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‘Moana’ cruises with $81.1M Thanksgiving weekend

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                This image released by Disney shows characters Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, right, and Moana, voiced by Auli’i Cravalho, in a scene from the animated film, “Moana.”

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This image released by Disney shows characters Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, right, and Moana, voiced by Auli’i Cravalho, in a scene from the animated film, “Moana.”

NEW YORK >> Disney’s South Pacific animated tale “Moana” fell short of a “Frozen”-sized debut, but it nevertheless dominated the Thanksgiving box office with an estimated $81.1 million over the five-day weekend.

The well-reviewed “Moana,” set in ancient Polynesia, earned $55.5 million from Friday to Sunday. It didn’t match the 2013 Thanksgiving release of “Frozen,” which opened with $93.6 million. But “Moana” scored the second-highest Turkey Day debut ever.

Falling to second was J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which earned $65.8 million over the five-day weekend.

Those releases far outpaced more star-driven films.

The Brad Pitt-Marion Cotillard World War II romance “Allied” opened with a mediocre $18 million over five days. Warren Beatty’s first film in 15 years, “Rules Don’t Apply,” bombed with $2.2 million over the five-day weekend.

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