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Weekend Predictions: Will the Box Office get an Early Christmas Gift?

December 8th, 2016

Office Christmas Party

There is only one wide release this week, Office Christmas Party. There are also two films expanding semi-wide, Miss Sloane and Nocturnal Animals. I doubt both of them will make the top ten, but I would be equally surprised if neither did. At the beginning of the month, I assumed Office Christmas Party would win this weekend, but it is looking like Moana has a shot at the threepeat. It could be a really close race with the two films changing positions on the daily chart. Meanwhile, this weekend last year, In the Heart of the Sea bombed earning just $11.05 million on a $100 million budget. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 earned first place with $11.41 million. Both Office Christmas Party and Moana will top that with ease. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them might also beat that. On the other hand, last year there were four films that earned more than $10 million, while this year there will be no more than 3. I still think 2016 will win, but it could be close.

Moana is showing some serious legs. In fact, its post-Thanksgiving weekend had a milder decline than Frozen had during the same weekend in 2013. This is fantastic news. If this trend were to continue, then Moana would add another $21 million this weekend. That seems a little too bullish, but just under $20 million is still a fantastic result. Its theater average is strong enough that most theater owners will keep the movie next weekend and it could still be a saturation level release (3,000 or more theaters) over the Christmas break and that will really help it in the long run.

Office Christmas Party should earn a solid second place. Its buzz isn’t great, while its reviews are mixed. Additionally, there has already been an R-rated Christmas comedy to come out this year and that film bombed. On the positive side, this film does have better reviews and a lot less competition, so it should open better. On the high end, it could earn first place with just over $20 million, but second place with about $18 million is more realistic. Thanks to the Christmas break, its legs should be long enough to make it a solid midlevel hit.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be next with just over $10 million over the weekend and very nearly $200 million in total.

Arrival is in a tight race for fourth place again with just over $5 million over the weekend for a total of $81 million after a month of release. If it is still truly wide on Christmas day, it will have a real shot at $100 million.

Allied will be right behind with just under $5 million. The film reportedly cost between $65 million and $85 million to make, but sadly it won’t match the low end domestically and it isn’t doing any better internationally.

Miss Sloane is the wider of the two semi-wide expansions and is playing in 1,648 theaters this weekend. It is also earning the weaker reviews, although a Tomatometer Score of 63% positive is fine for a wide release. As long as the film can earn an average of closer to $1,500, it will be able to earn a spot in the top ten. Some think it will double that figure earning just over $4 million, but just under $3 million is more realistic.

Nocturnal Animals is earning better reviews, but it has been playing in limited release longer, is expanding into fewer theaters and will be playing in just 1,262 theaters over the weekend. A per theater average of $2,000 is probably asking too much. It might earn below $1,000. I’m not that pessimistic, but I think it will missing the top ten with $1.5 million.

- Office Christmas Party Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Moana, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Nocturnal Animals, Arrival, Allied, Bad Santa 2, Miss Sloane, Office Christmas Party