Disney’s “Moana” is poised to reclaim the box office title in its second weekend of release — but it will have to show serious legs to challenge all-time animated champ “Frozen.”
“Moana” is on pace to earn at least $25 million this weekend, a roughly 60 percent drop from its $56 million haul for the three-day post-Thanksgiving weekend. “Frozen,” which also opened at Thanksgiving in 2013, earned $31.6 million in its second weekend.
Unlike “Frozen,” which opened against the second “Hunger Games” movie, “Moana” faces little competition — though Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is expected to finish at No. 2 in its third weekend.
The only new wide-release opener this weekend is the small-budgeted horror film “Incarnate,” a PG-13 movie stars Aaron Eckhart as a scientist who taps into the subconscious mind of a boy who is possessed by a demon.
Released by BH Tilt, a unit of Blumhouse, “Incarnate” will debut in 1,737 locations on Friday, targeting diehard genre fans.
Despite having little chance of opening in the top five, “Incarnate” the film’s expected $4 million to $5 million opening figures are on target to make it a successful debut. It was produced for less than $5 million and is zeroing in on a low-budget digital marketing campaign.
Given the lack of competition, this should be the first weekend in a long while that the top five highest-grossing movies remains unchanged from the previous weekend.
Last weekend’s five-day holiday standings were as follows:
1. “Moana” (Disney) — $81.1 million in Week 1 ($81.1 million total)
2. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (Warner Bros.) — $65.8 million in Week 2 ($156.2 million total)
3. “Doctor Strange” (Disney) — $18.9 million in Week 4 ($205.1 million total)
4. “Allied” (Paramount) — $18 million in Week 1 ($18 million total)
5. “Arrival” (Paramount) — $15.6 million in Week 3 ($62.4 million total)
Fox Searchlight biopic “Jackie,” starring Natalie Portman as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, also opens in limited release this weekend.
“Moana” features the voice of newcomer Auli’i Cravalho as an adventurous teen who leaves her Pacific island, joined by demigod Maui (Dwayne “The Rock” 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 were also treated to the animated short “Inner Workings” from Leo Matsuda, who was a story artist on “Big Hero 6” and “Wreck-It Ralph.”