– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Image via Disney

Image via Disney

The Tuesday night numbers are in, and according to Box Office Mojo, Moana, Disney’s latest animated feature, raked in a sizable $2.6 million in early screenings on Tuesday night, which started at 7pm across the U.S. In comparison, last year’s The Good Dinosaur brought in $1.3 million in the same period, and 2013’s Frozen brought in $1.2 million. So what does this mean for Moana? Well, I’d say we can likely expect a strong weekend from the flick, and here’s why.

The Good Dinosaur — while it fared okay critically (settling in at about 77% on Rotten Tomatoes) — it never actually gained much traction. The film took in a modest $55.5 million that Thanksgiving 5-day weekend, and only ended up cracking $332.2 million in worldwide box office ticket sales when its theatrical run was complete. Given its reported $200 million price tag and $150 million or so in marketing, it went nowhere near the $500 million it would have taken to be profitable for the studio. 

Frozen, on the other hand — a film that took in $0.1 million less on its opening Tuesday than The Good Dinosaur — ended the 5-day weekend with $67.4 million. Admittedly, $12 million doesn’t seem to be that much of a difference compared to Pixar’s flick, but at the end of the run, Frozen cracked $1.2 billion for Disney. It’s a film that had substantially better legs to stand on in succeeding weeks compared to The Good Dinosaur.

The big difference between the two may have, in fact, been the critical reception — though it’s impossible to draw a direct correlation. In addition to that, Frozen also had the “Disney Princess” brand to lean on, which helped, I’m sure.

So what does this all mean for Moana? The fact that it’s doubled the Tuesday gross for both films mentioned above is promising enough, but add in the ridiculous 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the “Disney Princess” brand, and you have a film that could surpass $85 million this 5-day weekend.

According to TheWrap, Disney is opting to rely on more conservative estimates around $70 million, and it makes sense. Yes, all signs point to a strong opening, but we can’t forget about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s a film that’s only in its second weekend, and those who didn’t get a chance to check out the Potter prequel may very well be using this weekend to do so.

When all said and done, however, no matter the end numbers for Thanksgiving weekend, given the strong reception, Moana seems like a film that may go on to hit some big numbers for Disney. Who knows, they may be in for another $850 million-plus hit on their hands, especially since the next big movie to hit won’t be until Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th.

Moana is out in theaters now!

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SOURCES: Box Office Mojo, TheWrap

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.