'Office Christmas Party' takes aim at 'Moana' in neck-and-neck race to the top


This weekend, like last weekend, is shaping up to be a slow one at the box office, with studios holding off on their major releases until closer to the holidays. To that end, the only new wide release is Paramount’s Office Christmas Party, bowing in 3,210 theatres. But there’s no guarantee it will take the top spot, as going into the weekend it’s more or less neck-and-neck with Disney’s Moana. That film, entering its third weekend, should drop to about $18 million, which will put it right in line with what Office Christmas Party is expected to make. The latter film has suffered from tepid-verging-on-negative reviews, but it benefits from an all-star comedy ensemble (Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon and more) and a lack of competition, the only other comedy in over 2,000 theatres being the largely forgotten-about Bad Santa 2.

With Moana and Office Christmas Party—or Office Christmas Party and Moana—sitting pretty at the top of the box office, the rest of the top five should be comprised of holdovers Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Arrival and Allied

Miss Sloane and Nocturnal Animals, which made specialty bows earlier this month, are expanding to 1,598 and 1,262 theatres, respectively. They could both sneak into the top ten, but it’ll be close. Meanwhile, Manchester by the Sea goes the more gradual route, expanding from 156 theatres to 368. Overwhelmingly positive reviews, paired with Oscar buzz, should get Manchester past Miss Sloane and Nocturnal Animals to the $2 million range.

Speaking of Oscar buzz, this weekend sees the limited release of Best Picture frontrunner La La Land, opening in five theatres.

Also out in limited release are Befikre, The Bounce Back, Frank & Lola and Kill Ratio.