Just two months ahead of its scheduled bow, Warner Bros. has pushed Ron Howard’s maritime period film In the Heart of the Sea to early December. The film, which tells the events that led to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, was scheduled to open on March 13, 2015 but will now be released on December 11. It’s rather unusual for a such a big-budget film to shift dates so soon before its scheduled opening, but it could be seen as a vote of confidence by the studio for planting the film right in the center of the 2015 awards season. There’s risk involved as well, as Warner Bros. is now opening In the Heart of the Sea only one week ahead of a little movie called Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, which will likely obliterate any buzz for other movies in the season.
The film, directed by Howard (who won an Oscar for directing the 2001 John Nash biopic A Beautiful Mind) and written by Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond), is based on the true events of a whaling ship preyed upon by a sperm whale in 1820. This lead to its crew being stranded at sea for 90 days, traveling nearly 1,000 miles, and was the inspiration for the classic Moby Dick. The film was adapted from Nathaniel Philbrick’s book, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.
Chris Hemsworth stars (re-teaming with his Rush director), as do Cillian Murphy (Inception), Brendan Gleeson (Calvary), Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), and Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas), who portrays Melville. On the tech side, Howard is also re-teaming with cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, who lensed Rush for the filmmaker and previously won an Academy Award for his work on Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.
Hemsworth can be next seen on screens in Michael Mann’s Blackhat, opening this week from Universal Pictures, the start of a busy year for the Aussie actor. This summer he reprises his role as Thor in Joss Wheden’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and is attached to the reboot of Vacation set to hit theaters in October. Warner Bros. will place the Liam Neeson-headlined crime drama Run All Night in the March 13th slot left vacant by In the Heart of the Sea.