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Weekend Box Office: Moana Easily Tops Slow Post-Thanksgiving Box Office

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By Chris Kavan - 12/04/16 at 09:18 PM CT

As I predicted (though it wasn't a very tough prediction), the top five films all stayed the same - though Doctor Strange fell a bit more than expected. Otherwise, the week's big release barely had any impact at the box office, though it was much better news for the latest limited release. Overall, compared to last year the weekend was in a near virtual tie with the top 12 from 2015. Things should begin to heat back up in the next few weeks, so let's just put this quiet week behind us, shall we?


Dropping 50% in the second weekend, Moana easily topped the box office with a $28.37 million weekend. That drop is actually an improvement over the likes of The Good Dinosaur (60% second-week drop) as well as the likes of Tangled (55%), Frozen (53%) and even Toy Story 2 (51%). That's good news, as is the fact the film already stands at nearly $120 million. While it will probably not play as well over time as Frozen - simply for the fact it has Sing (not to mention Rogue One) to deal with. Still, it's looking at a total in the $250-$260 million range given its current status - certainly more than making up for its reported $150 million price tag. It continues to roll out slowly worldwide, where it has made $57 million thus far ($21 million from China alone). This one will stick around for December at least - we'll see how it weathers the competition.


The Harry Potter spinoff continues to cast a magic spell over the box office. Dropping about 59%, Fantastic Beasts pulled in another $18.54 million over the weekend, raising its total to $183.5 million and blowing across the $175 million milestone in the process. The good news for this new franchise is that it is playing more like a typical Harry Potter movie as opposed to a Twilight or Hunger Games sequel. That means it is holding up better in its third weekend than those films (nearly matching the 58% of The Sorcerer's Stone, in fact). This film is also looking at around a $250 million total and it has done very well worldwide - $607.9 million total, enough to hit 10th place, just behind Doctor Strange ($634 million and counting). And yes, you bet Disney is going to milk this for all it's worth.


Having a bit of a resurgence, the sci-fi drama Arrival jumped from 5th to 3rd place, dipping just 36.4% in its fourth weekend, bringing in $7.3 million for a new $73.07 million total. Arrival is apparently the adult film of choice right now, and it has enough buzz to keep it going. It crossed the $100 million mark worldwide, which means it has already doubled its $50 million budget - we'll see if it has enough steam to cross $100 million in the U.S. alone, though with competition on the way, that mark may be just out of its reach. Still, as we know older audiences typically give films like this much longer legs, I wouldn't count it out.


Although its opening was on the underwhelming side, Allied managed a decent hold in its second weekend (down 44%) and held on to its 4th place position with $7.05 million. That gives the film a new total of just under $29 million. That means there's a better shot for the film to hit $50 million domestically - still not a home run, but a better-than-expected result none-the-less. The story of success on this front is going to be the foreign total (which has brought in $24.8 million thus far). Allied should have done better than it has, but if it can hold out through December, it won't be a total disaster.


With adults embracing other films and Moana and Fantastic Beasts bringing in the rest, Doctor Strange kind of wound up on the short end of the weekend stick. Still, its 52% drop in its 5th weekend is still a decent hold. It added $6.48 million for a new total of $215.3 million. It's worldwide total (as reported above) stands at $634.9 million - topping both Iron Man ($585 million) and Iron Man 2 ($623 million) and quickly approaching Thor: The Dark World ($642 million). In terms of Marvel films, it is in 9th place domestically and 8th place worldwide, and likely to rise further on both lists - for a couple of weeks until Rogue One crashes everyone's party.

Outside the top five: The horror film Incarnate (apparently Inception meets the Exorcist) didn't screen for critics (big surprise) but horror fans didn't come out in any force. At $2.66 million, the film barely cracked the top 10, coming in 9th place. That's low, even for a horror film. Comparatively, Green Inferno opened to $3.5 million and went on to gross $7.19 million. If this film follows the same route, it will close with just over $5 million. The film's price tag is right around that mark, so it's likely to no quite break even though I'm sure we'll get plenty more low-budget horror films in the future that will be worth the effort.

In better news, the new limited-release darling is Jackie. The film starring Natalie Portman as the first lady opened in five theaters with $275,000 for a nice $55,000 per-theater average. Speaking of impressive limited release films, following a win from the National Board of Review and a slew of nominations from the Critics Choice Awards, Manchester by the Sea added 108 theaters (for a 156 theater total) and jumped nearly 93%, landing just outside the top 10 in 11th place with $2.63 million and a new total of $4.42 million.

Next week brings us a new adult-targeting drama, Miss Sloane, along with the comedy Office Christmas Party. We'll see how they do in the face of the current competition.


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