With a marketplace starved of adult comedy after the failure of Bad Santa 2, and the holiday deluge of product not quite here, this weekend is proving to be good timing for the arrival of OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY (DreamWorks/Paramount). According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, Office had a $6.7M Friday (including $950K from Thursday night), and depending on word of mouth, should have a $17-20M weekend. Office isn’t exactly low-budget, with at least $125M in production and worldwide marketing costs, and its international appeal is unclear, so profitability is still up in the air But its only direct competition during the holiday season is Why Him?, so it may hang on into January and end up with a strong multiple from its opening.
It’s going to be a tight weekend race at the box office between Office Christmas Party and MOANA (Disney Animation), which slipped 40% from last Friday to $4M and should have a $17-18M weekend. Its final total is still hard to predict because it isn’t clear how much Moana will be affected by the double punch of Rogue One and Sing, but it will certainly get to $200M+ in the US.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM (Warners) sank by 44% from last Friday to $2.8M and a likely $10M weekend, which will put it on the edge of $200M. With the holidays ahead, it should have $30-40M left in the tank.
ARRIVAL (FilmNation/Paramount) continues to be the feel-good story of the pre-holiday season. It slipped a mere 24% from last Friday to $1.6M, and should have a $5M weekend, putting it above $80M in the US. If it can hold on to its theaters, it may have the legs to reach $100M, a terrific result for a much more intellectual form of sci-fi than the norm.
DOCTOR STRANGE (Marvel/Disney) is nearing the end of its run, down 32% Friday-to-Friday to $1.2M for a $4M weekend, still on track for $230M or so in the US.
ALLIED (GK/Huahua/Paramount) is shaping up as a money-loser. In the US, it’s down 45% to $1.2M compared to last Friday, and with a $4M weekend, it’s going to have a tough time getting past $50M. Its very mild overseas result ($26.2M to date) give it little chance of recouping its $175M in costs.
A variety of awards hopefuls opened or expanded this weekend, with mixed results. The big winner is unquestionably LA LA LAND (Lionsgate), which burst out of the starting gate with what should be at least a $160K per-theatre weekend average in its 5 NY/LA engagements, and that number could go higher when Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone show up at some Saturday and Sunday LA performances. Even if it stays there, it would surpass the $158K opening average for American Sniper at 4 theatres, and would be the #2 non-animated opening average ever behind the $202K for Grand Budapest Hotel (leaving aside Red State with its premium ticket prices and Kevin Smith live show).
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Amazon/Roadside) continued to expand well, now at 368 theatres with what should be a $8500 weekend per-theatre average. That compares to the $11.7M average for 12 Years A Slave when it hit 410 locations, and it’s better than the $5K average for Birdman at 460.
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (Focus/Universal) reached wide release at 1262 theatres and should have a mild $3.5M weekend, giving it a weekend per-theatre average under $3000. So far it’s gotten little attention from critics’ awards.
MISS SLOANE (Europa) fared worse with an expansion to 1648 theatres. It’s only headed to a $2M weekend, a meager $1250 per-theatre average.