Disney's 'Moana' dominates the Thanksgiving weekend box office with $81 million opening

Disney's newest film, Moana, debuted over the Thanksgiving holiday, and has sailed to the top of the North American box office with a $81.1 million opening weekend.

In its debut weekend, Moana generated estimated revenue of $55.5 million, which was below MKM Partners' outlook of $64.0 million. In 2013, "Frozen" set the record with $67.4 million, according to BoxOfficePro.com.

Disney scored a second victory over Thanksgiving as Doctor Strange crossed $616-M globally, including a 3rd-place finish domestically with a 5-day holiday gross of $18.9-M.

Those two blockbusters far outpaced more star-driven films.

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Rounding out the top five was "Allied", starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, delivering a fourth-place finish with an estimated $13 million three-day and $18 million five-day opening.

Revenue from the weekend's top 10 films totaled $171 million, which represented growth of 2% year-over-year, according to MKM. "There's not a big influx of new movies until you get closer to Christmas, so we think that's good for the playability of the picture". This weekend was another big one at the box office led by a surprising animated flick.

Meanwhile, Doctor Strange will add almost another $20 million, putting it over the $200 million mark domestically. It also passed the $350 million mark worldwide after 10 days and, like Moana, it should continue to perform well until the release of Rogue One on the 16th. The average Rotten Tomatoes scores for these films is over 90% and their average global box office gross is over $800M.

Boosted by the star power of Dwayne Johnson and the appeal of original songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda of "Hamilton", "Moana" landed Disney another big hit in a year full of them.

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"Allied" and "Bad Santa 2" also opened over Thanksgiving to mixed returns.

Pixar's Toy Story 2 previously held the second place slot with a domestic debut of $80.1 million.

"Moana" centers on a girl in the Pacific Islands who journeys across the ocean to save her people.

Following "Moana" was "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" starring Eddie Redmayne with an estimated gross of $65.8 million.

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The spinoff from the blockbuster "Harry Potter" franchise - it's the first of five planned "Fantastic Beasts" titles - opened November 18 and has taken in $156 million.

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