‘Moana’ to Ride Big Box Office Wave With $75 Million-Plus

Disney’s animated movie starring The Rock will edge “Fantastic Beasts,” dominate fellow newcomers during the extended Thanksgiving weekend

Last Updated: November 21, 2016 @ 4:46 PM

Put Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a Disney animated feature and you give “Moana” two of the main ingredients for a Thanksgiving holiday hit.

The film opens on Wednesday and is expected to surpass $75 million at the box office, with some prognosticators putting its opening over $80 million for the five-day holiday. Disney is being a tad more conservative with estimates at around $70 million.

Other wide releases opening on Thanksgiving eve are Paramount’s World War II romantic drama “Allied,” starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard; Fox drama “Rules Don’t Apply,” written and directed by Warren Beatty, who also stars as Howard Hughes; and Billy Bob Thornton in the comedy sequel “Bad Santa 2,” out of Broad Green Pictures and Miramax.

Other than “Moana,” none of the above titles will stack up to Warner Bros. holdover hit “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which should grab the No. 2 spot with an impressive $60 million over the five-day holiday.

Back to Disney’s CG animation, it features the voice of newcomer Auliʻi Cravalho as Moana, an adventurous teen who leaves her island, joined by demigod Maui (Johnson) on a quest to save her people. The film is directed by Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin”) and features music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i.

“Moana” moviegoers will also be treated to the animated short “Inner Workings” from Leo Matsuda — who was a story artist on “Big Hero 6” and “Wreck-It Ralph.”

Opening in more than 3,800 theaters and made for more than $150 million, “Moana” currently enjoys a perfect 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes — a great sign that could help it sail to the high end of box office estimates.

Meanwhile, R-rated “Allied,” directed by Robert Zemeckis, should end its five-day opening with more than 20 million. Paramount predictions are just shy of that figure. It was made for $85 million and opens in roughly 3,000 theaters domestically and 25 markets abroad. It also has a not-so-great 58 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Bad Santa 2” will bag up to $20 million, according to the latest estimates. Though those figures may be forgiving, given its 38 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Finally, “Rules Don’t Apply,” also starring Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich in addition to Beatty, is opening in 2,400 theaters and is expected to earn about $9 million. It was made for $25 million (not counting marketing costs) and has a 66 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.