Well, here’s a potential vote of confidence. Ron Howard’s big-budgeted, VFX-heavy, “Moby Dick” movie, “In The Heart Of The Sea,” is being moved. Originally scheduled for a March 13th release suggested it was a movie of big scale and high entertainment value—tentpole-sized comparisons released in that frame include “Watchmen,” “Noah,” “Olympus Has Fallen,” and the original “Hunger Games.” But Warner Bros. has moved the movie to December 12th, right in the middle of Oscar season, which suggests the studio may have something stronger on their hands. So, is the movie starring Chris Hemsworth—his second film with Howard, following “Rush“—a strong contender then?
Well, maybe. A few things to consider. One: December 12th is essentially the same date that 20th Century Fox released Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods & Kings,” another drama with a lot of spectacle and VFX, and that didn’t even come close to contending in the awards season. Two: WB may be looking to distance itself from Universal’s “Blackhat,” which also stars Hemsworth. Arriving with mixed and polarizing reviews this week (we were positive), “Blackhat” and its box-office prospects are not looking good, and the movie may soon be categorized as a “bomb” (pundits are projecting an opening under $10 million, and while the budget hasn’t been released, it’s said the film was pretty expensive for a thriller/drama). Three: If the VFX needs tweaking and/or bettering (you can improve on VFX ’til the cow’s come home, really), it’s all a confluence of the perfect circumstances.
“In The Heart Of The Sea” also stars Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, and Brendan Gleeson, and it’s about the real life events in 1820 that spawned the writing of “Moby Dick.” A massive sperm whale preys upon a whaling ship, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home. But is it an Oscar contender? I’d take a wait-and-see approach before I put it in any premature predictions, personally.
In other related release date news, Clarius Entertainment has set Peter Bogdanovich’s “She’s Funny That Way” for an April 10th release, and WB has moved “Taken 4,” errr… “Run All Night” up a few weeks from an April release to March 13th.