Box office: Avatar loses spot to Knock at the Cabin, 80 to Brady

Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures employed a unique strategy in releasing 80 for Brady.

NEW YORK — For the first time in almost two months, the box office doesn’t belong to the blue ones.

After seven weeks as the top film in theaters, Avatar: The Way of Water was eventually ousted from the #1 spot by M. Night Shyamalan thriller Knock at the Cabin and 80-year-old comedy 80 for Brady. “

“Knock at the Cabin,” a home invasion horror film with an apocalyptic riff, dethroned James Cameron’s 3-D sci-fi epic with $14.2 million in ticket sales in US and Canadian theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Universal Pictures release stars Dave Bautista as one of four strangers who approach a family vacationing in a rural cabin.

The opening of “Knock at the Cabin” fell a bit short on some of Shyamalan’s recent releases. His latest 2021 film, Old, about a beach that ages its viewers, started at $16.9 million and eventually grossed $90.1 million worldwide. His 2019 film Glass, the third in the director’s Unbreakable trilogy, opened at $40.3 million on its way to grossing $247 million worldwide. Every other film directed by Shyamalan has opened higher than Knock at the Cabin.

But “Knock at the Cabin” is still Shyamalan’s seventh film as a director to come in at #1. With a modest budget of $20 million, Knock at the Cabin should easily turn a profit. The film, which received mostly positive reviews from critics (68% on Rotten Tomatoes), added an additional $7 million internationally.

Second place went to “80 for Brady,” a comedy about four girlfriends (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field) who travel to the 2017 Super Bowl. It started with an estimated $12.5 million. Shortly after announcing his retirement from football (again), Tom Brady attended the film’s premiere.

Paramount Pictures followed a unique strategy in releasing 80 for Brady. While many films have attempted to capitalize on higher ticket prices through large-screen or 3-D screenings or price hikes, which films like The Batman have attempted, Paramount went the other way with 80 for Brady. The studio has teamed up with exhibitors, including the biggest chains, to play 80 for Brady at matinee prices to attract the mostly older crowd (half of the ticket buyers were over 55).

It seemed to work. At a time when comedy is struggling in theaters, “80 for Brady” ($28 million in production) had one of the best openings for a live-action comedy in years. The discount prices are set to continue for the remainder of the film’s runtime.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” slipped to third place in its eighth weekend with $10.8 million domestically. The film’s No. 1 run matched the run of 2009’s Avatar. In the past four decades, only the pair of Cameron and his 1997 Titanic have had such a sustained dominance at the box office.

“The Way of Water” continues to do particularly well overseas, where its $27.9 million this weekend took its total to $2.17 billion worldwide. This makes it the fourth-highest gross of all time; Cameron — with two “Avatar” films and “Titanic” — now accounts for three of the top four. Box office: Avatar loses spot to Knock at the Cabin, 80 to Brady

Laura Coffey

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