Although both films battled some close box office numbers throughout the week, audiences returned for Moana by the time the weekend hit, helping the Disney film earn its second weekend box office crown in a row.
The film, which stars the voices of Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson, earned $28.4 million, according to early box office returns provided by The Numbers, more than enough to top Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at $18.5 million.
The first weekend in December is traditionally a slower time for movie theaters as studios are waiting for the true start of the Christmas holiday season before releasing films, closer to the middle of the month. The only wide-release film this weekend was the horror film Incarnate starring Aaron Eckhart and Carice van Houten.
However, that film was basically a non-factor, earning $2.7 million and debuting at No. 9, according to early returns.
Moana has brought its 12-day total to $119.9 million. That moves it into the No. 20 slot for the year in domestic box office, moving ahead of Bad Moms and closing quickly on the $124.5 million of Sully. In fact, if Moana stays on its box office track, it could find itself fighting with Trolls for the No. 15 slot as early as next weekend.
Trolls is remaining strong, despite moving just out of the top five for the weekend. Its $4.6 million weekend, has brought its month-long total to $141.4 million.
But it does look like it will ultimately be passed by Moana, which isn’t the best news for Twentieth Century Fox’s animation unit that is looking to compete better with Disney.
Arrival continues to draw in new audiences despite more than three weeks in theaters. Its $7.3 million weekend was good enough for third, and was just a 36 percent drop from last week. That’s solid, compared to more typical 50 percent drops from films like Moana and Doctor Strange.
Speaking of the Benedict Cumberbatch film, Doctor Strange stayed just in the top five with $6.5 million, being just edged out by Paramount Pictures’ Allied. The Marvel film has brought its 31-day total to $215.3 million, keeping it at No. 10 domestically, but could likely be overtaken by Fantastic Beasts for the slot by the time the holiday movie season starts.
The top five films so far this weekend earned $67.8 million, according to early studio estimates. That’s down just slightly from a year ago when the top five films – led by an $18.9 million weekend from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – earned $71 million. Like this week, the only new film was a holiday horror flick, Krampus, which debuted at No. 2 with $16.3 million, pushing Disney’s The Good Dinosaur to third with $15.3 million.
The weekend, with no new major releases, was obviously down significantly from last week, when the top five films picked up $138.2 million, led by the $55 million opening from Moana.
There is just one more week of quiet box office before the real fun (aka Rogue One‘s opening) gets underway. But there are still some new films to look for.
Paramount will release Office Christmas Party starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, while both EuropaCorp and Focus Features will expand the releases of Miss Sloane and Nocturnal Animals.
Miss Sloane, starring Jessica Chastain and Mark Strong, earned an impressive $11,000 per screen this weekend, bringing its limited release total to just over $123,000. Nocturnal Animals from writer and director Tom Ford has now earned $2.7 million following a $690,000 weekend on just 127 screens.
That film stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon.