Friday, April 12, 2024

Box Office: Ron Howard’s Disastrous “In the Heart of the Sea” Ends Warner Bros.’ Miserable Year


I do not say this happily: Warner Bros. has had a very bad year. Last night Ron Howard’s “In the Heart of the Sea” made $3.5 million in its opening. They’re looking at a $10 million weekend for a $150 million-plus movie about the men who fought “Moby Dick.” And that’s just the end of a sad story in 2015.

Of Warner’s 25 releases in 2015, only two have made over $100 million– “San Andreas” ($155 million) and “Mad Max: Fury Road” ($153 million). Two others are bright spots– “Creed,” which has already made $72 million, and “The Intern,” a comedy with Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway that reaped $75 million. “Get Hard,” a comedy no adult saw on purpose, with Will Ferrell, scored $90 mil in the US and $10 mil abroad.

Otherwise, really nothing worked. From “The Man from UNCLE” to Sandra Bullock in “Our Brand is Crisis” to a Zac Efron comedy called “We Are Your Friends” that made $3.6 million, it was all dross.

Some films did better internationally, like the Wachowskis’ incomprehensible “Jupiter Ascending,” Hugh Jackman in “Pan,” or Will Smith in “Focus.” Lack of understanding English- but the need to see movie stars or special effects– helped in those situations. Johnny Depp in “Black Mass” was the big hope, but it fell short.

All these things are cyclical. Warner Bros. has had great years, and they will again. Ron Howard has two Oscars– for “Apollo 13” and “A Beautiful Mind,” not to mention great hits in “Cocoon,” “Frost/Nixon,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Splash,” and so on. Rent his racing movie, “Rush.” It’s wonderful.

“In the Heart of the Sea,” has a solid cast but lacks a big movie star. A similar movie, “A Perfect Storm,” starred George Clooney, for example. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Holland weren’t enough, especially without any women.

And so we move on. All eyes now are on “Batman v. Superman” coming March 25th 2016. It can’t come fast enough. And next November, the J.K. Rowling movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Fast forward!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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