Directed by Damien Chazelle, "La La Land" stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Photo: Summit Entertainment
Directed by Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Photo: Summit Entertainment

“Moana” has legs, as the Disney animated feature outran the premiere of the raunchy “Office Christmas Party” to be the most-popular movie in the United States and Canada over the weekend, figures Monday showed.

But the big news at the box office was the record set for a limited release by an old-fashioned love story musical: a love poem for Los Angeles.“La La Land” opened in just five theaters and sold $855,000 in tickets.

“A mind-blowing, record smashing per theater average of $171,000,” gushed movie analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

“If this is any indication of the film’s future prospects, then this is just the start of what looks to be an amazing run for director Damien Chazelle’s masterpiece, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone,” Dergarabedian said.

The musical appears to have the inside track for Oscar gold, after winning big Sunday night at the Critics’ Choice Awards and then Monday receiving the most Golden Globe nominations.

“Moana” was projected to deal $18.8 million in ticket sales by Walt Disney Studios, just ahead of the R-rated “Office Christmas Party” and its $17.5 million debut, according to studio figures gathered by comScore.

“Moana” has sold $145 million in 19 days in the North American market, and its worldwide total is $238.8 million.

The Harry Potter-derivative, “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them,” was on track for a $10,8 million weekend and $199.3 million domestically in 24 days of exhibition.

In fourth place, “Arrival” was poised to deal $5.6 million in admission sales this weekend, for a five-week total of $81.5 million.

And in fifth place was “Doctor Strange,” with a $4.6 million weekend and $222.4 million amassed over five weeks.

Rounding out the 10 most-popular movies this week, as estimated by the studios, were “Allied” ($4 million), “Nocturnal Animals” ($3.2 million), “Manchester By The Sea” ($3.2 million), “Trolls” ($3.1 million) and “Hacksaw Ridge” ($2.3 million).

–City News Service

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