Box office hits and misses: Disney’s ‘Moana’ sails to huge, five-day holiday weekend

Rick Marshall
Digital Trends
box office moana allied fantastic beasts bad santa
box office moana allied fantastic beasts bad santa

Theater audiences feasted on Disney’s latest animated feature over the Thanksgiving weekend, propelling the critically praised Moana to the second biggest five-day opening for any film released during the November holiday.

The film, which casts Dwayne Johnson as a Polynesian demigod assisting a young girl on a quest to save her people, raked in $81.1 million across the five-day span encompassing the Thanksgiving holiday and the subsequent weekend. This put the film under the record-setting $93.6 million that Disney’s Frozen earned over the same five-day span in 2013, and ahead of the $80.1 million opening for Toy Story 2 over the Thanksgiving holiday in 1999.

More: ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ review

The success of Moana over the Thanksgiving holiday continued a trend set by Disney over the years, with nine of the top ten highest-grossing films over the five-day span — and the three-day span following the holiday — all hailing from the studio. It wasn’t all sunshine and surf for the weekend’s new releases, though.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. Moana $81.1M $81.1M $97.4M
2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them $65.7M $156.2M $473.7M
3. Doctor Strange $18.8M $205M $615.9M
4. Allied $18M $18M $27.4M
5. Arrival $15.6M $62.3M $93.2M
6. Trolls $14.2M $135.1M $291M
7. Almost Christmas $9.5M $36.6M $36.7M
8. Bad Santa 2 $9M $9M $9M
9. Hacksaw Ridge $7.7M $52.2M $52.2M
10. The Edge of Seventeen $4.2M $10.2M $10.2M

Neither Brad Pitt’s war drama Allied nor Billy Bob Thornton’s raunchy sequel Bad Santa 2 managed to make good on their premieres, with the former failing to cross $20 million domestically and the latter failing to surpass $10 million. Both movies opened well below their respective studios’ hopes, with Allied in particular under-shooting its $85 million budget.

As for the rest of the weekend’s top ten films, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them dropped to second place with a respectable $65.7 million in U.S. theaters and a worldwide gross that now sits at approximately $473.7 million — good for 13th place among the year’s highest-grossing films in only its second week in theaters. The five-day weekend’s third-place film, Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange, added another $18.8 million to its domestic total and moved past the entire domestic grosses of fellow Marvel movies Thor, Ant-Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Incredible Hulk.

Also enjoying a positive week-to-week evolution was acclaimed alien-encounter film Arrival, which matched its overwhelmingly positive reviews with a $15.6 million third weekend in theaters — a drop of only 7.3 percent from the prior weekend and a great indication that the well-received film will have a long, productive run.

The upcoming weekend is a relatively light one for new releases, with Natalie Portman’s biopic Jackie — in which she plays former First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy — and Shia LaBeouf’s war drama Man Down debuting as the most high-profile new films. Expect to see many of this week’s biggest films continue to top the box-office chart.