Nearly a quarter century ago, M. Night Shyamalan’s phenom The Sixth Sense scared up six Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Director. It didn’t win any, but it established the filmmaker as a force at the box office. His fortunes have certainly ebbed and flowed in the 21st century with financial hits and misses. As far as awards attention, only 2004’s The Village achieved another Academy nod for its score.
Shyamalan’s latest is the apocalyptic thriller Knock at the Cabin with Dave Bautista headlining the cast. Based on Paul G. Tremblay’s 2018 novel, Knock‘s embargo is up today ahead of its Friday release. The results are pretty encouraging with a 71% Rotten Tomatoes score. At the low point in his filmography, he had a string of flopsand critical bombs (Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, After Earth) that racked up plenty of Golden Raspberry mentions.
Cabin is ahead of Shyamalan’s two predecessors Glass and Old as far as the RT meter. It isn’t as high (77%) as comeback vehicle Split from 2017. While Bautista is being complimented for his performance, I don’t see this being welcomed in any of the Academy races a year from now. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
**Blogger’s Update (02/01): I am adding a title to the top 5 that I previously didn’t have on Monday when I did my initial projections. The Chosen: Season 3 Finale is playing on over 2000 screens. As you may recall, the season premiere grossed nearly $9 million in December out of the gate. I’ll say the finale generates a little more than that and could challenge Avatar for the 3 spot. Changes are reflected below.
The seven-week reign of Avatar: The Way of Water at #1 should end in its 8th outing as February dawns at the box office. M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller Knock at the Cabin and the octogenarian comedy 80 for Brady debut and look to place 1-2. My detailed prediction posts on them can be found here:
Beginning with 2017’s Split, Shyamalan experienced a career resurgence that could carry Cabin (generating solid word-of-mouth) to a low to mid 20s start. Getting close to $30 million is not out of the question. That number should be enough to top the charts.
80 for Brady looks to appeal to a female audience and older viewers. A Man Called Otto recently showed the demographic is ready for a return at multiplexes. With a robust marketing campaign and the involvement of Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, and Rita Moreno, I could absolutely see it over performing. My current mid teens forecast is worth keeping an eye on before Thursday (meaning it could rise).
As mentioned, Avatar: The Way of Water (while remaining above $10M) should finally relinquish its stranglehold in first.Fellow holdovers Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and A Man Called Otto should round out the top five and here’s how I see it looking:
1. Knock at the Cabin
Predicted Gross: $23.6 million
2. 80 for Brady
Predicted Gross: $15.5 million
3. Avatar: The Way of Water
Predicted Gross: $11.8 million
4. The Chosen: Season 3 Finale
Predicted Gross: $11 million
5. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Predicted Gross: $8.9 million
6. A Man Called Otto
Predicted Gross: $4.8 million
Box Office Results(January 27-29)
Avatar: The Way of Water cruised to a seventh frame atop the charts with $15.9 million (ahead of my $14.3 million take). The domestic haul is $620 million, but the story of the weekend is that it surpassed Star Wars: The Force Awakens to become the fourth largest worldwide grosser in history. That means James Cameron now has three of the top four (with Avatar and Titanic also in the mix).
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was runner-up with $10.4 million, surpassing my $9.2 million prediction. In six weeks, the animated sequel has amassed $140 million.
The surprise of the weekend was Pathaan, a Hindu language action spectacle that I incorrectly had outside the top five. It was third with $6.8 million and $9.4 million since its Wednesday bow. The PTA of nearly $10k was easily the highest on the charts.
A Man Called Otto was fourth with $6.6 million (in line with my $6 million projection) for $45 million overall.
M3GAN rounded out the top five with $6.2 million (I said $5.8 million) as the campy horror tale is approaching nine figures at $82 million.
Finally, Missing was sixth in its sophomore weekend with $5.6 million, a tad above my $5.1 million call. The ten-day total is $17 million (doubling its reported $7 million budget).
Universal Pictures is counting on audiences to take a Knock at the Cabin when it debuts February 3rd. The latest film from M. Night Shyamalan, it’s based on the 2018 novel by Paul G. Tremblay. A thriller blending horror elements, Dave Bautista is a believer in the imminent apocalypse holding a family hostage. Costars include Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn, and Rupert Grint.
This looks to be the picture to knock Avatar: The Way of Water off its lengthy perch at #1 and should do so with room to spare. Shyamalan, after a career resurgence that kicked into high gear with Split, is one of the few filmmakers whose name can sell tickets (especially in this genre). This is his first R rated title since 2008’s The Happening. His predecessor Old (2021) opened in the summer of 2021 with just under $17 million.
Cabin, with less competition than Old had, should exceed that starting gross. A take of over $20 million is doable.
Knock at the Cabin opening weekend prediction: $23.6 million
M. Night Shyamalan’s latest is Old and it plays like a long Twilight Zone episode which rapidly puts its subjects in that time frame of their lives. If you’ve seen the trailer or TV spots, what you see is essentially what you get. The writer/director is responsible for putting this uninteresting group on a gorgeous beach. That’s in the figurative sense since he created them. It’s also in the literal way because Shyamalan casts himself as the driver who takes them there.
Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Prisca Cappa (Vicky Krieps) are on the verge of splitting up and they take their 6-year-old boy and 11-year-old daughter on a tropical excursion before they break the news. They know this is meant to be a short-lived paradise, but they get more than they bargained for. You know how parents say their youngsters act like teenagers before they should? It happens here.
The Cappas are taken to a secluded area of the island for R & R. Joining them are a surgeon (Rufus Sewell) and his snotty wife (Abbey Lee) and their 6-year-old going on 11…13…15 (eventually played by Eliza Scanlen). There’s a nurse (Ken Leung) and his wife (Nikki Amuka-Bird) that’s prone to seizures. In the latest example of eye rolling character choices, we also have a hemophiliac rapper (Aaron Pierre) who goes by the name of Mid-Sized Sedan. This might an even more cringe worthy use of a hip hop reference than James McAvoy’s MC skills in Split.
Once placed in the breathtaking locale, all the vacationers discover they’re aging approximately one year every half hour. This is, of course, first noticed with the children. The Cappa kids morph into Thomasin McKenzie and Alex Wolff. Their elders fall prey to the typical signs of advanced age – disease, Alzheimers, low calcium content. Poor Mid-Sized Sedan never gets the chance to trade in for a cooler sounding vehicle name.
In Shyamalan’s best features (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs), the auteur created pretty interesting characters to place in his twisty tales. That is just not the case with this group. Even a coasting Shyamalan is reliable for a few thrills, but they don’t roll in too often.
Too much of Old is filled with his clunky dialogue. The kids talk like adults before they actually are a few hours later. The surprise developments toward the end (which aren’t all that shocking) hint at a larger picture. They may have been engrossing had we not been subjected to an hour and a half of watching this dull lot waste away. This could have made a nifty Twilight Zone episode because that program ran 30 minutes. In Shyamalan’s labored production, it feels closer to a year.
Blogger’s Note (07/21): I am revising my Old prediction down from $22.8 million to $19.8 million
What will be the ending to the next M. Night Shyamalan opening weekend story? That’s a tough one with Old, the filmmaker’s latest thriller debuting July 23rd. Based on a graphic novel, the pic places its cast in a beach setting where they inexplicably begin rapidly aging. That’s about the biggest nightmare Hollywood can imagine and Universal Pictures is banking that the horror will translate onscreen. The cast includes Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Eliza Scanlen, Alex Woolf, Abbey Lee, Rufus Sewell, Ken Leung, and Embeth Davidtz.
Over the past six years, Shyamalan has experienced a career resurgence with his budgets getting lower and his grosses far exceeding the price tag. 2015’s The Visit took in a surprising $25 million out of the gate ($65 million overall domestic gross). 2017’s Split started off with a cool $40 million ($138 million haul) and its 2019 follow-up Glass earned $46 million over the long MLK frame with a $111 million eventual take.
In a summer filled with sequels and reboots, Old could have the advantage (despite being based on a property) of looking like something fresh. You could even say – what’s Old is new. The trailers and TV spots are pretty effective. It is competing for some of the same audience with the G.I. Joe franchise overhaul Snake Eyes. However, my gut says this could manage to overshadow it.
The aforementioned predecessors from the director kicked off in a less competitive timeframe. I still believe Old gets pretty close to the $25 million achieved by The Visit and gives it a solid chance at topping charts over Snake Eyes.
Emma is the latest adaptation of the 1815 Jane Austen novel and it’s out this weekend in limited release and posting solid numbers. This version stars Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role. She’s best known for her work in the horror genre with The Witch, Split, and Glass. Reviews are praising with a current 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film marks the debut of director Autumn de Wilde and arrives at an awfully early frame for awards voters to remember it. One of the last renderings of the book was in 1996 with Gwyneth Paltrow starring. It opened in the summer of that year and nabbed Oscar nods for Costume Design and Score. The former category is certainly a possibility. However, like what came before nearly a quarter century ago, I am skeptical this Emma contends for top of the line races.
On the other hand, it wouldn’t be a surprise for this to be placed in the Musical/Comedy lane at the Golden Globes. We have seen years where the Actress derby there is rather weak (including in 2019 when none of the five nominees managed Academy recognition). That could allow Taylor-Joy to be noticed at the Globes. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
If nothing else, M. Night Shyamalan is audacious and I have always admired that. He likes to swing away at the cinematic fences and in Glass, he melds two of his pictures into a new universe. It’s ultimately not a very satisfying one, but the guy tries hard.
At the end of 2017’s Split, which returned the filmmaker to box office prominence, it was revealed that what we watched existed in the same realm of 2000’s Unbreakable. It did so by bringing in David Dunn (Bruce Willis). As you may recall, Dunn was the lone survivor of a train derailment who came to realize he was impervious to pain. Comic book store owner Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), suffering from a disease that cause his bones to break easily, surmised that David was a superhero. And Elijah was the arch nemesis as the 2000 flick revealed he was the evil mastermind behind the train going off the track.
In Split, we were introduced to James McAvoy’s Kevin and almost two dozen other characters that lived inside his head while he tormented teen girls that he kidnapped. From an annoying nine-year old boy to a OCD monster to a proper British dame, his personalities culminated with The Beast, who also possessed super human strength. The surprise ending suggested David will battle The Beast and low and behold – Split made more than enough money for that to occur.
This brings us to Glass. The first act allows this trio of characters to end up in the same mental institution with a psychiatrist (Sarah Paulson) attempting to dissuade them of their perceived powers. Dunn is sensitive to the possibility. The many voices of Kevin has his moments of doubt. Elijah, aka Mr. Glass, is so doped up that we’re not sure he knows what’s going on. However, fans of Unbreakable know the dude is a mastermind.
Glass brings back other characters from its double source material. Charlayne Woodard returns as Elijah’s supportive to a troubling degree mother. Spencer Treat Clark is back as David’s now grown son (Robin Wright skipped out as his wife). And Anya-Taylor Joy reprises her Split role as Kevin’s surviving kidnap victim. Her story arch here is easily the most inexplicable one in a movie filled with often strange choices.
My feelings with Unbreakable and Split are a bit against the grain from many others. I actually dug the former 19 years ago while many found out it to be a disappointing follow-up to TheSixthSense. As for the latter, I enjoyed McAvoy’s bonkers performance greatly but found it as a whole to be a mixed bag. The melding of the two worlds also fits that description. It’s got everything we expect from Shyamalan, including a twist ending or two. This time around, they land with less impact than earlier efforts.
McAvoy is still impressive, but we’ve seen this show before. Unbreakable set itself up perfectly for a world building sequel. Quite frankly, Glass made me realize I wish it hadn’t taken Split for us to get it. More of the Dunn/Elijah dynamic could have been rewarding without these other personalities in the way. Shyamalan’s personality shines through as always as he tries to overwhelm us with style and suspense. Like Split, the result is some memorable sequences amid numerous questionable ones and not the more cohesive whole that I found Unbreakable to be.
Youthful romance is center stage in the drama FiveFeetApart this Friday. Justin Baldoni directs Haley Lu Richardson (best known for Split) as a cystic fibrosis patient who catches the eye of Cole Sprouse (currently on TV’s “Riverdale”) with the same condition. Costars include Moises Arias, Parminder Nagra, and Claire Forlani.
The film is based on a novel by Rachael Lippincott. It came out in November of last year and the rights to its adaptation were sold well before its release. CBS Films is hoping this appeals to fans of TheFaultinOurStars. I believe the opening grosses of them will be many millions apart.
I’ll project this manages to reach double digits, though not by much.
FiveFeetApart opening weekend prediction: $10.7 million
The four-day Martin Luther King holiday frame brings just one new release and it’s a big one as M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass debuts. The melding of the director’s past hits Unbreakable and Split looks to achieve January’s second largest debut ever. You can peruse my detailed prediction post for it here:
While reviews have been mixed at best, I have a hunch Glass could be fairly critic proof (think Venom from a few months back). My low 70s estimate for its Friday to Monday performance easily has it dominating the charts and nabbing the month’s runner-up status as far as all-time openers behind 2015’s AmericanSniper.
With no new wide releases out, TheUpside should fall to second after its better than anticipated premiere (more on that below). Aquaman, ADog’sWayHome, and Spider–Man: IntotheSpider–Verse should fill out the rest of the top five.
My estimates are as follows and keep in mind they’re for the four days of grosses:
Predicted Gross: $72.1 million
Predicted Gross: $15.4 million
Predicted Gross: $13.8 million
Predicted Gross: $9.1 million
5. Spider–Man: IntotheSpider–Verse
Predicted Gross: $8.3 million
As mentioned, TheUpside had just what its name suggested. The Kevin Hart/Bryan Cranston comedic drama surprised prognosticators like me with a healthy start of $20.3 million, easily surpassing my $11.6 million projection. It’s further proof of Hart’s potency at the box office and marks the first #1 opening for studio STX Entertainment.
Aquaman was second after three weeks on top with $17.3 million, in line with my $17.7 million prediction. The impressive total stands at $287 million.
ADog’sWayHome had a so-so start in third with $11.2 million – not quite reaching my guesstimate of $12.8 million.
Spider–Man: IntotheSpider–Verse was fourth and I incorrectly had it outside the top five. The animated superhero tale (fresh off a Golden Globe win for Best Animated Film) made $9 million to bring its tally to $147 million.
EscapeRoom was close behind in fifth with $8.9 million (I said $9.4 million) for a two-week gross of $32 million.
MaryPoppinsReturns fell to sixth with $7.6 million (I went higher with $8.8 million). The Disney sequel has made $151 million.
The Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic OntheBasisofSex expanded nationwide and placed eighth with $6 million. I went with a little more at $7.9 million.
Finally, the Keanu Reeves sci-fi thriller Replicas bombed badly in 13th with just $2.3 million compared to my take of $3.4 million.
When it debuts over the MLK four-day holiday weekend, M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass will easily break into the number one spot. Questions about its potential ceiling are very real. The superhero thriller mixes the casts of two of the filmmaker’s best known works – 2000’s Unbreakable and 2017’s Split. That means James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark and Anya-Taylor Joy are along for the ride as well as Sarah Paulson joining this cinematic universe. No other movie opens wide against it.
Just over 18 years ago, Unbreakable was Night’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to his breakthrough smash hit TheSixthSense. Audiences had a mixed reaction at the time, but it managed a five-day Thanksgiving haul of $46 million before a final domestic gross of $95 million. Its reputation has grown in many circles in time. Two years ago, Split served as a major comeback vehicle for the director with a $40 million start as it legged out to $138 million.
I believe the positive response for Split will earn this impressive results. It only helps that it’s still fresh in the minds of audiences, including the ending that set up this picture. Word-of-mouth will determine the rest.
Glass will not shatter this holiday weekend’s record, which is held by AmericanSniper at $107 million. Earning the #2 honors over MLK should be a breeze as that’s currently held by RideAlong at $48 million.
Prognostications have this nabbing anywhere between $50-75 million from Friday to Monday. I have a hunch the higher end of that range is the route to go.
*On the eve of its premiere, I’m downgrading from $72.1 million to $58.1 million
Glass opening weekend prediction: $58.1 million (Friday to Monday estimate)