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

The well-reviewed “Moana,” about a princess’s mythical journey in ancient Polynesia, earned $55.5 million from Friday to Sunday in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday. Though it didn’t match the 2013 Thanksgiving release of “Frozen” ($93.6 million over five days in 2013), “Moana” scored the second-highest Turkey Day debut ever.

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. The studio has notched four of the top six films (“Finding Dory,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Zootopia,” “The Jungle Book”) and still has “Star Wars: Rogue One” coming in December.

“If you look at the track record of this year, there’s definitely a correlation to the films that have broken out and become hits,” said Dave Hollis, head of domestic distribution at Disney.

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 and $45.1 million over the three-day weekend.

– The Associated Press


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