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 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 the movie will make up ground overseas, where it began rolling out last weekend.
Howard's movie appears to have narrowly lost the No. 1 spot to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2, which is expected to have earned $11.3 million or more in its fourth weekend.
Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw, and Brendan Gleeson star in Heart of the Sea, which recounts the sinking of the whaling ship Essex in 1820, the inspiration for Herman Melville's Moby Dick.
Critics have ravaged the movie; audiences were more impressed, giving it a B+ CinemaScore.
One bright spot this weekend was Adam McKay's The Big Short, which opened in eight theaters 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.
Big Short is expected to post a location average in the $86,000 range -- the best showing ever for a title opening in eight theaters.
More to come.