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Box Office: ‘Moana’ to Repeat No. 1 With $30 Million Weekend

Variety logo Variety 12/2/2016 Dave McNary
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Disney’s “Moana” is heading for an easy victory at a moderate box office with up to $30 million in North America in its second weekend at 3,875 locations, early estimates showed Friday.

First projections showed the animated comedy-drama taking in around $6.3 million on Friday for a weekend in the $28 million to $30 million range, which should push it to a $120 million domestic total. That’s an impressive performance for “Moana” as it declined by less than 50% from its first Friday-Sunday of $56.8 million.

The third week for the Warner Bros. film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” continues to draw decently with about $5.3 million on Friday, its 15th day of release. That projects out to as much a $20 million weekend for the Harry Potter spinoff, which should wind up the frame with around $185 million after 17 days.

The weekend’s only new entry is BH Tilt’s low-cost horror entry “Incarnate,” the story of a scientist who tries to help a possessed child. Friday grosses should hit around $1 million, and wind up with weekend in the $3 million range at 1,737 locations. The film, directed by “San Andreas” helmer Brad Peyton with Aaron Eckhart and Carice van Houten starring, grossed $120,000 from previews on Thursday night.

As with other BH Tilt releases, “Incarnate” uses targeted marketing to connect with horror fans and opens in fewer locations than the usual studio release. Its budget is in the vicinity of $5 million.

The one-two punch of “Moana” and “Fantastic Beasts” will be the only titles finishing above $10 million with the second weekend of  Brad Pitt’s “Allied” leading the rest of the pack with $2.3 million on Friday. “Allied” should hold respectably to wind up the weekend with about $8 million, giving the World War II thriller around $30 million by the end of the weekend.

The will be enough to top Marvel-Disney’s fifth weekend of “Doctor Strange” for third place as the Benedict Cumberbatch tentpole tallies another $6 million to $7 million. “Doctor Strange” will finish the frame with around $215 million domestically after 31 days.

Paramount’s fourth weekend of sci-fi thriller “Arrival” is pegged for a fifth place finish with about $6 million, which should give the awards contender about $70 million total. Fox’ fifth weekend of “Trolls” will follow in sixth with about $5 million, pushing the DreamWorks Animation title past $140 million.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, said studios recognize that the weekend  post-Thanksgiving slowdown strategy gives the marketplace a chance to catch its breath before launching back into a home stretch period that’s due to be dominated by Disney-Lucas film’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

He cited “Sing,” “Passengers,” Assassin’s Creed” plus “La La Land,” “Silence,” “Patriots Day” “Office Christmas Party,” “Fences” and Collateral Beauty” as notable movies opening later this month along with the continued expansion of Oscar-friendly titles such as “Moonlight,” “Loving,” “Manchester By The Sea,” “Lion” and “Miss Sloane.”

“Exceeding 2015’s record $11.135 billion may come down to the final days of the year with comps to last year’s final 14-day $652 million North American blockbuster earnings by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” making that task all the more challenging. But a new full year record is possible given the enormous depth and breadth of the titles set for one of the biggest movie going periods of this or any other year,” he added.

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