Disney’s island adventure “Moana” topped the box office going into the five-day Thanksgiving weekend Wednesday, raking in an estimated $15.7 million and beating “Frozen’s” $15.1 million first-day record during the same time period in 2013.
If the film continues to track ahead of expectations it could beat “Frozen’s” all-time Thanksgiving opening weekend record of $93.6 million. Industry projections have been putting “Moana” at closer to $90 million.
The film, which stars Dwayne Johnson as the voice of a Polynesian demigod named Maui, is likely benefiting from positive word of mouth. It received an A Cinemascore from audiences and has a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The weekend’s other three openings — Paramount’s “Allied,” Miramax and Broad Green’s “Bad Santa 2” and 20th Century Fox’s “The Rules Don’t Apply” — did not break into the top three. Those coveted spots went to Warner Bros. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which nabbed $11 million for a domestic total of $101.5 million, and Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” which took in an additional $3 million, upping its domestic total to more than $192 million.
The Thanksgiving weekend box office is ruled by kids out of school for a four-day vacation, and their parents. This is possibly hurting adult fare like “Allied,” which stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cottillard as lovers during World War II. That film came in fourth place Wednesday, grossing $2.7 million. It suffered from lukewarm reviews including a 64% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a B Cinemascore.
Matters were worse for the Billy Bob Thornton comedy “Bad Santa 2,” which pulled in a disappointing $1.6 million, slightly under what the original “Bad Santa” grossed on its opening day back in 2003. Its performance Wednesday put it in seventh place. The sequel, about derelict Santa impersonator Willie Soke, did not fare well with critics. It got a dismal 24% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a C-plus Cinemascore.
The Warren Beatty-directed “Rules Don’t Apply,” about employees of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, fell out of the weekend’s Top 10, landing in the 11th spot with $315,000.