Sometimes the box office begins to creep up during the second weekend of December, but this month is a little longer than most with five weekends. And as we’ve reported all along, no one really plans to spend their money until Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arrives next week.
Last year, box office fell 21% between the first and second weekend of December before Star Wars: The Force Awakens racked up the best domestic opening of all-time with $247.96 million. This past weekend, post-Thanksgiving ticket sales were at $94.96M, down 3% from the Black Friday frame. It’s quite conceivable they’ll be down again with moviegoers still distracted by pre-holiday activities and the lack of uber-four-quad titles.
Paramount is taking advantage of this down time to position its counterprogramming to Rogue One with the R-Rated DreamWorks/Reliance holiday bacchanal comedy Office Christmas Party, which stars cubicles upon cubicles of comedic talent including Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, Kate McKinnon, Olivia Munn, Vanessa Bayer, Rob Corddry and Matt Walsh (and the list goes on). It’s from comedy directing duo Josh Gordon and Will Speck, who were responsible for the Will Ferrell-Jon Hader ice skating comedy Blades Of Glory ($145.7M global B.O.). Tracking has this $45M production opening between $13M-$15M at 3,100 locations in second place. Paramount’s hope is that it starts small, and swells much like Universal’s Tina Fey-Amy Poehler raunchy comedy Sisters did against Force Awakens with a $13.9M opening and 6.3 multiple of $87M.
Disney’s Moana will remain atop the box office with a third-weekend take north of $18M. Through yesterday, the movie counts $123.4M. Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is looking at a fourth FSS that’s $11M-plus, which will get it closer to the $200M mark domestically.
Meanwhile, if you’re a distributor that has an awards contender, you’re going to take advantage of this lull and lack of fresh big-studio fare to tee up your goods. Lionsgate/Summit’s original musical La La Land — after taking the fall festival circuit by storm and winning TIFF’s People’s Choice Award, the Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup for star Emma Stone, the top prize at New York Film Critics Circle, and 12 Critics’ Choice noms — is looking at a per-theater of at least $75,000 at each of its five New York and Los Angeles locations per industry projections. We hear that advance tickets sales at the Hollywood Arclight alone have topped $100K.
Europa Corp is busting out Miss Sloane from four locales to approximately 1,600 for a third weekend that’s between $2.5M-$5M. Through 12 days, the John Madden-directed gun lobbyist thriller with Jessica Chastain has a domestic B.O. of $132K. Before P&A, Miss Sloane cost $13M. Focus Features is also widening Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals in its fourth frame from 127 sites to 1,260. Through yesterday, the movie totals $2.87M. Fox Searchlight, after earning a hearty opening per theater of $55K, is moving Natalie Portman’s Jackie into five more markets — Washington DC, San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, and Phoenix– as well as adding bookings in New York and Los Angeles. The Pablo Larrain biopic has a five-day cume in five sites of $325K.