It should be another quiet weekend at the box office.
Revenue from this weekend's top 10 films could total a soft $67 million, which is essentially flat year-over-year, and would be the lowest grossing weekend of 2016, according to MKM Partners.
Consumers are likely to forego the movie theater for another weekend of holiday shopping -- typical for early December -- ahead of next weekend's big opening for Walt Disney's (DIS) - Get Report "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." This weekend has only one new wide release, "Office Christmas Party" from Viacom's (VIAB) - Get Report Paramount Pictures unit.
MKM Managing Director Eric Handler predicts that Disney's animated film "Moana" will finish in first place for the third consecutive weekend with revenue of $18.0 million, a decline of 36% week-over-week. "Office Christmas Party" should premiere in second place and take in $16.0 million, while carryover title "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" from Time Warner's (TWX) Warner Brothers division should finish in third place with $10.0 million. Paramount's "Arrival" and "Allied" are expected to round out the top five with revenue of $4.5 million and $4.3 million, respectively, according to MKM.
However, Box Office Mojo forecasts have "Office Christmas Party" topping the box office with $20.0 million and "Moana" in second place with $18.9 million, Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey said in a note. Harry Potter spinoff "Fantastic Beasts" should bring in $11.4 million, while "Arrival" and "Allied" will gross $4.9 million and $4.4 million, respectively, Hickey added.
Additionally, new releases such as Lionsgate's (LGF) "La La Land" and Screen Media Ventures' "Sugar Mountain" debut in select cities this weekend.
Year-over-year comparisons do not appear difficult as last year's same weekend produced the third lowest grossing three-day weekend period of 2015, led by Lionsgate's "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2" and Warner Bros.' "In the Heart of the Sea," with totals of $11.4 million and $11.1 million, respectively, MKM's Handler noted.
Last weekend was also slow at the box office. "The weekend after Thanksgiving typically yields a soft result as moviegoers begin their holiday shopping campaigns," Handler wrote in a note.
Box office revenue quarter-to-date is essentially flat through December 6 as growth of about 7.5% in November has offset October's 8.0% decline.
"December is facing very difficult comparisons given last year's record performance fueled by 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.' In order to achieve our -5.5% growth forecast for 4Q, the box office could decline roughly 13% in December," Handler noted.