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With ‘Moana,’ Disney continues its domination of the Thanksgiving weekend box office

Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and the title teen heroine (Auli’i Cravalho) in Disney’s new “Moana.” (Courtesy of Disney 2016)
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DISNEY continues its all-time domination of Turkey Day film openings at the box office.

The Mouse House’s “Moana” grossed $81.1 million domestically over the five-day holiday weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, making it the second-biggest Thanksgiving-weekend debut ever.

“Moana” sits behind only Disney’s 2013 animated smash “Frozen” ($93.6 million), and notches in just ahead of Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 2” ($80.1 million). Disney now owns nine of the top 10 slots for five-day Thanksgiving debuts, not adjusting for inflation; the top five films on that list are all animated.

“Moana,” the tale of a Polynesian teenager who teams with a demigod to save her village, grossed an estimated $55.5 million domestically over the three-day weekend, the third-highest Thanksgiving total ever for a debut, behind “Frozen” and 1999’s “Toy Story 2” (again, not adjusted for inflation).

Nearly three-fourths of “Moana’s” viewership consisted of families, according to Box Office Mojo. The film that follows a young action heroine who, counter to Disney tradition, eschews being called a “princess,” drew mostly women; 55 percent of the audience was female.

‘Moana’ isn’t your typical Disney princess. She’s an action hero.

Disney also had the weekend’s No. 3 film: former champ “Doctor Strange” ($13.4 million for three days; $18.9 million for the five-day weekend). The Marvel film has topped $600 million worldwide.

WB’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” continued to perform strongly in North America ($45.1 million for three days; $65.8 million for five).

While Paramount’s new “Allied” ($13 million over three days; $18 million over five) disappointed in its debut, Fox’s “Rules Don’t Apply” ($1.57 million and $2.17 million) had the worst three-day, wide-opening debut of the year, and did historically poor for films opening in more than 2,000 theaters.


* Lin-Manuel Miranda, who contributes music to “Moana,” now has the No. 1 musical and the No. 1 movie in the land, both casts of which predominantly feature actors of color.

Read more:

Review: Disney’s ‘Moana’ is a breath of fresh island air

Why ‘Moana’s’ main demigod looks so much — and so little — like People’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’