In its second weekend of wide release, Frozen fell 53.1 percent to bring in $31.6 million (though it still won the weekend). This will be the barometer for Moana. If it is to have any chance of beating Frozen‘s domestic total, it needs to have a very strong hold this weekend – something closer to Zootopia‘s 31.6 percent decrease than Frozen‘s 53.1 percent. The odds of that happening are actually quite favorable; while Frozen was going head-to-head with Catching Fire (at the peak of Hunger Games popularity), Moana will essentially have the marketplace to itself. Incarnate isn’t going to pose a challenge, and the most high-profile holdover is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The gap between Moana and Fantastic Beasts last week ($11.6 million) is higher than the $5 million disparity between Frozen and Hunger Games in Frozen‘s second wide weekend. Nothing poses a threat to Disney’s latest, and it should have another lucrative weekend.
However, December will throw a couple of sizable obstacles in Moana‘s way. Rogue One is currently projected to make $130+ million in its debut, which is much higher than the $73.6 million The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug made in December 2013. Moana will undoubtedly take a substantial hit that weekend, particularly since Star Wars is a brand with unparalleled appeal. Additionally, December 21 sees the release of Illumination Entertainment’s Sing. Oddly enough, Frozen never had to go against another animated movie during its heyday, meaning it had a monopoly on its target deomographic. Illumination has quickly risen amongst the ranks in the film industry and Sing should be another winner for the studio. Even if Moana maintains decent legs throughout the month, it’s going to have trouble contending with those two films.
The bottom line is that Moana probably won’t be able to beat Frozen‘s $400.7 million, but that won’t mean it will go down as a disappointment. It should end up with a very high total. Zootopia finished with $341.2 million, even though it eventually had to cross paths with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Something in that range is the most likely outcome (Zootopia‘s first eight days netted $84.9 million), though the word-of-mouth for both Rogue One and Sing will go a long way in determining the final number. Either way, just getting into the neighborhood of $300 million (which would be Disney’s fifth such release this year) is a fantastic achievement.
Next week, the box office prediction returns to its regular format.