Moana On Course for $80 Million Opening Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Moana (Moana (2016) - Auli'i Cravalho) and Maui (Dwayne Johnson)

Walt Disney Animation Studios has been on a bit of an uptick over the course of the past several years, with original motion pictures like FrozenBig Hero 6, and this year's early 2016 release of Zootopia serving to launch the longstanding film studio into a creative renaissance of sorts. In a concerted effort to hopefully continue that legacy, Moana is an all-new musical fantasy adventure starring the wildly original and eponymous protagonist Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) and the legendary Polynesian demigod Maui (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), who set out on a quest to find a fabled island.

Set against an original musical score written by none other than Hamilton creator and future Mary Poppins lead actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, Moana has already made waves at the box office with a record breaking $2.6 million Tuesday opening and a central narrative that stresses multi-cultural importance. Whether or not general viewers will continue to flock to theaters over the course of the Thanksgiving frame is the big question, but the latest word has it that Disney is in fact looking at a pretty big pay day from the holiday movie release.

According to The Wrap, Disney is on track to make over $80 million over the course of the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend with the theatrical release of Moana, and has already made $15.7 million in ticket sales on Wednesday alone. Previously, the new movie was projected to debut at $75 million, but is now on track to potentially give the likes of Frozen a run for its money - which respectively made $93.6 million over the course of the five-day Thanksgiving holiday in 2013.

Disney's Moana (Auli'i Cravalho)

The only real competition posed to Moana comes in the forms of the World War II drama Allied starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, the Christmas comedy sequel Bad Santa 2 starring Billy Bob Thornton, and the Howard Hughes bio-pic Rules Don't Apply directed by and starring Warren Beatty. None of those movies are expected to secure the number two spot behind Disney, however, as Warner Bros. is projected to win big yet again with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at an estimated second weekend gross of $60 million.

Moana is currently playing in 3,875 theaters across the country and was produced for $150 million - and is currently tracking critically with a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Only time will tell how well the new movie will continue to perform over the course of the next four days, but with any luck viewers who have already seen the movie will encourage others to see the film as well, resulting in another box office smash for Disney.

Moana is in theaters now.

Source: The Wrap

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