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Disney's Moana lands one of best five-day openings of all-time in US


Story by Jack Foley

DISNEY’S Moana has scored one of the best five day openings of all-time at the US box office over Thanksgiving Weekend.

The animated offering took a whopping $81.1 million, enough to beat holdover Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which placed second in its sophomore run with a robust $65.8 million for a US total of $156.2 million.

Heading into the weekend, Moana had a lot of things playing in its favour for another box office massive success for Disney. Critics loved it, while the presence of box office stalwart Dwayne Johnson, who voices a demigod enlisted by a fierce young Polynesian princess, also helped.

At the other end of the spectrum, several other new releases struggled. Warren Beatty’s directorial and acting comeback Rules Don’t Apply bombed with a five-day gross of $2.2 million from 2,382 cinemas. The figure marked one of the worst starts ever for a title going out in more than 2,000 venues.

The film is Beatty’s ode to old Hollywood and tells the story of a young woman (Lily Collins) and man (Alden Ehrenreich) who work for Howard Hughes.

Another new release to struggle, though not as badly, was R-rated sequel Bad Santa 2, which opened well below expectations with $9 million over five days, for a seventh place finish.

Heading into the weekend, the studio had hoped for something in the mid-teen range, which would have been roughly in line with the original’s $16 million over the long Thanksgiving weekend in 2003.

Mark S. Waters directed the sequel, which brings back Billy Bob Thornton in the title role, as well as Kathy Bates, Tony Cox and Brett Kelly.

The other main new release, Robert Zemeckis’ World War II spy thriller Allied, fared the best after Moana, with $18 million. However, given the presence of an A-list director in Zemeckis, plus two attractive stars in Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, the figure still marked a disappointing return for a film that cost 85 million to make. It placed fourth.

It meant Marvel’s Doctor Strange remained in third place with a five-day gross of $18.9 million. Globally, the film has now taken $616 million.

Rounding out the top five is Amy Adams’ sci-fi stunner Arrival, which has now taken well over $60 million in the US alone.

Internationally, the box office was generated by JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts, which topped the chart with a whopping $132 million for a total $317.5 million and global haul of $473.7 million.

Moana, by contrast, is rolling out slowly overseas, where it took in $16.3 million this weekend from its first handful of territories, including $12.3 million in China. It opens in the UK on Friday.

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