'Moana' To Repeat at #1 Over Post-Thanksgiving Weekend
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Moana will be holding on to the top spot as expected, though the film's second weekend hold may be a little better than Mojo forecasted as it pulled in an estimated $6.4 million on Friday. This puts the film on track for a $29+ million weekend, which would push the film's domestic cume over $120 million.

Also over performing expectations is Paramount's Allied, which brought in an estimated $2.17 million on Friday and is looking to edge out both Arrival and Doctor Strange for a third place finish with $7.3 million or so.

As for the weekend's newcomers, Incarnate brought in an estimated $915,000 on Friday, heading toward a $2.1 million three-day weekend while Believe brought in an estimated $168,900, headed toward a three-day below $1 million.

The best story among newcomers is Fox Searchlight's Jackie, which debuted with an estimated $90,742 yesterday, headed toward a $275,000 opening from just five theaters. The Oscar-hopeful starring Natalie Portman would therefore be looking at a $55,000 per theater average.

We'll have a complete weekend wrap up on Sunday morning, for now you can check out all of the Friday estimates right here.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Last night's Thursday previews for BH Tilt's Incarnate brought in $120,000. Using Tilt's The Darkness for comparison, as we did in our weekend preview below, that film brought in $206,000 from Thursday previews before opening with $4.95 million in May of this year.

Freestyle's Believe also held Thursday night preview screenings and brought in $12,210 from 314 locations. In addition to Thursday screenings the film held a select number of Wednesday screenings, all of which will be rolled into the film's Friday opening day.

We will be back tomorrow morning with a look at Friday estimates and you can read our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Following the hustle and bustle of the extended, Thanksgiving weekend it makes sense this weekend would be a bit quieter. Set to repeat atop the weekend box office is Disney's Moana followed once again by WB's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as the rest of the field settles in below. The weekend features one new wide release in BH Tilt's Incarnate, offering horror fans a little something as the lone horror film currently in wide release, while Freestyle issues the moderate release of the faith-based feature Believe.

At the top, Moana should drop somewhere around 54% from its $56.6 million three-day weekend for a second weekend around $26 million pushing its domestic cume a couple million shy of $120 million by the end of the weekend. For comparison, Frozen dipped 53% following its record-breaking three-day wide release and Tangled dipped 55.7% after its $48.7 million Thanksgiving weekend three-day debut.

In the runner-up position, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is likely to suffer one of the steepest drops in the top ten, but that's mostly due to its stellar performance last weekend that saw the latest film in J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World deliver a $45 million second weekend as part of a $65.5 million five-day. As a result, Fantastic Beasts crossed $505 million worldwide earlier this week. As for this weekend, a 60+% drop is likely for a junior session right around $16.5 million as its domestic cume should top $180 million by the end of the day Sunday.

Disney's Doctor Strange and Paramount's Arrival could be looking at a battle for third position, though it seems best to expect Strange to win out as the two films are likely to finish around $6.5-7.5 million for the weekend.

Paramount's Allied should round out the top five, dropping around 56% from what was a rather disappointing, $17.7 million five-day opening last weekend. Expect the film to finish around $5.6 million this weekend.

As for the weekend's only new wide release, BH Tilt delivers Incarnate, a PG-13 thriller starring Aaron Eckhart opening in 1,737 theaters. The first comparisons that come to mind are films such as The Darkness, which debuted with $4.95 million from 1,755 theaters, as well as The Green Inferno, which brought in $3.5 million from 1,540 theaters last September. Question is, does Eckhart carry the same weight as Kevin Bacon who starred in The Darkness and how does Incarnate director stack up to Green Inferno's Eli Roth when it comes to the minds of horror fans? Taking it a step further... Does it matter?

BH Tilt's marketing efforts appear to be more focused on genre than stars or director as the studio has partnered with Universal to fund a digital heavy marketing campaign with hopes on an opening around $4-5 million. As to whether or not that's likely, beyond the comparisons above we looked at films such as the recently released Shut In, which opened with $3.6 million from 2,058 theaters, and The Disappointments Room, which opened with $1.4 million from 1,554 theaters.

We've also looked at comparative titles in relation to their IMDb page view performance leading up to release and Incarnate has certainly seen a bump over the last few days but is still playing behind Shut In and The Darkness while easily outperforming another comparative title, Fox's March release The Other Side of the Door, which opened with $1.2 million from 546 theaters. From a social media perspective, the digital-heavy marketing campaign appears to be working as the film's Facebook page has ~87,000 likes compared to the 20,000 likes The Disappointments Room had leading up to release, 30,000+ for Shut In and ~26,000 for Morgan. All things considered, an opening around $3.4 million seems like a good bet given all we're looking at, though not much higher with the potential for it to dip below $2.5 million.

Rounding out the top ten is Broadgreen's Bad Santa 2, which could only muster a $9.1 million five-day opening and with it a meager "C+" CinemaScore, none of which bodes well for its forthcoming performance this weekend. Mojo is forecasting a 55% drop for a $2.78 million sophomore session, which is right around the average for a film that performed as this one did over Thanksgiving weekend it not a couple percentage points worse.

Also opening this weekend is Believe, which Freestyle is acting as a booking agent on behalf of Smith Global Media in 639 theaters. It's unlikely the film will crack the top ten and is expected to fall short of $1 million.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight will premiere the Venice and Toronto Film Festival hit Jackie starring Natalie Portman. The film has a strong, 88% rating on RottenTomatoes and is set to debut in five theaters, hoping for a $150,000+ opening or perhaps as high as $200,000 if it can average $40,000 per theaters, which doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility when looking at a selection of comparable titles.

Additional limited releases include Magnolia's release of The Eyes of My Mother; IFC's Things to Come; and Distrib Films' Au nom de ma fille.

Overall we're looking at a weekend where the top twelve should gross around $82 million, about -9% compared to the same weekend last year.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Moana (3,875 theaters) - $26.3 M
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (3,988 theaters) - $16.5 M
  • Doctor Strange (2,935 theaters) - $7.2 M
  • Arrival (2,915 theaters) - $7.0 M
  • Allied (3,160 theaters) - $5.6 M
  • Trolls (3,156 theaters) - $4.2 M
  • Hacksaw Ridge (2,494 theaters) - $3.4 M
  • Incarnate (1,737 theaters) - $3.4 M
  • Almost Christmas (1,554 theaters) - $3.1 M
  • Bad Santa 2 (2,945 theaters) - $2.8 M

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