Walt Disney's (DIS - Get Report) "Moana" kept its number one spot at the domestic box office for a third straight weekend, while Lionsgate's (LGF) romantic musical "La La Land" shined in its limited release.
"La La Land" debuted in just five locations with $855,000 over the weekend. Its $171,000 per theater average was the best opening theater average of 2016 and one of the highest five-theater releases of all time, according to Box Office Mojo. The film, which stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, has seven Golden Globe nominations.
Meanwhile, MKM Partners said revenue from the weekend's top 10 films totaled a "soft" $73 million, but represented 10% growth year-over-year and exceeded the firm's forecast of $67 million.
"Although the results were up double digits y/y, the impact on the overall quarter is not that significant as it was the second lowest grossing weekend of the year. The outperformance was driven by carryover titles 'Moana,' 'Arrival' and 'Doctor Strange' along with new release 'Office Christmas Party,'" MKM Managing Director Eric Handler wrote in a note.
"Moana" finished in first place with revenue of $18.8 million, down 33% week-over-week, according to comScore data. The total was slightly above MKM's expectation of $18.0 million. Paramount Pictures' R-rated comedy "Office Christmas Party" starring Jennifer Anniston and Jason Bateman grossed $17.5 million in its opening weekend, which beat the firm's $16.0 million projection.
In third place was Harry Potter spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" from Time Warner's (TWX) Warner Brothers division, which raked in $10.8 million. Paramount's "Arrival" and Disney's "Doctor Strange" rounded out the top five with $5.6 million and $4.6 million, respectively.
"'Moana' continues to be a critical favorite and a box office hit with a worldwide gross of $238.8 million while newcomer 'Office Christmas Party' grabs up $33.9 million globally this weekend," said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at comScore.
Box office revenue is up 2.7% quarter-to-date through December 11. "The box office appears to be tracking in line to modestly below our -5.5% forecast. Achieving our forecast will likely come down to 'Rogue One' grossing somewhere in the $400mn-$450mn range along with solid openings from 'Sing' and 'Passengers,'" MKM's Handler noted.
Disney's "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" will debut in theaters on Friday, while "Sing" from Comcast's (CMCSA - Get Report) Universal Pictures and Sony's (SNE - Get Report) romantic science fiction thriller "Passengers" will premiere on December 21.