Box Office ReportDisney

‘Moana’ Enjoys 1st Place Launch in the U.S., But Opens Soft in China

Moana, directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, powered its way to a first-place opening weekend of $55.5 million (estimated), and a five-day Thanksgiving period of $81.1 million. It marks the second largest five-day Thanksgiving opening of all-time behind the $93.6m debut of Frozen in 2013.

While marking a solid opening for Walt Disney Animation Studios, the opening significantly lags the three-day opening weekends of the studio’s biggest recent hits—the aforementioned Frozen which took in $67.4m and Zootopia which bowed earlier this year with $75.1m. The three-day was roughly on a par with the $56.2m opening of Big Hero 6 in 2014, though the appeal of Moana should propel the film well past the gross of the Disney actioner.

Another way to look at it: adjusted for inflation, the $80.1m five-day Thanksgiving opening of Pixar’s Toy Story 2 would be $135.7m today. The five-day audience for that film was 15.8 million people, while Moana’s audience drew in around 9.4 million people.

How high Moana will go in terms of worldwide box office remains an open question since the film has only rolled out in a handful of territories. The film launched in China last Friday pulling in $12.1m over three days, a soft opening that significantly trailed the simultaneous $39.7m opening of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

A big reason that Frozen and Zootopia posted billion-plus grosses is because they were huge hits in Japan and China, respectively. For Moana to post a similar gross, it will also need to find a major international territory in which it outperforms.

Some other box office notes:

Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets has squeaked by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to become the fifth-highest-grossing movie worldwide in 2016. The animated feature has grossed $873.7m to Batman v Superman’s $873.3m. This marks the first time in film history that three of the top five grossers in a calendar year were animated features; the other two animated entries in the top five are Finding Dory and Zootopia.

Dreamworks’ Trolls dropped from 3rd to 6th place, with $10.3m in its fourth U.S. weekend. The domestic total stands at $135.1m, now guaranteed to surpass the gross of Dreamworks’ other 2016 release, Kung Fu Panda 3, which pulled in $143.5m. While Trolls will outperform KFP3 in the U.S., it remains to be seen whether its worldwide gross will beat Po and friends. Worldwide total for Trolls is currently $291m, while the total of KFP3 is $519.9m.

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