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Disney Animation Studios’ animated family film Moana continued to dominate at the Thanksgiving box office, grossing an estimated $21.8 million on Friday for a projected five-day holiday debut in the $80 million-plus range, according to early estimates.
But there was no celebrating Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply, which opened against Moana on Wednesday. It had to settle for scraps on Friday, grossing just $600,000 from 2,382 runs as it heads for a five-day gross of just over $2 million.
Throughout the nation’s multiplexes, though, the tune was basically upbeat. Overall domestic box office crossed the $10 billion mark on Friday. It’s the fastest time it has ever reached that level — in 2012 and 2013, it reached $10 billion on Dec. 8 and Dec. 7, respectively, and last year, which registered a record $11.13 billion by Dec. 31, the domestic box office didn’t reach $10 billion until Dec. 18. So 2016 is shaping up as a banner year.
Despite its strong opening, Moana is not on target to best fellow Disney title Frozen ($93.6 million) to score the top five-day Thanksgiving opening of all time. Instead, it should rank No. 2. Among all films, the top five-day Thanksgiving gross belongs to 2013’s The Hunger Games — Catching Fire ($109.9 million), followed by Frozen.
Moana sports glowing reviews and an A CinemaScore. Newcomer Auli’i Cravalho voices the role of the titular heroine, a young princess living in ancient Polynesia who goes in search of a demigod (voiced by Dwayne Johnson). Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music with Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina.
The contest between Moana and Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling opened last weekend, won’t even be close. Fantastic Beasts — certainly no slouch — earned $18.6 million on Friday from 4,144 theaters for a projected five-day gross in the $65 million range. The movie passed the $100 million domestic mark on Wednesday, and should finish the holiday weekend with well north of $350 million worldwide. On Friday, Fantastic Beasts collected $27.4 million abroad, bringing its international number to $227.1 million.
Among the new films that opened on Wednesday, Rules Don’t Apply looks as if it may not even crack the weekend’s top 10 when final numbers are tallied. The long-in-the-making movie 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. In addition to directing, Beatty plays Hughes in his first feature role since 2001’s Town & Country. Annette Bening, Beatty’s wife, and Matthew Broderick also star.
Elsewhere, Robert Zemeckis‘ World War II spy thriller Allied, starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, appears headed for a five-day launch of about $18 million from 3,160 theaters after collecting an estimated $4.9 million on Friday and ranking fourth for the weekend. In the pic, Pitt plays a Canadian intelligence officer living in London who discovers that his French wife (Cotillard) may not be the kindred spy he thought she was. Allied is the first test of Pitt’s star status following his divorce from Angelina Jolie.
Allied earned a B CinemaScore, while Rules Don’t Apply received a B-.
Allied is coming in somewhat behind expectations, and Bad Santa 2 even more so. The black comedy — once again starring Billy Bob Thornton as the ultimate anti-holiday hero, Willie Soke — hoped to debut in the mid-teen millions, but may struggle to get to $10 million from 2,920 theaters after grossing only $2.3 million on Friday.
Mark S. Waters directed the sequel, which also stars Kathy Bates, Tony Cox and Brett Kelly. Bad Santa was a sleeper hit when it bowed to $16 million over the long Thanksgiving corridor in 2003 and topped out at $60 million domestically. The pic has been snubbed by both critics and moviegoers, who gave it a C+ CinemaScore.
Among holdovers, Disney and Marvel’s Doctor Strange placed third for the day on Friday as it pulled in an additional $5.4 million, putting its current domestic tally at $197.2 million, setting it up to cross the $200 million mark on Saturday.
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