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Weekend Wrap-up: Moana Takes on Beast Over Thanksgiving Weekend

November 29th, 2016


As expected, Moana earned first place over the Thanksgiving weekend and became the biggest true opener in the holiday’s history. (Technically Frozen opened in limited release the week before and as we learned from Futurama, technically correct is the best kind of correct.) The film was a little more front-loaded than expected and nearly matched our predictions. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them held on better than predicted and that one-two punch helped the overall box office grow 17% from last weekend to $184 million, over the three-day portion of the weekend. This is nearly identical to the same weekend last year; in fact, it was up by less than 1%. Year-to-date, 2016 has pulled in $9.99 billion. 2016 will soon become the eighth year in a row to reach the $10 billion milestone. This is 5.0% / $470 million above last year’s pace. I’ve been saying for a while that we needed to enter December with a $300 million advantage over 2015 in order to come out ahead at the end of the year, so this is great news.

Moana opened in first place during Thanksgiving with $56.63 million / $82.08 million. No film has opened with more than that and it is the fifth best 5-day Thanksgiving weekend of all time. As for its legs, there are some good signs and some bad signs. The film broke the record for biggest Tuesday Previews for an animated film and its opening day topped Frozen’s first day of wide release. However, it then slipped faster than The Good Dinosaur did, which is troubling. On the other hand, the film’s reviews are 98% positive and the film earned a solid A from CinemaScore. I don’t think it will have the same legs as Frozen did, but it will last in theaters longer than The Good Dinosaur. Let’s use Tangled as a guide. If Moana does as well as Tangled did, it will pull in $240 million domestically and about $650 million worldwide. That would be an excellent result.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them fell just 39% to $45.08 million / $65.55 million over the weekend for a ten-day total of $156.01 million. The film will have no trouble getting to $200 million, but it is on pace to be the weakest installment in the franchise.

Doctor Strange added $13.74 million / $19.54 million over the weekend for a total of $205.78 million after four weeks of release. At this pace, the film will have no trouble getting to $225 million domestically and $650 million worldwide, and that’s before it debuts in Japan in January. This is below average for the MCU, but that’s hardly an insult.

Allied opened in fourth place with $12.70 million / $17.73 million over the weekend. Its reviews combined with its more mature target audience should help its legs. However, the film cost anywhere from $65 million to $85 million, so unless it has incredible legs, it will be enough miss for Paramount in a particularly bad year for the distributor.

Arrival was a surprise entrant in the top five earning $11.45 million / $15.77 million over the weekend for a three-week total of $62.56 million. The film will finish with an estimated $80 million domestically, which will be almost enough to cover its entire production budget. If it can top that internationally, then it will break even before it reaches the home market. Even if it can’t, it will break even, eventually.

Bad Santa 2 bombed with just $6.18 million / $9.10 million over the weekend, while its theater average and terrible reviews will ensure short legs.

Bad Santa 2 pulled in MCU-like numbers when compared to Rules Don’t Apply, which missed the top ten with $1.59 million / $2.18 million. Its theater average was a mere $667, putting it in a rare club of films that opened in more than 2,000 theaters, but with a theater average of less than $1,000. In fact, it is the worst such opening of the year.

There were three films in the sophomore class that didn’t reach the top five. The biggest of these was The Edge of Seventeen, which fell to 10th place with $2.97 million / $4.22 million over the weekend for a total of $10.27 million after ten days of release. It could have made $10.27 million during its opening weekend and it still not been a midlevel hit. Bleed for This plummeted 61% over the three-day weekend to just $921,000 for a total of $4.22 million. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk was even worse down 77% to just $204,000 over the weekend for a running tally of $1.59 million. Neither film will last in theaters for more than two weeks.

- Weekend Box Office Chart

- Moana Comparisons
- Allied Comparisons
- Bad Santa 2 Comparisons
- Rules Don’t Apply Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Wrap-up, Moana, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Doctor Strange, The Edge of Seventeen, Arrival, Bleed for This, Allied, Bad Santa 2, Rules Don’t Apply, Harry Potter, Futurama, Marvel Cinematic Universe