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SYFY WIRE Box Office

'Knock at the Cabin' projected to dethrone 'Avatar' for No. 1 at the box office this weekend

M. Night Shyamalan is gunning for James Cameron's box office supremacy.

By Josh Weiss
Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 20th Century Studios' AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER (2022); Dave Bautista in Knock at the Cabin (2023)

M. Night Shyamalan will be gunning for James Cameron's box office supremacy this weekend with the wide theatrical release of Knock at the Cabin, with his latest film projected to open at No. 1. According to early financial projections reported by Deadline, the apocalyptic mystery-thriller is expected to bring in $15-17 million from North American ticket sales, effectively dethroning Avatar: The Way of Water, which has stayed at the top of the box office for well over a month since it opened in mid-December.

RELATED: 'Knock at the Cabin' star says film raises 'deep and terrifying questions about truth versus belief'

Cameron's long-awaited return to the lush jungle moon of Pandora recently unseated Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens to become the fourth-highest grossing film in cinematic history. The initial estimates for Knock at the Cabin are in line with Shyamalan's previous genre outing, Old, which bowed to $16.5 million domestically in late July of 2021.

“As is always the case with Shyamalan, the film's plot is shrouded in mystery, as are the projections for the film's opening weekend. And since suspense is the director's calling card, this is entirely fitting,” Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, tells SYFY WIRE. “It's hard to believe it's been over two decades since the director burst onto the scene with the sensational box office hit The Sixth Sense back in 1999, a film that put the director on the map. Over the years, he has gained a reputation as an auteur who, despite having some creative ups and downs, always swings for the fences as he takes audiences on a twisty, psychological cinematic ride.”

Based on Paul Tremblay's 2018 novel, The Cabin at the End of the World, Knock centers around a family of three — Eric (Jonathan Groff), Andrew (Ben Aldridge) and their daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) — as they find themselves taken hostage by four weapon-toting strangers: Leonard (Dave Bautista), Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird), Adriene (Abby Quinn) and Redmond (Rupert Grint). These home invaders claim that humanity will cease to exist if the family does not willingly choose to sacrifice one of their own.

In the official production notes, Shyamalan — who shares screenplay credit with Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman — describes the project as "a modern-day biblical story" that further compliments the work he's done on Apple's Servant.

"The idea of telling large-scale biblical stories, but in modern times and in modern settings, is resonating with me right now," he continues. "The film is reflective of my current feeling that everything that’s going on in the world doesn’t look good and doesn’t feel good, but I do feel we are struggling together in the right direction. We’re certainly not getting it right all the time, but in general, the direction that we’re moving as humanity is in the right direction and we deserve a chance to continue."

Shyamalan produced the feature alongside Marc Bienstock and Ashwin Rajan. Steven Schneider, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, and Ashley Fox are executive producers.

Knock at the Cabin opens in theaters everywhere this Friday — Feb. 3 — by way of Universal Pictures. Click here to order tickets.

Looking for more horror to make your spine tingle and blood curdle? You can currently catch Jordan Peele's NOPE on Peacock. Plus, don't miss SYFY's hit horror series Chucky, which was just picked up for a third season.