over the course of February.

Paramount’s “80 for Brady” has been better received as it is estimated for a $13 million opening weekend from 3,912 theaters, a step above independent projections for a $10-12 million start. The sports comedy starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno, Sally Field and Tom Brady has a 64% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes but an 88% audience score to go with an A- on CinemaScore

“80 for Brady” is being used for an experiment by Paramount and the major theater chains as AMC, Cinemark and Regal are offering tickets for the film at matinee prices for all screenings. At a time when chains have added surcharges for premium formats and screenings of major blockbusters on their opening weekend, “80 for Brady” will test lower ticket prices for films with smaller budgets and premises aimed towards older audiences.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” is in third with an estimated $10 million in its eighth weekend. That will bring the film’s domestic total to $636 million, having passed “The Avengers” earlier this week to join the top 10 highest grossing films ever in North America. Universal/DreamWorks’ “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is in fourth with $7.9 million in its seventh weekend, enough to push the animated sequel’s domestic total past $150 million.

Completing the top 5 is Fathom Events/Angel Studios’ screening of the third season finale of “The Chosen” with an estimated $7 million from 1,975 theaters. The crowdfunded Christian TV series has become one of Fathom’s most successful event screening series, with the first two episodes of this season screening in theaters this past November and earning $8.7 million on its opening weekend before finishing with $14.6 million after a limited engagement.