M. Night Shyamalan's Knock at the Cabin finally dethrones Avatar at the box office

 M. Night Shyamalan at a Knock at the Cabin screening
M. Night Shyamalan at a Knock at the Cabin screening Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Someone had to do it, and it was M. Night Shyamalan who finally knocked down James Cameron.

The director's latest thriller, Knock at the Cabin, topped the domestic box office this weekend with a $14.2 million debut, marking the first time since December that Avatar: The Way of Water didn't come in at number one. Cameron's sci-fi epic spent an impressive seven consecutive weeks in the top position.

The $14.2 million opening for Knock at the Cabin was the lowest of Shyamalan's career, and it came in below the $16.8 million debut of his previous movie, 2021's Old. Still, it's not bad for a film that reportedly had a budget of only $20 million.

In recent years, Shyamalan has found success with a series of thrillers that similarly didn't face an uphill battle in becoming profitable because they carry modest budgets. This goes back to 2015's The Visit, which grossed almost $100 million worldwide on a budget of $5 million. It marked a comeback after Shyamalan's career hit a rough patch with Lady in the WaterThe HappeningThe Last Airbender, and After Earth all being panned by critics, bombing at the box office, or both. But he self-financed The Visit by mortgaging his own home.

Shyamalan, who also self-financed Knock at the Cabintweeted Sunday that he was "pinching" himself that this was his seventh time topping the box office in his career, and he paid tribute to the director he dethroned. "Much love to James Cameron, he's a hero to me," he wrote. "Glad to be in theaters with you."

But with a re-release of Cameron's Titanic coming to theaters next weekend, it may not be long before the return of the king of the world.

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