Moana Sails Past Fantastic Beasts


Another long Thanksgiving weekend, another Disney princess atop the box office.

Three years ago, Disney’s Frozen climbed to the box office dais during the gobble-gob holiday, collecting a cool $67.4 million over the weekend and $93.6 million spanning the full five-day Thanksgiving span. The latter mark was an all-time record, incidentally, and hinted at the box office behemoth that Frozen would become.

Moana, Disney’s latest princess, didn’t quite best the mark set by Anna and Elsa in 2013, but it wasn’t too far off, either. The animated Polynesian adventure crested the box office wave this weekend, catching an estimated $55.5 million over the normal three-day weekend and a gob-smacking $81.1 million during the five-day holiday. That ranks just behind Frozen in the Thanksgiving box office record books, and just ahead Toy Story 2, yet another Disney product. In fact, according to Box Office Mojo, Disney now claims nine of the top 10 Thanksgiving weekend performances of all time (both three-day and five-day). No matter how you slice it, the Mouse House knows how to talk turkey.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them slid to second, but it didn’t go quietly. Over the traditional three-day weekend, Beasts earned $45.1 million—less than a 40% drop from last week and enough to keep Moana in its sights. And it far outdistanced Doctor Strange, which finished third with a mere $13.4 million. (Don’t feel too bad for the good doctor, though. Strange’s total gross for the year now stands at a tidy $205.1 million.)

Newcomer Allied took fourth place with $13 million—a bit of a disappointment for this Brad Pitt-helmed spy story. Arrival finished fifth with $11.3 million, which left two new movies lost in the box office hinterlands.

Bad Santa 2 finished a truly terrible eighth, earning $6.1 million. (And if those attendees feel the same way about the movie as our own Bob Hoose did, they might be pushing to receive refunds.) But Bad Santa wasn’t as bad, box office wise, as Rules Don’t Apply. Warren Beatty’s return to the silver screen netted just a handful of coppers: The film’s $1.6 million three-day opening was literally the poorest wide release of 2016.

Final figures update: 1. Moana, $56.6 million; 2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, $45.1 million; 3. Doctor Strange, $13.7 million; 4. Allied $12.7 million; 5. Arrival, $11.5 million.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I'm not too interested in seeing Moana, mostly because I don't care about the directors' past films. 

But hey, Moana is a family film, and it's great to see family movies undergoing big success!
Caleb Van Nice More than 1 year ago
... really? They had some really solid films in their past in my opinion, Aladdin, Great Mouse Detective, Hercules, etc.