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In The Heart of the Sea flops at US box office

In The Heart of the Sea

Story by Jack Foley

RON Howard’s sea-faring epic In The Heart of the Sea has flopped at the US box office, taking just $11 million on its opening weekend.

The opening marks one of the worst of Howard’s Oscar-winning career and continues a bad year for distributing studio Warner Bros, which could now be facing a massive write-off for the film given its $100 million production costs.

In The Heart of the Sea follows The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Jupiter Ascending and Pan on Warner Bros’ list of under-performers this year.

Nevertheless, Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. distribution executive vice president, remained steadfast in his praise for the film, saying: “We stand behind Ron and his vision for the story. We believe in him. He’s a terrific filmmaker. But some movies work and unfortunately some movies don’t.”

In a career spanning decades, Howard has won Oscars for A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13 and enjoyed sizeable hits and further acclaim with the likes of Ransom, Backdraft and Rush. Indeed, In The Heart of the Sea reunites him with Rush leading man Chris Hemsworth.

The film tells the story of the Essex, a whaling vessel that had a violent encounter with a sperm whale, and whose legend inspired Herman Melville’s literary classic Moby Dick.

With In The Heart of the Sea drowning, it was left to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 to lead the pack for a fourth straight weekend, with $11.3 million. The final part in the franchise has now earned $244.5 million in the US alone.

Of the holdovers, Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur nabbed third place with $10.5 million, bringing its US total to $89.7 million, while Rocky spin-off Creed captured fourth position with $10.1 million. The boxing drama has earned $79.3 million after three weeks of release.

Horror-comedy Krampus rounded out the US top five with $8 million.

In what proved to be another quiet weekend for US box office takings, all eyes will now be on Star Wars: The Force Awakens to revive fortunes and possibly ensure that 2015 remains one of the biggest years in history for revenue.

Next story: Ryan Coogler in talks to direct Marvel’s Black Panther