LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The animated sea-faring musical adventure Moana sailed to success in its debut weekend, taking in an estimated US$55.5 million ($78.6 million) to top the North American box office, an industry group said Sunday.
The Disney film about a brave Polynesian teenage girl on a risky mission to save her people reaped in US$81.1 million during the full, longer Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Exhibitor Relations said.
The composers of the film's score include Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the music and lyrics for the smash Broadway hit Hamilton.
It unseated the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which fell to second place in its second weekend in theaters, chalking up US$45.1 million for a total of US$156.2 million so far.
Based on a 2001 book by Potter novelist J.K. Rowling, the Warner Bros. film stars Eddie Redmayne as a wizard in 1920s New York.
Its first weekend take of US$74.4 million was the lowest opening for any film in Rowling's Wizarding World series, as the film largely drew on fans of the original franchise rather than fresh, younger blood.
Dropping from second to third rank in the charts, Marvel's Doctor Strange posted another US$13.4 million for a total of US$205 million.
The movie, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as neurosurgeon Stephen Strange - whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident - is the 14th film in Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Fourth place, with just US$13 million, went to the debut movie Allied, starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard as World War II spies who fall in love during an assassination mission and eventually get married and have a child, but then become pitted against each other.
The acclaimed alien invasion movie Arrival, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, slipped from fourth to fifth place as it posted US$11.3 million in weekend revenue.
Rounding out the top 10 films were: Trolls (US$10.3 million) Bad Santa 2 (US$6.1 million) Almost Christmas (US$5.7 million) Hacksaw Ridge (US$5.5 million) Edge of Seventeen (US$3 million).