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Moana enjoying unrivalled success

DISNEY animation’s Moana is enjoying unrivalled success at the box office and is set to repeat the number one sterling feat this weekend once more.

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Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson

Last weekend, Moana scored a $56,63 million, benefitting from the previous weekend being a Thanksgiving, a popular holiday in the United States that allows people to reflect on the past year and celebrate successes throughout the year.

Though Thanksgiving is on November 24, the immediate following weekend becomes what is called “Thanksgiving weekend”, a way to prolong the holiday’s celebrations.

The holiday is considered a time that brings the entire family together which usually includes outings as a family. Moana being a 3D animation was just ripe for the picking.

On Wednesday, Moana had grossed $89,58 million for a global haul of $106,76 million.

The film has now become Disney’s fifth hit this year and had already passed $6 billion and will no doubt continue to add to the studio’s coffers.

The film is outpacing Disney’s highest grossing 3D animation globally, Frozen, by about $36,2 million. Frozen went on to earn a whopping $400,73 million in the United States for a global haul of $1,27 billion.

In my previous review, the factors leading up to Moana’s impressive run were highlighted as three major reasons.

Firstly, it was Dwayne Johnson, or as he is more prominently known, “The Rock”, whose enigmatic presence really helped carry over the underlying theme of the film.

This was also pushed by the fact that a week prior, spotlight was thrown on Johnson after being crowned People Magazine’s 2016 sexiest man alive. He became the 31st man and the second man of colour after Denzel Washington in 1996 to be given that honour.

Also, he is currently Hollywood’s highest paid actor.

Secondly, coming back to the film’s theme, it was one that resonated with older audiences, that is finding out who you are meant to be. This is something which adults struggle to do all the time.

And lastly, the protagonist being female and defying social norms was akin to other 3D animations Tangled in 2010, Brave (2012) and Frozen (2013), which were all hits.

In each of these films, the main characters were female and had the underlying theme of women going against societal norms that has appealed to female cinema goers.

Also, these films show characters that represent today’s independent woman such as fearlessness, passionate, confident and lack of dependence on men.

For any 3D animation to be considered a success, it must have themes that can attract older audiences who are the ones that drive box office receipts.

Disney has a generally positive track record when it comes to 3D animations. In fact, one could argue they have been the best studio in this particular genre.

My prediction for last weekend ended up being the same where Moana got first place and will likely repeat this feat again this weekend. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will come in second and Doctor Strange third.

In a look at milestones, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has passed the $500 million global box office mark and as of Wednesday, had $507,07 million. Included in that global haul is the United States box office receipts of $163,07 million.

Doctor Strange has now passed the $200 million mark and had $208,13 million as at Wednesday in the United States for a global haul of $619,38 million.

But, even though these films are likely to repeat the three spot stealing turn of last weekend, there will be new films debuting, but none expected to make much of an impact.

One film which has one of the best premises this year is Incarnate.

The story is about an exorcist played by Aaron Eckhart who taps into the subconscious mind of a tormented boy played by David Mazouz who’s possessed by a demon. What is interesting about the film is though the film falls into the supernatural genre, it really does well to merge the thriller and supernatural genres together.

The mind games between Eckhart’s character and the demon really create the suspense in the film.

Films that build towards the big fight between the protagonist and antagonist in any film will lead to a climatic conclusion and Incarnate does just that.

But, Eckhart has been a modest box office draw and his acting chops may suffer from it. The film is already looking at a measly $4 and $5 million range over the weekend.

Critics have been lukewarm thus far to the film.

Bad Santa is turning into a serious flop and will no doubt add to the 2016 box office flops association, so to speak.

Bad Santa opened to a lacklustre $6,1 million off an estimated budget of $26 million.

As I stated previously in my last review, releasing a sequel more than five years, in this case 13, is never a good idea.

As of Wednesday, Bad Santa has grossed $10,6 million and is quickly fading into oblivion.

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