‘Moana’ Completes Holiday Sweep, Finishing No. 1

By November 27, 2016


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them put up a valiant Thanksgiving weekend fight. And while the final tally for the Harry Potter prequel is better than many had anticipated, it still wasn’t enough to beat Disney’s holiday answer, Moana.

Starring Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson, Moana won the weekend box office with $55.5 million, bringing its five-day Thanksgiving total to $81.1 million.

moana character images medium tileNot only did that best Fantastic Beasts in its second week, but it also completed the redemption for Disney that stumbled last year with The Good Dinosaur, earning just $39.2 million on its opening for second place.

In fact, Moana‘s short weekend total was almost identical to what Good Dinosaur did its entire five-day opening.

But no one can fault the staying power of Fantastic Beasts. Starring Eddie Redmayne, the magical movie lost just 39 percent of its opening weekend audience, according to The Numbers, finishing with a very impressive $45.1 million. After Wednesday’s opening numbers, GeekNation tracked Moana to earn $62.7 million for its opening, compared to $44 million for Fantastic Beasts.

The five-day total for the Harry Potter film was $65.8 million, bringing its 10-day total to $156.2 million.

That puts Fantastic Beasts en route to a total domestic haul of just under $193 million, which would just put it in the top 10 (for now) ahead of Jason Bourne and behind Doctor Strange. The film currently is ranked 12th, according to The Numbers, behind Star Trek: Beyond‘s $158.8 million.

fantasticbeasts110916-SIDEFantastic Beasts has earned $142.7 million overseas, bringing its global total to $298.9 million. That’s good for 22nd on the worldwide chart, behind Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist and Now You See Me 2. The film should easily move into the top 15 once all the ticket sales are counted.

Moana may have a more difficult time working its way up the charts. While the $81.1 million opening is strong, even with weak competition next weekend, it has a long way to go to reach some of the other animated offerings this year. Moana is on track to earn a little less than $144 million domestically, which would rank it just above Kung Fu Panda 3 at No. 14.

Other animated offerings this year have done well. Finding Dory holds the top domestic spot overall with $486.3 million, followed by The Secret Life of Pets at No. 3 with $367.9 million, and Zootopia at No. 6 with $341.3 million.

The top five movies earned $138.2 million this weekend, down nearly 4 percent from last year when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 led the way. It is up more than 7 percent from last week, however, when the top five films – led by Fantastic Beasts – grossed $129 million.

Allied with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard debuted at No. 4 with $13 million, while Bad Santa 2 tripped on its way to just a $6.1 million opening. The original film opened at $12.3 million in 2003 on its way to $60.1 million. The latest film with Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates and Tony Cox will be lucky if it hits $12 million by the holiday season.

Another poor opening was from Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply, which debuted with $1.6 million, just good enough for the No. 12 slot.

lion-inset112716The big per-screen winner in early tallies was Weinstein Co.’s Lion starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman. Although it opened with just under $129,000, it earned an impressive $32,092 per screen, compared to $14,329 for Moana.

Only one new film is set to get a wide release next weekend, and it’s not expected to make much of a dent. The PG-13 horror Incarnate stars Carice van Houten, The Dark Knight‘s Aaron Eckhart and Gotham‘s David Mazouz.

In what could only be a bad sign, Incarnate does not appear to have been screened for critics. So there is probably no doubt moviegoers will see either Moana or Fantastic Beasts back on top for a second week when we do this all again next Sunday.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.