Though most of us are still focused on this year’s Oscars, the nominations for which were announced earlier this morning (RIP The LEGO Movie), Warner Bros. is already making a bid for next year’s awards, having shifted Ron Howard’s whaling thriller In the Heart of the Sea from March 13th to the much more Oscar-friendly date of December 11th.
Perhaps we all should have expected the move – March never really seemed like the appropriate time to drop the Chris Hemsworth starrer, which has all the trappings of a prestige pic. It’s based on a bestselling book – Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea – and centers on a fascinating historical event, the sinking of the whaleship Essex in 1820 and her crew’s fight for survival at sea.
Warner Bros. obviously thinks Howard’s film has a fighting chance of breaking into next year’s Oscar race. And with Anthony Dod Mantle’s stunning cinematography and a cast that also includes Brendan Gleeson, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Benjamin Walker and Ben Whishaw, it’s pretty easy to see why.
The studio has moved up a far less buzzy pic – Liam Neeson-led crime-thriller Run All Night – to take In the Heart of the Sea‘s fomer slot. As for that new December 11th weekend, the film currently has it all to itself. With Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens arriving just a week later, most other pics are probably going to crowd for November instead of duking it out for that juggernaut’s box office scraps.
Here’s the official synopsis for In the Heart of the Sea:
In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. “In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.