Weekend Box Office: 'Office Christmas Party' Wins Friday; 'La La Land' Soars

Office Christmas Party_La La Land_Split - Publicity - H 2016
Glen Wilson/Paramount; Dale Robinette/Lionsgate

'La La Land' is dancing its way to the second-best opening location average of all time and the best of 2016 to date, while a number of other awards contenders move into the top 15 on the eve of the Golden Globe nominations.

Paramount's Office Christmas Party laughed its way to the top of the Friday chart with $6.6 million from 3,210 theaters, but may still lose the weekend to animated film Moana.

Office Christmas Party is projected to gross $17 million, while Moana is tipped to take in $18 million from 3,875 theaters in its third weekend after grossing $4.1 million on Friday.

Directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon, Office Christmas Party 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.

The comedy is the only new film opening nationwide this weekend. The first part of December is known for being relatively quiet in terms of big event films as Hollywood prepares for the Christmas crush.

The reverse is true at the specialty box office as awards season heats up (Golden Globe nominations will be announced Monday morning). A number of prestige movies have moved into the top 15 this weekend as they continue to expand, while Damien Chazelle's awards hopeful La La Land is singing loudly in its limited New York and Los Angeles debut.

La La Land grossed $300,000 from five theaters in N.Y. and L.A. on Friday for a projected $850,000 weekend. That would put the film's theater average at $170,000, the second-best showing of all time for a specialty film behind Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel ($202,792).

Lionsgate and Black Label media co-financed the $30 million musical, which stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The critically acclaimed film is opening in five theaters.

Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals is 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 netted nearly $3 million to date, and is expected to come in No. 7 with an estimated $3.5 million-$4 million for the weekend, putting its total at north of $6.5 million.

Manchester by the Sea also continues to prosper, and is projected to place No. 7 with an estimated $3 million from only 367 theaters for a total $8.1 million for Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions.

Like Nocturnal Animals, 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. Miss Sloane is pacing to gross roughly $2 million to come in No. 11 for the weekend.

Dec. 10, 7:30 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers.