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Moana leads,' La La Land' sets records

Published:Tuesday | December 13, 2016 | 12:04 AM
Jeremy Renner (left) and Amy Adams in Arrival.
A teenage girl, now a master wayfinder, finds herself in Moana.
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LOS ANGELES (AP):

Disney's Moana has continued to sit pretty atop the box office for its third consecutive weekend, but Damien Chazelle's musical La La Land was what really had audiences singing this weekend.

Playing in only five cinemas, the lively and well-reviewed La La Land grossed a staggering US$855,000 for Lionsgate, according to studio estimates Sunday. Its US$171,000 per cinema average is an all-time high for a five-cinema release and 2016 in general.

According to exit polls, 52 per cent of audiences were female and 53 per cent were over 30 years old.

"We felt like we were going to have a strong opening, but I don't think anyone would have predicted a result this big," said David Spitz, Lionsgate's president of domestic theatrical distribution.

The film cost a reported US$30 million to make and has been gaining buzz throughout the fall since it premiered at the Venice Film Festival and continued wowing critics and audiences at various other festivals. It recently picked up the best picture award from the New York Film Critics Circle and is expected to be a major awards contender this year. Its first big mainstream boost could come as early as next Monday, when nominations are announced for the Golden Globe Awards

Starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, La La Land expands to 200 locations next week.

It was mostly business as usual among wide releases, with Moana in first with US$18.8 million, followed by the Jennifer Aniston comedy Office Christmas Party, which debuted to US$17.5 million - a quiet moment before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens next weekend.

The rest of the top five looked similar to the past few weeks, with the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in third with US$10.8 million, bringing its domestic grosses to US$199.3 million. The Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner sci-fi pic Arrival held on in fourth with US$5.6 million, while Disney and Marvel's Doctor Strange added US$4.6 million to take fifth place.

The Jessica Chastain lobbying thriller Miss Sloane fizzled in its wide expansion, earning US$1.9 million from 1,648 locations.