Ron Howard’s new Moby Dick adaptation In the Heart of the Sea is the only new release of the weekend, but poor reviews and the looming release of Star Wars will likely prevent it from reaching any decent heights.
In the Heart of the Sea was originally scheduled to be released in March of this year, but was pushed back to December just a few months before its release. In hindsight, this seems like a bad move. It would’ve faced far less competition, and likely would’ve held on much better (whereas now it will likely get absolutely crushed by Star Wars next weekend). The film has a surprisingly large $100M budget, which it seems as though it is going to have a hard time getting back. So far, reviews have been poor, with a weak 52% on Rotten Tomatoes. That kind of lukewarm reaction may keep out a large chunk of the audience that may have otherwise been interested. Given the source material and style of film that it is, it is obviously meant to be seen in larger formats and in 3D, but most people are likely saving those extra dollars for next weekends release and don’t really have any interested in this. To put it more simply, the number of people that want to see In the Heart of the Sea and not Star Wars: The Force Awakens is likely very, very small. This may lead to an opening of very low teens and maybe even below $10M.
Last weekend’s sleeper hit Krampus will likely have a solid hold thanks to a Saturday jump last weekend (a sign that word of mouth was strong) and a lack of competition could give it a weekend of around $9M this weekend.
The only other noteworthy new release is The Big Short, which is being screened in just 8 theaters this weekend. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with the arthouse crowd versus the mainstream audience, especially with a Christmas release right around so many other options. It’s clearly going for a Wolf of Wall Street type vibe, but doesn’t have the Scorcese name attached to it (aka the only reason why that film didn’t fail horribly) whereas this has a much more cynical, political view of a real life story and doesn’t seem as insane or massive as The Wolf of Wall Street.
Legend was supposedly getting a nationwide release this weekend, but it seems as though Universal got cold feet, and is instead expanding the film into just 107 theaters, up from last weekends 61. Why they decided to cancel it is a bit strange, but the film wasn’t likely going to make much money in any market it was released in, so clearly Universal is just attempting to cut their losses at this point.
- In the Heart of the Sea – $11M
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – $9.5M
- Krampus – $8.7M
- Creed – $8.5M
- The Good Dinosaur – $7.2M
Bar for Success
In the Heart of the Sea has a hefty $100M budget and is going to get crushed in just one week, so it really needs to make at least $20M this weekend to get a pass.