Casting Ben Whishaw as Herman Melville may have been a great idea, but it’s indicative of the larger problems with In the Heart of the Sea. It’s wrapped up in a corny, on-the-nose framing device, and even its good ideas are subsumed by larger bad ones.
Blame is being passed around already for In the Heart of the Sea’s poor opening. The film cost at least $100 million to make, but took in only $11 million, placing second in the weekend box office, and falling $30 million short of its target. According to a Deadline report, Ron Howard is being blamed for not making a movie Chris Hemsworth’s fans would like, Warner Brothers is being blamed for not understanding that it’s super expensive to film on water, and the source material (Nathaniel Philbrick’s fabulous In the Heart of the Sea and Moby-Dick, I guess) is being blamed for being too “old-fashioned.”
This is what happens when movies underperform! Everyone blames everyone because “Well, I guess people just didn’t want to see Chris Hemsworth and Cillian Murphy fight a whale and/or each other” isn’t a particularly satisfying answer.
But who cares why In the Heart of the Sea didn’t work. (It’s the script’s fault.) The new Star Wars comes out in three days.