“Moana” impresses with Thanksgiving box office second to only “Frozen”


LOS ANGELES — Disney’s “Moana” sailed to No.1 at the box office over the long holiday weekend, with estimated ticket sales of $81.1 million — more than enough to bump last week’s chart-topper, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” to second place.

Even more encouraging for Disney, though, might be that “Moana,” an animated musical about a Polynesian princess on a mission to save her island, now holds the record for the second-biggest five-day Thanksgiving opening.

Its haul from Wednesday to Sunday beat that of Pixar’s “Toy Story 2,” which raked in $80.1 million in 1999. Early box-office returns for “Moana” came close to matching figures for 2013’s “Frozen,” which leads the five-day Thanksgiving list. But in the end, Disney’s summery adventure fell short of the wintry crown holder’s unsurpassed $93.5 million opening.

In fact, with the addition of “Moana” (and Disney’s 2006 acquisition of Pixar), nine of the 10 movies with the biggest Thanksgiving openings are Disney titles, according to Box Office Mojo, including “Tangled,” “The Good Dinosaur” and “Enchanted.”

“Moana,” with Dwayne Johnson as a tattooed demi-god who accompanies a princess (voiced by 16-year-old Auli’i Cravalho) on her journey, was helped to No.1 by rave reviews and an A grade from the audience-polling firm CinemaScore.

The animated film also benefited from widespread buzz about its songs co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the smash Broadway musical “Hamilton.”

Early Sunday, the “Moana” soundtrack sat at No. 3 on iTunes’ album chart, ahead of titles by Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Miranda Lambert.

Another family-oriented picture, Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” took in an estimated $65.7 million from Wednesday to Sunday.

The spinoff from the blockbuster “Harry Potter” franchise — it’s the first of five planned “Fantastic Beasts” titles — opened Nov. 18 and has taken in $156 million.

The more grown-up “Allied” — Paramount’s World War II drama directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Brad Pitt — brought in $18 million over the five-day weekend to debut at No. 4, behind Marvel’s returning “Doctor Strange,” which made $18.9 million.

Two other new movies failed to meet expectations.

Broad Green Pictures’ “Bad Santa 2,” with Billy Bob Thornton in the title role, opened to $9 million — considerably less than the $16 million analysts had predicted, and shy of the $16.8 million the first “Bad Santa” opened with in 2003.

And Warren Beatty’s “Rules Don’t Apply,” hampered by mixed reviews, disappointed with $2.1 million over five days in theaters.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Movies & TV

Chickpea tikka masala: It's not traditional, but it sure tastes great
Chickpea tikka masala: It's not traditional, but it sure tastes great

I once confessed that, as a lover of wordplay, I am drawn to every recipe I see whose name substitutes "chickpeas" for "chicken." When I recently ran into Chickpea Tikka Masala, I had to try it, even though I knew the "tikka" part of the name doesn't quite translate. (It means "pieces," and refers to the chunks...
Whole Foods has high standards for produce. So why does it let coffee get stale?
Whole Foods has high standards for produce. So why does it let coffee get stale?

The bag of Peruvian coffee from Toms Roasting says the beans are best used by Dec. 3. The bag of Kenyan beans from Allegro Coffee Roasters indicates they are good through Sept. 19, while the bag of Rwandan beans from One Village Coffee notes they were "roasted to perfection" on May 26. These coffees are among dozens sitting on the shelves...
Danny Meyer’s empire goes Roman with an indoor piazza
Danny Meyer’s empire goes Roman with an indoor piazza

NEW YORK — Danny Meyer’s infatuation with Rome goes back to his time there as a college student. Now the prolific restaurateur is about to open a small outpost of the Eternal City on the ground floor of a hotel in the NoMad neighborhood. The Redbury New York, formerly the Martha Washington Hotel, is where three years ago Meyer’s Union...
What you could be drinking this week: A two-star, $16 sparkler from France
What you could be drinking this week: A two-star, $16 sparkler from France

Here are more wines for summer: an enjoyable sparkler to get the party started, two rosés to help set the patio mood and a substantial red to wash down those robust meats off your grill. 3 stars Rhone Valley, France, $40 I've always liked this wine for its elegance and sophistication, in contrast to many Chateauneufs that are overpowering with...
Grill-smoked fish answers all your summer needs 
Grill-smoked fish answers all your summer needs 

My grandfather, a bricklayer by trade, fashioned his own smokehouse under the stairwell of a small Chicago bungalow. He filled it with fresh hams, homemade bacon and garlicky sausage to smoke for the family. The steps just outside that brick room proved the perfect gossip spot for my cousins and me. We always left his house smelling faintly of hardwood...
More Stories