Weekend Box Office Report: ‘Office Christmas Party’ Gets the Festivities Started, Still Follows ‘Moana’
Consider this the calm before the storm. Next weekend, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will open and dominate both the box office and every headline, drowning out each and every other movie currently screening in theaters. In the meantime, Moana took advantage of this quiet window to win one more strong weekend while Office Christmas Party got off to a pretty good start.
|2||Office Christmas Party||$17,500,000||$5,452||$17,500,000|
|3||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||$10,785,000 (-40.5)||$2,974||$199,310,000|
|5||Doctor Strange||$4,631,000 (-30.7)||$1,676||$222,362,000|
|7||Nocturnal Animals||$3,193,000 (+356.1)||$2,531||$6,219,000|
|8||Manchester by the Sea||$3,155,000 (+38.9)||$8,621||$8,325,000|
|10||Hacksaw Ridge||$2,300,000 (-31.2)||$1,010||$60,862,000|
While it wasn’t quite enough to snag the number one position, Office Christmas Party opened with $17 million, a decent start for a modestly budgeted and R-rated comedy. The holiday season — as well as a marketing campaign built entirely upon “Funny People You Like Are In This” highlights — certainly helped overcome the mixed reviews. As is always the case, the second weekend is far more important than the first and how the film manages to weather a Star Wars movie next week will be a window into its future success. If it manages to play well through December, it should be able to easily turn a profit on that $45 million budget. Word of mouth will be key here.
Meanwhile, Disney’s Moana continued to reign supreme, taking in $18 million and standing on top of the box office for the third weekend in a row. Although its box office isn’t as flashy as other major blockbusters — which open to enormous weekends and trail off — the film is performing similarly to Frozen, which started strong and simply refused to lose ground for weeks and weeks and weeks. It’s not clear if Moana will have the endurance to match Frozen when all is said and done, but unless the next few weeks totally kneecap it, it has a strong chance of breaking $300 million and doing Zootopia business.
In third place, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them made $10 million and found itself another day or so away from cracking $200 million. As we’ve previously noted, this puts it in the same tier as the lowest grossing Harry Potter movies, which is still a mighty fine place to be. In fourth place, Arrival continued to emerge as one of 2016’s quietest hits, grossing $5 million for an $81 million total. $100 million is still likely, but it’s going to be a close call. In any case, this is triumph for a medium-budgeted sci-fi drama intended for adults.
While it’s not surprising when a Marvel movie does well, it is surprising that Doctor Strange is doing this well. With an additional $4 million over the weekend, the film now stands at $222 million, leaving other first-entry Marvel solo films like Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger in the dust. It’ll be a horse race to $250 million, but anything beyond this is just more gravy. In sixth place, Allied continued to be a movie no one wanted to see and it won’t even make back half of its budget in the United States. Moving on!
The real story this week is the success of Nocturnal Animals and Manchester by the Sea, which expanded into more theaters this weekend and found audiences ready and willing to engage in some arthouse, awards-friendly fare. The former has made $6 million so far and the latter $8 million, strong numbers for movies that can sound like tough sells to mass audiences. La La Land also did exceptional business in limited release outside of the top 10, boding well for its expansion.
And that brings us to the final stretch, were Trolls looks to exit the top 10 with a fairy strong $145 million while Hacksaw Ridge clears $60 million. That second gross is ultimately the more impressive of the two, providing a future foundation for Mel Gibson’s ongoing comeback as a filmmaker.