December 9 will see two new wide releases, with EuropaCorp’s political dramaMiss Sloane versus Paramount’s holiday comedy Office Christmas Party. Which one will top the box office during the weekend before the new Star Wars film obliterates everything else in its path?
Miss Sloane (EuropaCorp)
- Jessica Chastain stars as a high-powered lobbyist and advocate attempting to pass gun control measures through Congress. Chastain has had several big hits at the box office this decade, including The Martian with $228.4 million, Interstellar with $188.0 million, Zero Dark Thirty with $95.7 million (and a Best Actress nomination), and The Help with $169.7 million (and a Best Supporting Actress nomination).
- The film could be a long-shot (though still possible) awards contender, with awards prediction website GoldDerby.com currently listing Chastain as the 8th-most likely Best Actress winner at the Oscars.
- With gun control one of the biggest issues of this era, with the largest mass shooting in American history a few months ago in Orlando and the congressional “sit-in” by hundreds of Democrats protesting Republican opposition to new gun control measures, this film certainly has a timely element which — if done in the right way — could get audiences talking…
- …but probably not. Audiences usually want escapism, and the disappointing box office take of Snowden this fall shows that crowds usually don’t want to be reminded of contentious issues in the news when they had to the movie theaters. Then again, the occasional hit like American Sniper is sometimes able to break through that barrier.
- Miss Sloane only has 1.5 million YouTube views for its most-viewed YouTube trailer as of this writing, a middling total for the genre.
- Chastain, though sporting several box office hits this decade as mentioned above, most recently starred in one of the biggest bombs of the year, the $48.0 million gross of The Huntsman: Winter’s War, less than a third of the $155.3 million total of predecessor Snow White and the Huntsman.
Office Christmas Party (Paramount)
- Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman star in this likely-to-be-R-rated comedy about exactly what the title suggests: an office Christmas party gone awry amid drunkenness and other craziness. As one of only two wide-release comedy films this December — along with Why Him? three weeks later — this could be filling a void amid all the sci-fi, drama, and action thrillers taking up the rest of the month.
- Aniston and Bateman lead an ensemble cast that also includes Kate McKinnon (who’s never been hotter after this summer’s Ghostbusters and constantly-viral Hillary Clinton impersonations on Saturday Night Live), Olivia Munn, Rob Corddry, and T.J. Miller. Odds are there could be at least one person in this cast who any moviegoer will like.
- Don’t forget the possibility of actual office party groups that could make a point of seeing this in the theater!
- The film could face competition from the very similar R-rated holiday comedy Bad Santa 2 being released two weeks before, as well as the holiday comedy Almost Christmas, although the latter film may be nearing the tail end of its run by that point after being in theaters for four weeks.
- Jennifer Aniston, for more than a decade one of the most bankable stars for Hollywood comedies, hasn’t had a real box office hit for almost three and a half years, since summer 2013’s We’re the Millers earned $150.3. Subsequent releases including Horrible Bosses 2 and Mother’s Day both underwhelmed at the box office. Same thing with Jason Bateman, who last had a true hit with 2013’s Identity Thief with $134.5 million. Are these two stars losing their box office appeal?
- The most-viewed YouTube trailer for Office Christmas Party has about 2.5 million views as of this writing, a fair if not great sum. (Bad Santa 2 has 2.8 million.)
Check out the official Boxoffice Pro long range forecast in the table below. Shawn Robbins and Jesse Rifkin contributed to this report.
|Title||Release Date||Distributor||Opening Weekend||Cumulative|
|Office Christmas Party||Dec 9, 2016||Paramount||$17,000,000||$70,000,000|
|Miss Sloane||Dec 9, 2016||EuropaCorp||$8,000,000||$26,000,000|
|Kidnap||Dec 2, 2016||Relativity Media||$7,000,000||$19,000,000|
|Incarnate||Dec 2, 2016||High Top Releasing||$4,500,000||$9,000,000|
|Moana||Nov 23, 2016||Disney||$65,000,000||$285,000,000|
|Allied||Nov 23, 2016||Paramount||$14,000,000||$68,000,000|
|Bad Santa 2||Nov 23, 2016||Broad Green Pictures||$10,000,000||$34,000,000|
|Rules Don’t Apply||Nov 23, 2016||Fox||$5,000,000||$19,000,000|
|Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||Nov 18, 2016||Warner Bros.||$78,000,000||$210,000,000|
|The Edge of Seventeen||Nov 18, 2016||STX Entertainment||$13,000,000||$58,000,000|
|Bleed For This||Nov 18, 2016||Open Road Films||$6,500,000||$18,000,000|
|Friend Request||Nov 18, 2016||Freestyle Releasing||$2,500,000||$5,000,000|
|Arrival||Nov 11, 2016||Paramount||$27,000,000||$95,000,000|
|Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk||Nov 11, 2016||Sony / TriStar||$22,000,000||$103,000,000|
|Almost Christmas||Nov 11, 2016||Universal||$16,500,000||$46,000,000|
|Shut In||Nov 11, 2016||EuropaCorp||$5,500,000||$13,000,000|
|Doctor Strange||Nov 4, 2016||Disney||$88,000,000||$255,000,000|
|Trolls||Nov 4, 2016||Fox / Dreamworks||$23,000,000||$81,000,000|
|Hacksaw Ridge||Nov 4, 2016||Lionsgate||$8,000,000||$28,000,000|
|Inferno||Oct 28, 2016||Sony||$34,000,000||$94,000,000|
|Jack Reacher: Never Go Back||Oct 21, 2016||Paramount||$27,000,000||$79,000,000|
|Boo! A Madea Halloween||Oct 21, 2016||Lionsgate||$18,500,000||$47,000,000|
|Ouija: Origin of Evil||Oct 21, 2016||Universal||$9,500,000||$21,500,000|
|Keeping Up with the Joneses||Oct 21, 2016||Fox||$7,000,000||$19,500,000|
|I’m Not Ashamed||Oct 21, 2016||Pure Flix||$4,000,000||$15,000,000|
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