Weekend Forecast: ‘Office Christmas Party,’ ‘Miss Sloane’

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Will anything be able to stop Moana from leading the box office for the third consecutive weekend? Two new films either opening or expanding into wide release will try, although only one of them stands a real shot. Paramount is the most likely contender with their holiday comedy Office Christmas Party. And EuropaCorp opens their new political drama Miss Sloane.

Office Christmas Party (Paramount)

PROS:

  • Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman star in this R-rated comedy about exactly what the title implies: an office Christmas party gone awry amid drunkenness and other craziness. As one of only two wide-release comedy films this month — along with Why Him? three weeks from now — this could be filling a void amid all the animated, sci-fi, drama, and action thrillers making up the rest of the month’s releases.
  • Aniston and Bateman lead an ensemble cast that also includes Olivia Munn, Rob Corddry, T.J. Miller, and Kate McKinnon — who’s never been a hotter star after this summer’s Ghostbusters and consistently-viral Hillary Clinton impersonations on Saturday Night Live. Odds are there could be at least one person in this cast who any moviegoer will enjoy.
  • Playing on about 3,100 screens, that’s almost double the estimated 1,600 of the lone new release Miss SloaneIt shouldn’t have much of a problem fending off its new competition, although Moana and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them should still be playing on more screens than Office.

CONS:

  • This is the third of three major holiday films this year. Almost Christmas was released in early November and has earned $38.5 million to date, debuting in fourth place and experiencing drops of 50+ percent on two of its three subsequent weekend — unusual considering Christmas movies usually hold on well as the holiday itself approaches. Bad Santa 2 was released in late November and has earned only $15.0 million to date, debuting in seventh place and now looking unlikely to sell even half as many tickets as its predecessor, perhaps not even one-third as many. Maybe audiences just aren’t in the holiday spirit this year.

Miss Sloane (EuropaCorp)

PROS:

  • Jessica Chastain stars as one of D.C.’s most powerful lobbyists attempting to pass a controversial gun control measure through Congress. Chastain has appeared in some big box office draws in the past few years, including The Martian with $228.4 million, Interstellar with $188.0 million, The Help with $169.7 million and a Best Supporting Actress nomination, and Zero Dark Thirty with $95.7 million and a Best Actress nomination. (However, her May release The Huntsman: Winter’s War was one of the year’s biggest flops with $48.0 million.)
  • The controversial and in-the-news subject matter could potentially get people talking like American Sniper did, if it doesn’t succumb to the opposite fate of this September’s Snowden.

CONS:

  • Its limited release box office performance has been lackluster. Two weekends ago the film opened on three screens with a $19,932 per-screen average, then this past weekend played on four screens for a $11,213 per-screen average. Now it expands nationally to about 1,600 screens, but both its limited weekends were low for a limited release that was considered considered an early awards contender. By contrast in the past few months, Moonlight debuted on four screens with a $100,519 average, Jackie opened on five screens for a $55,743 average, Manchester by the Sea began on four screens with a $64,125 average, and Loving started on four screens with a $39,904 average.
  • After a year with more talk about politics than perhaps any other year in modern American history, do audiences really want more politics on the big screen right now? People usually go to the movies to escape.

Boxoffice Pro predicts the top 10 films this weekend will earn a cumulative $69.80 million. That would be 4.6 percent higher than the $66.69 million earned by the top 10 films on this weekend last year, when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 led for a fourth consecutive frame with $11.41 million. It would also be 16.6 percent below the $83.74 million earned by the top 10 last weekend.

Check out the official Boxoffice Pro weekend forecast in the table below:

Title Distributor Weekend % decline Domestic Total through Sunday, December 11
Moana Disney $20,000,000 -29.2% $145,600,000
Office Christmas Party Paramount $17,000,000 New $17,000,000
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them Warner Bros. $10,510,000 -42.0% $198,810,000
Arrival Paramount $5,090,000 -30.0% $80,710,000
Allied Paramount $4,570,000 -35.0% $35,980,000
Doctor Strange Disney $3,680,000 -45.0% $221,260,000
Trolls Fox $2,810,000 -40.0% $145,150,000
Hacksaw Ridge Lionsgate $2,170,000 -35.0% $60,630,000
Miss Sloane EuropaCorp $2,000,000 +4359% $2,140,000
Bad Santa 2 Broad Green Pictures $1,970,000 -40.0% $17,540,000

Shawn Robbins, Jesse Rifkin, and Alex Edghill contributed to this report.

NOTE: The original publication of this article listed Miss Sloane as a new release. We’ve corrected that with its projected percentage increase and domestic total through December 11.

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