It wasn’t quite the party at theatres this week that Paramount Pictures was anticipating for their latest film, Office Christmas Party. As the only major wide release new comer of the week Office Christmas Party only took second place on the Box Office charts with $16.9 million. Remaining afloat the top of the box office this weekend, however, was Disney's Moana which pulled in another impressive $18.5 million from domestic show houses. For Moana the good news doesn’t end there as the latest Disney animation film also pulled in an estimated $23.5 million from its international markets this weekend as well. This now brings its global cume to a lush $238.8 million and while this is certainly going to be the last week in spot number one for Moana, Disney is sure to clean up shop this holiday season with a full force of merchandise ready for parents to rush out to stores to grab for their kids this Christmas.

For Office Christmas Party the silver bell lining after this weekend is that they still have a few weeks of the holiday season left to milk before becoming irrelevant for the current and coming years. While the film did play just above Paramount’s modest expectations for the weekend, the film which carries a $45 million budget fell a solid $7 million shy of making back half its budget. Office Christmas Party is the story of Clay Vanstone, an office manager whose CEO and sister Carol (played by Jennifer Aniston) is gunning to close his team’s branch as they are least profitable branch in the company. To save the team from losing their jobs they must throw an elaborate party to impress a huge client that, should they get his business, would keep the branch’s doors open. The film did receive a B rating on Cinemascore from opening day audiences, and for being a crasse-laughfest, edgy Christmas comedy, this film will have a chance to rebound a tiny bit over the rest of the holiday season.

The rest of the top five this weekend were practically the exact same from last weekend other than both Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Arrival getting bumped down to spots three and four respectively.

But the really party animal at the box office this weekend was Lionsgate’s La La Land which debuted in only 5 theatres but managed to rake in an estimated $881,000. While that only places the film at spot #15 this weekend, it does mean the film pulled in over $176,000 per theatre, making it the best opening theatre average of 2016 (a record just previously set by Moonlight a few weeks ago) and the tenth-largest opening per theater average of all time! On top of all that the film had an incredibly impressive international performance this weekend as it pulled in $4.6 million from just two markets. The film is set to expend into the Netherlands on 22nd, followed by Australia on the 26th of this month. Additionally, the film ups its theater count to 200 next weekend and will continue its domestic expansion even further on the 25th of December.

With a 95% on Rotten tomatoes and a 93% rating from google users, the film is no doubt one of the stronger awards contenders this year and will see some definite Oscar buzz and success over the coming weeks.

Opening next weekend, we’ll finally get to see Will Smith’s Collateral Beauty which opens to over 2,900 theatres. It’s the story of Howard, a successful advertising executive who wrestles with the tragedy of losing his one and only child, and ends up cutting himself off from the rest of the world. In an attempt to gain answers from the universe as to why this has happened to him, his writes letters to Love, Time, and Death. When these concepts take on full human embodiments, Howard finally begins to learn that sometimes the deepest losses can reveal moments of meaning and eternal beauty. I’m anxious to go see this film because while I love Will Smith the film is getting torn to shreds by critics. Maybe it’ll surprise me, but if a story that already seemed a bit too over the top is already garnering such responses, I don’t have much hope that this one won’t cause anything more than some serious financial collateral damage to Warner Bros this year.

But if we are being honest, everyone is just playing for second best this coming weekend when the titan of all space and action movies we’ve been waiting for all year long releases into theatres. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m not certain what galaxy far far away you’ve been living in, but I’m talking Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Now I myself am participating in this thing called "Star Wars Pure" where I’m avoiding all trailers, posters, and anything else Rogue One related until I see it opening night. So aside from the general premise that this is the prequel to the original Star Wars film, A New Hope, which released in 1977, I can’t tell you much but I am beyond stoked to go see it!

This film is guaranteed to take the top of the box office this coming weekend and it promises to be a massive success for both Disney and the Star Wars franchise itself. I’m just praying it’ll be the prequel we’ve all been waiting for to redeem the disasters that were episodes I, II, and III.

-Matthew

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