Box Office: 'In the Heart of the Sea' Hits Stormy Waters With $17.1M Foreign Debut
'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2' stays No. 1 offshore for the third weekend in a row with $32.4 million; 'Point Break' opens early in China.
Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea is off to a choppy start at the foreign box office, where it opened a week ahead of its North American launch.
The seafaring epic — about the sinking of the whaling ship Essex in 1820, which inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick — took in $17.1 million from 38 markets. That's not a great start considering the film cost $90 million-$100 million to make.
Heart of the Sea, which debuts in North America Dec. 11, stars Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson.
The movie did do solid business in Korea with $3 million, followed by Russia ($2 million), Mexico ($1.8 million), Italy ($1.6 million) and Brazil ($1.2 million). Weaker markets included Australia, where Heart of the Sea opened to a dismal $607,000. Upcoming openings include France (Dec. 9), the U.K. (Dec. 26) and Japan (Jan. 16).
Warner Bros. decided to open Howard's film early overseas to give Heart of the Sea more distance from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Star Wars reboot beings hitting theaters overseas on Dec. 16.
Warner Bros. takes solace in the fact that Heart of the Sea opened 7 percent ahead of Captain Phillips, which earned north of $111 million overseas, and 47 percent ahead of Howard's Rush, which totaled out at $63 million internationally (both of those movies cost less to make). Rush also starred Hemsworth.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 stayed atop the foreign chart for the third weekend in a row with $32.4 million for a foreign total of $296.8 million and global cume of $523.9 million.
Buoyed by a late run in Japan, James Bond installment Spectre followed with $23 million for a worldwide cume of $792 million, while Pixar's The Good Dinosaur grossed $19.4 million from 45 markets for an early foreign total of $55.4 million. Globally, the animated family film has now earned $131.4 million.
Elsewhere, Lionsgate and Alcon also saw solid results offshore with Point Break, which debuted to $14.1 million in six Asian markets, including $12.1 million in China. The remake opens Christmas Day in North America.