Box Office Prediction: Moana vs. Fantastic Beasts

Moana Box Office Fantastic Beasts

Welcome to the Screen Rant Box Office Prediction. Every week we put together an informal list of box office picks for the upcoming weekend to offer readers a rough estimate of how new releases (and returning holdovers) will perform in theaters.

For a recap of last week's box office totals, read our box office wrap-up from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them's opening weekend and scroll to the bottom of this post to see how our previous picks measured up.

Full disclosure: Box office predictions are not an exact science. We acknowledge our picks may not always be correct. For the sake of offering a jumping off point for discussion, here are our picks for the weekend of November 25 - 27, 2016.

NOTE: The new releases this week open on Wednesday, November 23 ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

This weekend, Moana debuts in 3,875 theaters, Allied plays in 3,160 locations, Bad Santa 2 opens in more than 2,500 theaters, and Rules Don't Apply premieres in 2,300 locations.

#1 - Moana

Coming in first should be Moana (read our review), the new film from Walt Disney Animation Studios. The Mouse House has had a historic 2016, and their animation branch has been a big part of the banner year. Back in March, their Zootopia was a huge hit, opening with a stellar $75 million en route to a $341.2 million domestic total. Animated films in general have done quite well recently, with Disney/Pixar's Finding Dory becoming the #1 movie of the year so far with a whopping $486.1 million in the U.S. Just about everything Disney has touched this year has turned to gold, so there's no reason to expect Moana will be any different.

The film, which stars box office juggernaut Dwayne Johnson in a lead role, has earned very positive reviews, with many critics praising its animation design and well-rounded characters. That will only add to its appeal, as it looks to be a film that can become a favorite with both children and adults. Moana is expected to make $75 million in its opening frame, which is the same amount as the aforementioned Zootopia. It's another notch in Disney's belt, and its box office run has only just begun.

Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) and Maui (Dwayne Johnson) in Disney's Moana

#2 - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Last week's champ, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (read our review), should come in second during its second weekend. The Harry Potter spinoff got off to an impressive start in its debut with $74.4 million, but that was on the low end of the estimates - some of which were as high as $90 million. Though the film scored an overall positive response from critics, it's safe to say that the word-of-mouth from the moviegoing public has been generally mixed. With people less enthused about Fantastic Beasts than Harry Potter, it's unlikely that it repeats in the top spot. Additionally, Moana is going to score very well with families, the target demographic of the wizarding world.

#3 - Allied

In third should be Allied (read our review), a World War II drama starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard from director Robert Zemeckis. The Back to the Future helmsman has been up and down at the box office the last few years; Flight earned a strong $93.7 million back in 2012, but The Walk bombed with just $10.1 million last fall. Fortunately, it seems like Allied will lean closer to the former than the latter. WWII is a conflict that has long made for hit films (though appetite for Allied may be diminished due to Hacksaw Ridge), and Pitt in particular has found great success in this sub-genre. Both Inglourious Basterds ($120.5 million) and Fury ($85.8 million) drew in sizable crowds.

Allied should be another viable entry in Pitt's unofficial WWII trilogy. Though the film is not thought to be an awards contender, the response has been generally positive, and it should be able to emerge as a nice counter-programming option for older viewers looking for an alternative to the more high-profile offerings. For some, the marketing has harkened back to the classics of yesteryear, and that approach will likely appeal to its target audience. Allied can't contend with some of the blockbusters in theaters, but it should still do fine on its own merit. Projections are set for $20 million.

Allied - Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard

#4 - Bad Santa 2

Coming in fourth should be Bad Santa 2 (read our review), the sequel to the holiday cult classic Bad Santa. The original was a solid performer at the box office, earning $60 million domestically in its run. While its fan base will be excited to see Billy Bob Thornton in the red suit again, the 13-year gap between installments may have killed any demand casual viewers had for the project. Couple that with the fact the critical response was decidedly less than stellar and there's stiff competition, Bad Santa 2 will be hard-pressed to replicate its predecessor's success. Projections have it set for in the mid-teens over the holiday window.

#5 - Doctor Strange

Rounding out the top five should be Doctor Strange (read our review), which came in second last week with $17.7 million. Marvel's latest has proven to be another big hit for the franchise, but business is definitely about to decline now. Fantastic Beasts and Moana are set to be the top earners over Thanksgiving.

Last Week's Recap

Our Predictions:

  1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  2. Doctor Strange
  3. Trolls
  4. Arrival
  5. The Edge of Seventeen


  1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  2. Doctor Strange
  3. Trolls
  4. Arrival
  5. Almost Christmas


Next Week: Moana, Incarnate, and more!

Sources: Box Office Mojo (Release Schedule), THR (Opening Weekend Projections)

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