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'Moana' tops box office again: How Disney set record with 'Moana' success

The animated movie 'Moana' came in at No. 1 at the domestic box office again this past weekend. Disney recently set a record at the North American box office, the latest sign of its power in the movie industry.

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'Moana' features characters voiced by Auli'i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson.

Disney/AP

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The animated movie “Moana” came in at number one at the box office again this past weekend, with the success of the movie helping “Moana” company Disney hit a big milestone, the latest marker of the company’s success.

“Moana,” which opened on Nov. 23 and stars Auli’i Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson, took in more than $28 million domestically this past weekend, ensuring it came in at No. 1 domestically again. Meanwhile, the “Harry Potter” movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which opened earlier in November, also stayed where it was last week, coming in second place again and grossing more than $18 million this past weekend.

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The science fiction movie “Arrival,” which also opened earlier in November, placed third, grossing more than $7 million domestically, while the World War II film “Allied” placed fourth, grossing more than $7 million domestically. 

The Marvel film “Doctor Strange,” which like all the other movies was a holdover from past weekends, placed fifth, taking in more than $6 million.

The new horror movie “Incarnate” placed ninth for the weekend, grossing more than $2 million.

Meanwhile, this past weekend, “Moana” company Disney hit a new record. With the newest grosses, Disney has now taken in a staggering $2.49 billion in North America, the most grossed by a studio in North America. (Universal took in $2.45 billion in 2015.) In addition, Disney has now taken in $4 billion overseas, a first for the film company.

Disney, which is behind such successful movies as their own animated films, the Marvel movies, the “Star Wars” movies, and Pixar animated films, continues to be extremely successful financially and a dominant force in pop culture. 

Paul Levinson, professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University in New York, and author of "The Plot to Save Socrates,” said of Disney’s power in the entertainment business in an interview with the Monitor earlier this year, “There was always something different about Disney properties, whether it was animation, the stories that they told. Having Disney in the entertainment mix as a major player has been good for the entertainment industry for what, 70 or 80 years now, and I think it's going to continue to be that way.” 

However, Thomas Schatz, author and media professor at The University of Texas at Austin, said of Disney’s success in an interview, “Without question, it's good for business. Whether it's good for culture? You know? Whether it's good for cinema? I don't know.”