4th Writethru, Sunday AM: Disney’s Moana estimated weekend outlook has slowed from $30M at the onset of the weekend to $28.4M, but that’s not her fault, it’s just the nature of the post Thanksgiving weekend which is always beaten down by the start of the holiday season. Still, Moana‘s coin collection was enough to send Disney to a new industry domestic record of $2.49B, with their annual foreign take of $4B, repping the second time any studio has hit that mark.

ComScore will weigh in with their official ticket sales figures for the overall domestic weekend soon, but currently, it looks like we’re 3% off of last year’s $94.2M (for pics making north of $500K). Last year, the first weekend in December was the seventh lowest of the year, and at present it looks like this weekend will be the third lowest. This FSS will gross more than the pre-Halloween frame, which was the lowest to date this year, at $88.8M. And it’s funny, but that weekend in January (Jan. 22-24) when all the movie theaters in the northeast closed from snowstorm Jonas still made money with $113.6M; it’s not even in the top 10 lowest B.O. weekends of 2016.

the last samurai

Still, what Moana‘s ticket sales continue to indicate is that a No. 1 pic in this sluggish frame can still make close to $30M. Frozen is arguably the top grossing film during the first weekend of December with $31.6M. And it’s not like studios haven’t dared to launch any big pics during this period or that certain films can’t play. Thirteen years ago, Warner Bros. opened Tom Cruise’s Last Samurai to $24.3M which legged out to $111.1M. There’s something to be said about positioning too. This weekend could be used as a time to get ahead of big holiday product, but it all depends what was huge over Thanksgiving.

In 2003, The Cat in the Hat was suppose to be the big Thanksgiving title, but tanked (and the industry knew this beforehand). There also wasn’t a Harry Potter in the market, so the frame worked in favor of  Last Samurai in regards to getting a leg up on  Lord of the Rings: Return of the King‘s entry.

In recent years, with pics like Hunger Games, Twilight and Disney animated pics coming away as the big Thanksgiving titles, it’s hard for any distributor to launch something new and make a wide dent during early December. This year they’d have to contend with Moana‘s muscle prior to Rogue One, and last year they had to deal with Mockingjay 2‘s holdover in the weeks before Force Awakens. Some B.O. trivia: In 1984, Paramount opened Beverly Hills Cop to $15.2M, a huge hit in its day with a final $234.76M domestic gross. (Granted, different times).

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Next weekend isn’t suppose to get any warmer with Paramount’s Office Christmas Party expected to make an estimated $13.5M-$15M. Everyone is holding on to their money until Rogue One opens Thursday night, Dec. 15, to north of $140M, the second best opening this month has ever seen.

Moana‘s second weekend is now down 50%, which is just under Toy Story 2‘s (-51%) second weekend, and bests that of  Frozen (-53%), Tangled (-56%) and definitely last year’s dud The Good Dinosaur (-61%). The Pacific femme hero sailed past $100M yesterday, and she should dock at $119.2M. On a pure 12-to-12 day comparison, Moana beats Frozen‘s running cume by 21%, however the latter had a limited release in its first weekend before blasting out wide over Thanksgiving.

Social media monitor RelishMix noticed how Disney kept Moana alive on social. The studio posted the song “You’re Welcome” performed by Dwayne Johnson on their Vevo music channel on Monday and clocked close to 4M views. The Moana Facebook has been adding about 18K fans a day, which is very strong for a kids title, while on YouTube, an additional 24.2M views have clocked from over 342 videos in the last week.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
Warner Bros Pictures

Fantastic Beasts is now looking at a third weekend that’s -59% with $18.5M and a cume by EOD of $183.5M, still running behind the first Harry Potter movie by 17% at the same point in time. In regards to the pic’s momentum on social, RelishMix observes that 350 total videos have sped close to 15M views, while the pic’s Facebook page continues to add close to 25K per day.

Paramount’s duo Allied and Arrival are now bordering each other with the Brad Pitt-Marion Cottillard WWII romance at $7.1M for a 12-day cume that’s under $30M (ouch), and Amy Adams’ alien movie beaming up $7.3M, now  -36%, in its fourth go-round for a running total of $73.1M. The final stateside landing for the UFO movie lies in the $80M range. On Friday, it flew past the century mark worldwide.

incarnate

BH/Tilt’s horror release Incarnatethe only wide entry of the weekend, made $2.6M, and creeped its way into the top 10. Pic cost $5M. This is part of a model that the distributor is looking to learn from with each release. They’re targeting uber-genre fans with a minimal digital spend (nothing even in the range of a Ouija 2, or even the estimated $20M that was shelled out to launch the $9M teenage comedy The Edge of Seventeen).

That digital spend detail isn’t a line either: RelishMix noticed that Incarnate has a strong social media universe of 70M propped by WWE thanks to wrestler Mark Henry, who has a mysterious role in the movie. He’s actively sharing materials across his social pages (4.4M), all of which have notable followings. And, David Mazouz (400K), who fans primarily recognize as little Batman from FOX’s Gotham, is young and social and he’s promoting the film across his official pages and feeds. Not a big studio spend here to launch, but that was never the intention. Not to mention, if you’re a fanboy, you’re saving your money to see Rogue One two weeks from now. Or else your friends told you not to go, as Incarnate was forked by a C- CinemaScore (Bs are typically strong enough for a horror title). A deeper dive into CinemaScore shows 51% males edging out 49% women with  63% under 25 for this PG-13 title (usually it’s the younger women who populate these). The under 25 bunch had slightly more tolerance for Incarnate giving it a C CinemaScore, but the over 25 bunch (37%), it was an excuse to eat candy in the dark, as they slapped it with a D+.

BH/Tilt has grossed more in the past from other microbudget titles, read Green Inferno opened to $3.5M and made a little more than 2x that in the end with $7.2M. The Kevin Bacon-Matt Walsh film The Darkness hit the sweet spot for the label over the summer earning close to $5M  in its opening weekend and $10.7M final domestic. San Andreas helmer Brad Peyton was attracted to Incarnate because it offered a unique spin on an exorcism movie with Aaron Eckhart in an interesting role. Also the filmmaker wanted to make a horror film, and the Blumhouse model provides directors with creative freedom.

What award didn’t Roadside Attractions/Amazon’s Manchester by the Sea win this week? The pic delivered Casey Affleck best actor at the Gothams, New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review with a best pic win at the latter. That’s not counting all the other wins it took at NBR and NYCC as well as seven Critics’ Choice noms.  All of this is propelling the Kenneth Lonergan drama to the No. 11 spot after expanding from 48 to 156 locations with $2.36M in its third weekend.

jackie
TIFF

Pablo Larrain’s Jackie from Fox Searchlight is putting up some great numbers at its five locations spread between New York and Los Angeles for the seventh best per theater of the year with $55K following the re-release of Howard’s End ($52,5K). Opening weekend will be $275K. The avant garde biopic has an 87% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes and expands to 40-plus markets in the near future. Some box office trivia: this is the weekend that Natalie Portman’s ultimate best actress Oscar winner Black Swan arrived six years ago with an opening weekend of $1.4M at 18 sites. It was also a Fox Searchlight release. Jackie is straight-up drama appealing to an upscale crowd, while Black Swan, a noir thriller, resonated after months of festival play hooking the date night crowd, horror fans, LGBT, and upscale audiences.

According to RelishMix, the top nine YouTube views are showing an upswing in engagement over the last 48-hours with 10-30K range which is good. Jackie‘s social media universe of 11.4M is largely comprised of 9.3M YouTube views. Portman’s fan pages are out in force in support, which helps since she like many young actresses like Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson opts out of possessing a personal social media account.

The top 11 pics for Dec. 2-4, 2016 per studio estimates as of Sunday AM:

1). Moana  (DIS), 3,875 Theaters (0) / $6.4M Fri /$12.8M Sat/$9.1M Sun/ 3-day cume: $28.4M (-50%)/Total: $119.9M/Wk 2

2). Fantastic Beasts…  (WB), 3,988 theaters (-156) /$5M Fri. /$8.2M Sat/$5.3M Sun/ 3-day cume: $18.5M (-59%)/Total: $183.5M/Wk 3

3). Arrival  (PAR), 2,915 theaters (+473)/$2M Fri/$3.3M Sat/$1.9M Sun/3-day cume: $7.3M (-38%)/Total:$73.1M/ Wk 4

4). Allied (PAR), 3,160 Theaters (0) /$2.1M Fri /$3.1M Sat/$1.9M Sun/3-day cume: $7.1M (-44%) /Total: $29.2M/Wk 2

5).Doctor Strange  (DIS), 2,935 theaters (-73) /$1.7M Fri /$3.1M Sat/$1.686M Sun/3-day cume: $6.4M (-53%) /Total cume: $215.3M/Wk 5

6.) Trolls  (DWA/20th Century Fox), 3,156 theaters (-166) /$1M Fri /$2.2M Sat/$1.3M Sun/3-day cume: $4.6M (-57%) /Total Cume: $136.7M/Wk 5

7). Hacksaw Ridge  (Lionsgate), 2,494 theaters (+162) / $989K Fri /$1.5M Sat/$911k Sun/3-day:$3.4M (-38%)/Total: $57.3M/ Wk 5

8.)  Bad Santa 2  (BG/MX), 2,945 Theaters (+25) /$960K Fri /$1.4M Sat/$880K Sun/ 3-day cume: $3.28M (-46%)/Total: $14.3M/Wk 2

9.) Incarnate (BH/T) 1,737 theaters/$915K Fri (includes previews of $120K)$1.09M Sat/$654K Sun/3-day: $2.6m/Wk 1

10). Almost Christmas  (UNI), 1,556 theaters (-213) /$696K Fri /$1.2M Sat/$604K Sun/ 3-day cume: $2.5M (-56%)/Total: $38.1M/ Wk 4

11.) Manchester by the Sea (RSA/AMZ) 156 theaters  (+108)/$666K Fri/$999k Sat/$698K Sun/3-day: $2.36M (+93%)/Total: $4.4M/Wk 3

NOTABLE:

Rules Don’t Apply (Fox), 2,386Theaters (+4) /$179K Fri  /$241K Sat/$135K Sun/3-day cume: $555K (-65%)/Total: $3.3M/Wk 2

Jackie (FSL) 5 theaters/$91K Fri/$109K Sat/$75K Sun/$55K PTA/3-day: $275K/Wk 1

Lion (TWC), 7 Theaters (+3) /$29K Fri /$52K Sat/$39K Sun/ 3-day cume: $120K (-3%)/Total: $279K/Wk 2

Miss Sloane (EUR), 4 Theaters (+1) /$11K Fri /$21K Sat/$11K sun/ 3-day cume: $44K (-26%)/Total: $123K/Wk 2