Box Office: 'In the Heart of the Sea' Sinking in U.S. After $3.8M Friday

In the Heart of the Sea 2  - H 2015
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Ron Howard's big-budget seafaring adventure — starring Chris Hemsworth — on course for $10 million-$11 million domestic opening; 'The Big Short' buoyed by Golden Globe nominations in limited debut.

Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea is capsizing at the North American box office, where it earned $3.8 million Friday for a projected $10 million-$11 million debut.

The big-budget seafaring epic cost roughly $100 million to make, excluding marketing costs, so that's a dismal start. And next weekend, things will only get more difficult when Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens everywhere Dec. 18.

Heart of the Sea did top the chart Friday, but it could come in No. 2 for the weekend behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2.

Zemeckis, he talked to me, he talked to Steven Spielberg.”"]

Heart of the Sea centers on the sinking of the whaling ship Essex in 1820, which inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick. Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw, and Brendan Gleeson star.

Critics have ravaged the movie; audiences are more impressed, giving it a B+ CinemaScore. The 3D film is playing in 3,103 theaters, included a run in Imax.

Heart of the Sea heaps on more bad news for Warner Bros., although the studio's financial exposure is mitigated by several co-financing partners, including Village Roadshow Pictures. And Warners is hopeful Howard's latest outing will make up ground overseas, where it began rolling out last weekend.

The sea adventure is the only new film opening nationwide this weekend. Among holdovers, Pixar and Disney's The Good Dinosaur is expected to come in No. 3 with roughly $10 million for a domestic total just shy of $90 million. Warner Bros.' Creed will also near $10 million for a hearty domestic cume of $80 million through Sunday. Rounding out the top five is Legendary and Universal's Krampus, which is on course to gross $7 million in its second weekend for a U.S. cume of $27 million.

One bright spot is Adam McKay's The Big Short, which is opening in eight theaters this weekend in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago after scoring top Golden Globe nominations. The financial drama stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, whose Plan B produced the movie for Paramount.

Based on Friday's traffic, Big Short could post a location average of $76,000-$88,000 — the best showing of the year after to date after Steve Jobs ($130,381 from four theaters).

Dec. 12, 8 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers.