A post-Thanksgiving lull is hovering over the multiplexes.
Facing little competition, Disney’s “Moana” will easily top the domestic box office for the second weekend, earning roughly $28 million. That represents approximately half of its opening weekend haul of $56.6 million. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will likely snag second place, earning just under $20 million in its third week of release. The Harry Potter spin-off recently passed the $500 million mark at the global box office.
“It’s a come down from the Thanksgiving hustle,” said Shawn Robbins, senior analyst with BoxOffice.com. “Everyone is preparing for Christmas and doing their holiday shopping. They’re not too interested in movies.”
Indeed, this tends to be one of the slower weekends of the year, and ticket sales should fall off substantially until “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opens on Dec. 16. Tickets to the space opera spinoff went on sale this week, and demand is already high. The latest “Star Wars” adventure is on track to open to $130 million and change, which would be the second-largest December opening in history, behind only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
There’s only one major new release this weekend, “Incarnate,” the story of a scientist who tries to help a possessed child. The horror film is the latest offering from BH Tilt, which is trying to contain distribution costs by orchestrating more targeted marketing campaigns for certain theatrical releases. “Incarnate” is leaning heavily on digital advertising intended to draw in horror aficionados and will debut on 1,700 screens, substantially fewer theaters than most studio movies. It cost $5 million to produce and should make between $4 million to $5 million.
Freestyle Releasing will try to get into the Christmas spirit a little early, offering up “Believe.” The faith-based drama about a small-town businessman struggling with putting on a pageant should make less than $1 million when it opens on 600 screens.
In limited release, Fox Searchlight will premiere “Jackie” in five theaters. The drama follows First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy as she plans her husband’s funeral following his assassination. It has earned rave reviews for Natalie Portman’s lead performance and is expected to be a major force in the Oscar race.