The 2023 M. Night Shyamalan movie “Knock at the Cabin” concerns the impending end of the world, but its box office haul was far from apocalyptic. Grossing $35.3 million on a $20 million budget, “Knock at the Cabin” proved perfectly respectable in its theatrical run, even if it came in behind almost all other Shyamalan directorial efforts. “Knock at the Cabin” registered as the filmmaker’s lowest-grossing movie domestically since the $305,704 haul of his directorial debut “Wide Awake” in 1998. Even if it came in behind the North American hauls of reviled Shyamalan titles like “After Earth” and “Lady in the Water,” the smaller price tag of “Knock at the Cabin” ensured it wasn’t a total box office loss.
Why did “Knock at the Cabin” fail to hit the box office highs of “The Visit” or “The Village”? The biggest culprit is likely a simple one: The premise wasn’t as instantly compelling to people as the hooks of other Shyamalan features. “Signs” boiled down to being a realistic intimate alien invasion movie, “Split” was about being held captive by somebody with split-personality disorder, but “Knock at the Cabin,” by contrast, had a more complicated premise. Past Shyamalan hits were also headlined by massive movie stars like Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, and Samuel L. Jackson, which was the kind of star power “Knock at the Cabin” lacked.