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  • Directed By: Peter Berg
  • Written By: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
  • Release Date: May 18, 2012
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, Liam Neeson

Box Office Info:
Budget: $209 million Financed by: Universal
Domestic Gross: $65,422,625 Overseas Gross: $239,967,035

battleship 2012
The budget for Battleship was a gargantuan $209 million and Universal financed.  In its quarter filing report Comcast reported that its Universal Pictures division posted an $83 million loss, mostly attributed to the poor box office performance of Battleship.

Shortly before he was fired in October 2009, Universal Pictures Chairman Marc Shmuger was not only developing the board game Battleship for the studio, but also had Monopoly, Clue, Candyland Ouija and Stretch Armstrong.  Only the inexpensive Ouija made it into production after the complete failure of Battleship.

This turkey starring Taylor Kitsch of the record breaking money loser John Carter (released just two months earlier), opened overseas before its domestic bow and Battleship pulled in a healthy $239M.  The US release was originally set for the Memorial Day frame, but it was pushed forward to May 18.  Despite bad buzz trailing the picture into release, Universal gave Battleship an expensive marketing blitz, which never made the movie look like anything more than a derivative Transformers knockoff — and one that upped the idiocy and military fetishtism.  In addition to the traditional ad spend, Universal partnered with dozens of corporations including Coca-Cola, Kraft, Subway, Nestle, etc. — where the companies spent over $50 million tying in their lousy products with this lousy movie.

Audience awareness of Battleship was at very high levels, but the opening projections were around $40 million — which were troubling numbers for a film of this expense and there were plans to franchise this property.  Reviews were poor and Battleship bowed against The Dictator and What to Expect When You’re Expecting and it would see direct competition from The Avengers in its third weekend.  The film came in way below expectations at $25,534,825 — placing #2 for the frame led by The Avengers.  It sank 56.7% in its second frame to $11,050,470, when Men In Black 3 opened and continued to post large weekly drops.  The domestic run closed with $65,422,625.

The worldwide total was $305.3M.  Universal would see returned about $167.9M after theaters take their percentage of the gross — which would cover global P&A expenses, but the theatrical receipts would barely put a dent in the budget.

Director Peter Berg would find box office redemption the following year with Lone Survivor and was quoted by The Hollywood Reporter as saying that the less expensive Lone Survivor would allow him to “buy back my reputation.”

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