• Box Office

World Box Office Dec 7- Dec 13

Warner Bros.’ In the Heart of the Sea found itself gasping for air after a disappointing $11 million domestic opening weekend. The movie, which cost approximately $100 million to produce, was expected to take at least $40 million in its opening run on its way to a $100-120 million domestic cumulative. At this rate that sum looks to be out of the picture for Ron Howard’s seafaring epic. Despite a thrice Golden Globe nominated director at the helm and Chris Hemsworth, better known as Thor, in the leading role, this film just wasn’t able to capture America’s younger audiences. 80% of viewers were over 25, with a full 40% over the age of 50. Younger audiences, who are already less inclined to go to the movies than previous generations, sat this one out, presumably saving their time and money for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens in the US next Friday. International audiences were also fairly unreceptive to this Moby Dick origin story. It made a marginally better $12.6 million in 38 overseas markets and reached an international cumulative of $39.9 million. Korea, which was its biggest territory last weekend, dropped 53% for a $5.4 million second frame take. In The Heart of the Sea found surprising success in Italy, reaching a $3.9 million for a repeat second place finish. It came in first in Russia with also $3.9 million and second in Mexico with $3.8 million. With a cumulative of just $50.3 million after two weeks overseas and one at home, Sea seems to be in troubled waters.

The biggest movie on the international markets was the aptly named Chinese picture Surprise: Journey to the West. The action comedy stars Ma Tian Yu and Mike D’Angelo. It made a respectable $17 million in its home market, beating out Warner Bros’ Point Break, which finished second in the Middle Kingdom with $10.6 million.

Next on the international chart, but still number one on the combined ranking, is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2. Jennifer Lawrence’s last turn as series heroine Katniss Everdeen showed once again that the young Golden Globe winner and The Hunger Games franchise have what it takes to pack theatres around the world. It added $15.4 million overseas and $11.3 million at home, where it finished first. Mockingjay now sits at a combined domestic and international cumulative of $564 million.

The Good Dinosaur meanwhile continued its march away from extinction. Disney/Pixar’s second film of 2015, which features the voices of Jeffrey Wright, Sam Elliot, Anna Paquin, Frances McDormand and youngster Raymond Ochoa, made $10.5 million in its third weekend at home, dropping 31% from last frame and finishing third. It made $14.3 million abroad, again finishing third, and has now reached a global cumulative of $167 million. While this is on the low side for a Disney/Pixar feature, even moderately successful children’s movies tend to generate substantial revenues many years after their release.

Now in its second week riding the red wave, Sony’s remake of 1991 cult classic Point Break earned $12.6 million in its sophomore showing in eight Asian markets. China made up the bulk of this at $10.6 million. It has now reached a total of $34.5 million after ten days, and will look to boost those numbers when it opens in North America on Christmas day.

On the specialty market, Adam McKay’s The Big Short enjoyed a magnificent debut with a $90k average from eight screens after receiving four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture: Musical or Comedy and Best Screenplay. Based on a book by Moneyball and The Blindside author Michael Lewis, the film centers on a group of outlandish stockbrokers who speculate against America’s biggest banks in the years leading up to the 2008 housing and financial crisis. It stars Christian Bale and Steve Carell, both of whom received Globe nominations in the Best Actor: Musical or Comedy category, along with Margot Robbie, Marissa Tomei, Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling.

Next weekend of course will be dedicated to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as we follow just how big Disney’s eagerly anticipated blockbuster will be at home and abroad.

Lorenzo Soria