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‘Office Christmas Party’ Could Top ‘Moana’ With $17 Million at Box Office

Will T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston comedy edge out Dwayne ”The Rock“ Johnson animated hit?

It looks like the Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman-led ensemble comedy “Office Christmas Party” could have just enough mistletoe to boot Disney’s “Moana” from first position at this weekend’s box office.

“Moana” earned $4.5 million on Friday in its third weekend, playing in 3,875 locations. But the new holiday-themed comedy made $6.6 million on Friday and should finish up the weekend with $17 million to possibly edge out Disney’s hit animated holdover (though some estimates have “Moana” topping $19 million, thanks to kid-friendly weekend matinees, which would beat “Christmas Party”).

“Office Christmas Party” has a somewhat low 44 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a B CinemaScore (given by those surveyed on opening night).

Estimates differed earlier this week leading up to the debut of the Paramount, DreamWorks and Reliance Entertainment title, which is the only new wide release in theaters this weekend — a historically low-performing one at the box office.

Trackers had the R-rated comedy opening anywhere between $20 million and $29 million — which would foreseeably be more than enough to rise above Disney’s animated hit in its third weekend.

But Paramount’s own projections early last week painted a very different picture, with numbers in a much more conservative range of $13 million to $15 million — in line with the opening of the also R-rated “Sisters,” which debuted to $13 million at this time last year.

The lower end of estimates made the movie an iffy bet for No. 1 — still not impossible — but a more sure shot at No. 2.

“Office Christmas Party” also stars T.J. Miller, Olivia Munn, Jillian Bell, Courtney B. Vance, Rob Corddry and Kate McKinnon and was helmed by directing duo Josh Gordon and Will Speck (2007’s “Blades of Glory”). It was made for $45 million, not counting marketing costs, and is playing in 3,210 locations.

Meanwhile, indie movies “Miss Sloane” and “Nocturnal Animals” have expanded wide this weekend.

EuropaCorp’s “Miss Sloane,” which enters its third weekend as it fan out into more theaters, is now expected to make roughly $2 million. Jessica Chastain’s R-rated mystery, which has a 62 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and an A- CinemaScore, centers on the most formidable lobbyist in Washington, D.C., as she takes on a powerful opponent. It has so far amassed $138,365 in its very limited release.

Focus Features’ moody thriller “Nocturnal Animals” expands in its fourth weekend and is expected to earn close to $4 million. It has grossed $3 million so far in limited release.

Written and directed by fashion designer and filmmaker Tom Ford, it stars Amy Adams as an art gallery owner who can’t shake threatening thoughts inspired by the writings of her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal), who penned a violent revenge-themed novel which she takes to heart. It has a 72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Office Christmas Party” stars Aniston as a company CEO trying to thwart the success of her hard-partying brother (Miller) and his CTO (Bateman).

The two guys have to rally their co-workers and host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client and close a sale that will save their jobs.