×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Thanksgiving Box Office: Disney’s ‘Moana’ to Feast on Brad Pitt’s ‘Allied,’ ‘Bad Santa 2’

Disney has been drawing a lot of aces lately. From “Doctor Strange” to “Zootopia” to “Finding Dory,” the studio has amassed an impressive streak of blockbusters. “Moana,” its latest animated offering, will continue that hot hand.

The adventure about a girl from the Pacific islands who journeys across the ocean with a demigod will be the de facto choice for families when it debuts over Thanksgiving. The film is expected to sail to the top of the holiday box office, earning $75 million over the five-day period. It will premiere in more than 3,800 theaters, the majority of which will offer 3D showings. Disney didn’t release a budget, but most of the studio’s animated films cost north of $150 million. “Moana” features the voice of Dwayne Johnson and music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton.”

The biggest competition for “Moana” will be the second week of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the Harry Potter spinoff that debuted last weekend to a hefty $75 million. It could do nearly as much business over the holiday, but will attract a slightly older crowd given its PG-13 rating. Most box office watchers expect the fantasy film to pull in between $50 million to $60 million for the holiday stretch.

There’s not a lot of breathing room this Turkey Day, given that four wide releases will elbow their way into crowded multiplexes. The sheer onslaught of gaudy titles featuring the likes of Brad Pitt and Warren Beatty, to say nothing of the Disney and Potter fans who will be lured to the theaters, will boost revenues, but probably won’t be enough to establish a new record. The previous Thanksgiving holiday high point was set in 2013, as the combination of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Frozen” drove the box office to a massive $294.6 million over the five-day period.

“That would be a tough number to beat,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. “There’s a great lineup of movies from a quality perspective, though I’m not sure we can post huge numbers like some of the bigger Thanksgiving weekends.”

In 2013, there were a lot more options for moviegoers with children. This Thanksgiving is more focused on adult ticket-buyers. For starters, there’s “Allied,” an R-rated spy thriller with Pitt and Marion Cotillard adding some sizzle as a husband and wife team of double-crossing agents. The $80 million production was directed by Robert Zemeckis, who could use a hit after his 3D drama “The Walk” flopped last year. It should pull in $20 million for the five-day period. Paramount will release the film across 3,000 locations.

Parents will also likely be steering their kids clear of “Bad Santa 2,” a follow-up to the 2003 cult hit about a sozzled department store Saint Nick. Billy Bob Thornton, who oozed whiskey and invective in the first film, returns as the title character with Kathy Bates taking on the role of his mother. Broad Green and Miramax teamed on the picture, which should make $16 million over the five-day holiday. The very raunchy comedy cost $26 million to make.

That leaves “Rules Don’t Apply,” a romantic drama that represents Beatty’s return to filmmaking after a hiatus of more than a decade. The love story about a two young people who fall in love while employed by eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes is being distributed by Fox. It has been a passion project of Beatty for nearly as long as he’s been in the business. However, tastes have changed since Beatty was making the likes of “Shampoo” and “Reds.” Star power isn’t what it once was and studios are more interested in backing superhero films than movie for grown-ups. To get the project off the ground, Beatty tapped a Rolodex of one-percenters that includes Brett Ratner, Steve Bing, and Steven Mnuchin, one of the rumored candidates to become treasury secretary under Donald Trump. Reviews have been mixed, but Beatty remains a Hollywood legend with a following. Look for “Rules Don’t Apply” to bring in $8 million over its first five days.

For Disney, the success of “Moana” puts the studio tantalizingly close to an industry record. The company has already achieved its best-ever year, and should pass the $6.89 billion high-water mark that Universal established in 2015 over the coming weeks. Not only does Disney have “Moana,” there’s a little film called “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” set to take the Christmas box office by storm. Thanksgiving will be a mere appetizer for the house of Mickey.

More Film

  • 'The Dirt' Review: A Mötley Crüe

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

  • Zac Efron Amanda Seyfried

    Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried Join Animated Scooby-Doo Film as Fred and Daphne

    Zac Efron has signed on to voice Fred Jones while Amanda Seyfried will voice Daphne Blake in Warner Bros.’ animated Scooby-Doo feature film “Scoob.” It was revealed earlier this month that Will Forte had been set to voice Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, while Gina Rodriguez would be voicing Velma Dinkley. The mystery-solving teens and their talking [...]

  • 'Staff Only' Review: Cultures And Values

    Film Review: 'Staff Only'

    Marta (Elena Andrada) is 17, from Barcelona and alternately bored and mortified to be on a Christmas vacation to Senegal with her estranged dad, Manel (Sergi López), and annoying little brother, Bruno (Ian Samsó). For her, the freedoms of imminent adulthood, such as the occasional poolside mojito, are tantalizing close but still technically forbidden, rather [...]

  • Rocketman

    Candid 'Rocketman' Dares to Show Elton John as 'Vulnerable,' 'Damaged,' 'Ugly'

    Elton John movie “Rocketman” dares to portray the singer’s personality early in his career to have been, at times, “ugly,” Taron Egerton – who plays the pop star – told an audience at London’s Abbey Road Studios Friday, following a screening of 15 minutes of footage from the film. It is a candid portrayal, showing [...]

  • Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck's Addiction Drama Set for Awards-Season Release

    Warner Bros. has given Ben Affleck’s untitled addiction drama an awards-season-friendly release date of Oct. 18. The film, which has been known previously as “The Has-Been” and “Torrance,” is directed by Gavin O’Connor and stars Affleck as a former basketball player struggling with addiction, which has led to him losing his wife. As part of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content