Weekend Box Office: All Quiet on the Multiplex Front

‘Twas the weekend before Rogue One, when all through your local movie house

Few were watching flicks, perhaps not even a mouse.

Outside of Paramount’s Office Christmas Party and Lionsgate/Summit’s La La Land, the North America box office remained in deep hibernation for a second straight week. The scenario should change considerably starting this Thursday night when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story begins its year-end box office dominance.

Keeping the top spot warm for The Force’s upcoming arrival, Disney’s Moana scored an estimated $18.8 million from 3,875 theaters, representing a decrease of only 33% in business from the previous weekend. After three weeks of release, the domestic total for the animated blockbuster stands at $145 million with an additional $94 million from overseas.

In second place with a $17.5 million haul from 3,210 theaters was Paramount’s raunchy comedy Office Christmas Party. The $45 million production received largely negative reviews from the nation’s critics -44% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes- and mixed notices from ticket buyers, who gave the ensemble comedy a “B” rating on CinemaScore. The T.J. Miller headliner opened day-and-date overseas, where it scored $16.4 million.

Warner Brothers’ hit Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them slowed by 40% in its fourth weekend on 3,626 screens. The fantasy feature earned an estimated $10.8 million to bring its domestic total to $199.3 million. It will zip past the $200 million milestone on Monday. Beasts led the foreign box office for a fourth and final weekend, adding $33 million to its international total, which now stands at $481 million.

Displaying durable legs once again was Paramount’s sci-fi flick Arrival with an estimated $5.6 million from 3,115 theaters, good enough for fourth place. Off only 23%, the Amy Adams hit has brought in $81.5 million so far and should be able to reach the $90 million mark. The film has brought in an additional $40 million offshore.

Adams had a second feature in the top ten this weekend, the stylized thriller Nocturnal Animals. After three weeks of limited release, the Focus Features presentation expanded to 1,262 theaters this weekend to land in seventh place with a so-so $3.1 million. After one month, the Tom Ford film has earned $6.2 million.

Rounding out the top five was another long-running hit from November, Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange with $4.6 million from 2,763 theaters. Down 31% from last weekend, the origin tale has conjured $222 million so far domestically and $422 million from overseas. The film opens in Japan –its final international market- in late January.

One film making a lot of noise this weekend was the acclaimed musical La La Land, which danced off with $855,000 from only five locations in New York and Los Angeles. The future Oscar contender’s $171,000 per screen average is the biggest of any 2016 film and the second biggest of all time, just behind the $202,000 averaged by The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014. The Emma Stone/Ryan Gosling feature will expand to 300 theaters next weekend before going wide on Christmas Day. The movie also debuted in six international markets this weekend, where it earned $4.6 million.

Next weekend, it’s all about Rogue One. Currently, estimates for the opening of the Star Wars one-off are estimated between $130-150 million. As a bit of counterprogramming, Warner is opening the Will Smith drama Collateral Beauty on Friday.

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