Box-Office Preview: Can 'Office Christmas Party' Topple 'Moana'?

Glen Wilson/Paramount; Dale Robinette/Lionsgate
'Office Christmas Party' (left), 'La La Land'

The holiday comedy is the only new film opening nationwide this weekend, while critical darling 'La La Land' debuts in New York and Los Angeles.

Paramount's Office Christmas Party hopes to party hard this weekend at the North American box office, where it is the only new film opening nationwide.

The ensemble holiday comedy is tracking to open in the high-teen millions, although Paramount is being more cautious in suggesting $13 million-$15 million. Office Christmas Party, directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon, stars Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jillian Bell, Courtney B. Vance and Rob Corddry. Kate McKinnon and Jennifer Aniston co-star.

The pic, about a group of employees trying to win over a prospective client by throwing a decadent holiday bash, cost $45 million to make. Partners on the film include DreamWorks and Reliance Entertainment.

Moana, the latest hit from Disney Animation Studios, is tipped to earn $18 million in its third weekend and could stay easily parked at the top of the domestic chart. The family film has grossed north of $183 million to date worldwide (it is slowly rolling out overseas).

The first part of December is known for being relatively quiet in terms of big event films as Hollywood prepares for the Christmas crush. This year, the holiday season gets underway on Dec. 16 when Disney and Lucasfilm debut Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

There's plenty of action, however, at the specialty box office as awards contenders open or continue to expand. Debuting in New York and Los Angeles this weekend is critical darling La La Land, Damien Chazelle's musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

Lionsgate is opening La La Land in five theaters in New York and L.A. with hopes of posting one of the top location averages of the year. The movie cost $30 million to make.

EuropaCorp's specialty film Miss Sloane makes a major push this weekend after bowing in four theaters last weekend. The political thriller, starring Jessica Chastain, will play in roughly 1,600 theaters beginning on Friday.

Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals is likewise making an aggressive play, upping its theater count from 127 locations to more than 1,000 in its fourth weekend. The Focus Features release has neared nearly $3 million to date.

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