UPDATE: Despite a strong opening night for Office Christmas Party, Moana narrowly held its title as Box Office king for the third weekend in a row. For additional information, see our Weekend Box Office Wrap-Up.
[The original article follows]
With only one film receiving a release in over 3,000 theaters, this weekend was always going to be a slow one at the box office. Heading in, the expectation was that Disney's Moana would once again top the box office in its third week of release. With Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them entering its fourth weekend, the only real competition for Moana was the R-rated comedy Office Christmas Party, starring Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, and Jennifer Aniston.
The R-rated comedy carries an estimated budget of $45 million and features a large ensemble cast of comedic actors. Reviews for the film have been mixed, as Office Christmas Party currently holds a 44% Rotten Tomatoes score. The movie's B CinemaScore similarly does not suggest overly strong word of mouth. Still, with the lack of major competition at the box office this weekend, it now looks like the raunchy holiday-themed comedy has a shot to take the top spot away from Moana.
The Wrap is reporting that Office Christmas Party earned $6.6 million on its opening night, raising opening weekend projections for the film to roughly $17 million. Moana, on the other hand, earned $4.5 million Friday night, but still may gross upwards of $19 million due to family friendly matinees on Saturday.
Despite industry trackers initially projecting that Office Christmas Party could earn over $20 million this weekend, The Wrap's report states that Paramount always had the film pegged in the low to mid teens, suggesting the studio cannot be too upset with the film's opening performance. While there were no other wide releases this weekend, two awards contenders, Nocturnal Animals and Miss Sloane, expanded wide. Nocturnal Animals is expected to add $4 million to its running total this weekend, while the lobbyist-themed Miss Sloane could notch $2 million.
No matter how slow this weekend is at the box office, it will likely just be seen as the calm before the storm. Next weekend may be one of the largest ever at the December box office — the two top frames in the winter month thus far are the first two weekends of release for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, where the top 12 films earned a combined $305 million and $281 million, respectively.
Next weekend will see the wide releases of the Will Smith-starring Collateral Beauty and the first of the Star Wars anthology films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Industry projections currently have Rogue One on target for over $130 million domestically over its opening weekend. Even if the film does not reach quite those heights, it will still notch the second largest opening weekend ever in December, behind The Force Awakens' incredible $247 million.
Source: The Wrap