Heading into this holiday weekend, it was expected that last weekend's winner, the Harry Potter spin-off, would not repeat at the box office, going up against four high-profile new releases. The box office hit went up against four new titles that all opened in wide release on Wednesday, Disney's Moana, Paramount's Allied, Broad Green Pictures' Bad Santa 2 and 20th Century Fox's Rules Don't Apply. As expected, Moana easily took the top spot with a three-day weekend tally of $55.5 million, and a five-day total of $81.1 million.
Box Office Mojo reports that Moana opened in 3,875 theaters this weekend, with an impressive $14,329 per-screen average. No budget figures were released for this animated adventure, which came in quite lower than Disney's hit animated movies such as Frozen ($67.3 million) and Zootopia ($75 million). Both of those films ended up earning over $1 billion worldwide during their full theatrical runs, but it remains to be seen whether or not Moana can reach that box office milestone.
Out of the four new releases, Disney's animated adventure is by far the most critically-acclaimed, with an amazing 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with just three negative reviews out of 121. Allied is also on the "Fresh" side with a 62% rating, although the other two new releases haven't fared so well. Rules Don't Apply falls just barely under the "Fresh" threshold with a 57% rating, while Bad Santa 2 has a 25% rating so far. Last weekend's winner Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them dropped to second place with $45.1 million, dropping just 39.4%, bringing its domestic total to $156.2 million, from a $180 million budget. Marvel's Doctor Strange only dropped 24.7% to drop to third place with $13.3 million.
In the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore. Dwayne Johnson leads the voice cast as Maui, with newcomer Auli'i Cravalho voicing the title character. The supporting voice cast is rounded out by Alan Tudyk as Heihei, Nicole Scherzinger as Sina and Jemaine Clement as Tamatoa.
Allied debuted in fourth place with $13 million, earning a middling $4,114 per-screen average from 3,160 theaters, with Arrival rounding out the top 5 with $11.2 million. Allied is the story of intelligence officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), who in 1942 North Africa encounters French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Reunited in London, their relationship is threatened by the extreme pressures of the war. The supporting cast includes Jared Harris, Lizzy Caplan, Simon McBurney, Matthew Goode, Anton Lesser and Raffey Cassidy.
Bad Santa 2 opened in eighth place with $6.1 million, earning a a paltry $2,091 per-screen average from 2,920 theaters. Bad Santa 2 returns Academy Award-winner Billy Bob Thornton to the screen as America's favorite anti-hero, Willie Soke. Fueled by cheap whiskey, greed and hatred, Willie teams up once again with his angry little sidekick, Marcus (Tony Cox), to knock off a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve. Along for the ride is 'the kid' - chubby and cheery Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), a 250-pound ray of sunshine who brings out Willie's sliver of humanity. Mommy issues arise when the pair are joined by Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy-winner Kathy Bates, as Willie's horror story of a mother, Sunny Soke. A super butch super bitch, Sunny raises the bar for the gang's ambitions, while somehow lowering the standards of criminal behavior. Willie is further burdened by lusting after the curvaceous and prim Diane, played by Emmy Award-nominee Christina Hendricks, the charity director with a heart of gold and libido of steel.
Rules Don't Apply failed to even crack the top 10, opening in 12th place with $1.5 million. The film earned a horrendous $661 per-screen average from 2,382 theaters. Rules Don't Apply follows the unconventional love story of an aspiring actress (Lily Collins), her determined driver (Alden Ehrenreich), and the eccentric billionaire (Warren Beatty) who they work for. It's Hollywood, 1958. Small town beauty queen and devout Baptist Marla Mabrey (Collins), under contract to the infamous Howard Hughes (Beatty), arrives in Los Angeles. At the airport, she meets her personal driver Frank Forbes (Ehrenreich), only two weeks on the job and also from a religiously conservative background. Their instant attraction not only puts their religious convictions to the test, but also defies Hughes' #1 rule: no employee is allowed to have an intimate relationship with a contract actress. But Hughes' absurd behavior intersects with Marla and Frank in very separate and unexpected ways, and as they are drawn deeper into his bizarre world, their values are challenged and their lives are changed.
The top 10 is rounded out by Trolls ($10.3 million), Almost Christmas ($7.6 million), Bad Santa 2 ($6.1 million), Hacksaw Ridge ($5.4 million) and The Edge of Seventeen ($2.9 million). Opening in limited release this weekend was The Weinstein Company's Lion, which earned $128,368 from four theaters for an impressive $32,092 per-screen average. EuropaCorp's Miss Sloane earned $63,000 from three theaters for a $31,000 per-screen average. Oscilloscope Pictures' Always Shine earned just $4,500 from one theaters, while, IFC's Evolution earned $6,927 from three theaters for a $2,309 per-screen average. No box office data was given for Independent's Kill Command and Strand's documentary Mifune: The Last Samurai.
Looking ahead to next weekend, the High Top Releasing thriller Incarnate is the only movie to arrive in wide release, with a slew of films arriving in limited release. Fox Searchlight's awards contender Jackie arrives alongside Archstone's drama Anonymous, First Run's documentary Best and Most Beautiful Things, Magnolia's horror-thriller The Eyes of My Mother, GVN Releasing's drama A Girl Like Grace, Distrib Films' drama In Her Name and IFC's drama Things to Come will have have limited debuts this weekend. Take a look at the box office estimates for the weekend of November 25, and check back on Tuesday for next week's predictions.