On the eve of this year’s Oscar nominations, it appears that Warner Bros. is already making a play for next year’s awards. Just two months before release, the studio has opted to delay director Ron Howard’s whaling drama In the Heart of the Sea until December, setting a new release date on December 11th—right in the heart of awards season. Honestly, the March release date for the film always seemed odd to me. The story—which revolves around the real-life sinking of the whaleship Essex in 1820 and ensuing fight for survival at sea—always seemed like prime prestige drama fare, and it appears that after getting a look at the finished film, Warner Bros. felt they had a possible contender on their hands. More after the jump, including what film will take Heart of the Sea‘s place in March.
With In the Heart of the Sea vacating its March 13th release date, Warner Bros. is moving up the Liam Neeson-fronted thriller Run All Night (originally scheduled for April) to take over that date. Howard’s film currently has the December 11th weekend all to itself, but that’s no coincidence—Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives one week later.
Chris Hemsworth leads an impressive ensemble for In the Heart of the Sea that also includes Brendan Gleeson, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Benjamin Walker, and Ben Whishaw as Herman Melville, who used the Essex story as the inspiration for his landmark novel Moby Dick. The trailers for the film have looked great thus far (that Anthony Dod Mantle cinematography, wow), and while I’m personally bummed I’ll have to wait a little longer to see it, maybe its December release date will work in the film’s favor re: awards. For now, though, we’ve got this Oscars to worry about.