Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
May 21, 2012
Remember all those aliens when you played Battleship as a kid? No? Hm.
Kim Hollis: Battleship, Hasbro and Universal's attempt reinvent another toy as an action movie, was a huge disappointment this weekend, opening to $25.5 million. Why do you think audiences were indifferent to this release?
Samuel Hoelker: I think its biggest flaw is that it wasn't able to pull a Social Network. When The Social Network was announced, the world said in unison, "They're making a Facebook movie?" The trailers and hype, however, showed how much more the film was than just, well, Facebook. When the world said, "They're making a Battleship movie?" nothing was able to make the world change its mind. All of the marketing was, in fact, ships fighting each other, nothing more. When you have so many directions from which to go (considering the game of Battleship isn't exactly the most densely plotted of board games), choosing the lamest one isn't really the way to build hype. Also, it's not good. Audiences have surprisingly been pretty good so far this year about not giving money to bad movies.
Matthew Huntley: Sam is right - the movie isn't good. That's the first thing. Granted, it's not as awful as it could have been, and some of it's amusing, but it's simply not worth audiences' time or money. Secondly, have today's teenage boys, the target demographic for this movie, ever played Battleship before? Would they know the movie is based on a board game? Maybe their ignorance played a role in them simply not caring about it.
Still, despite the movie's quality, or the lack of awareness its primary audience has for the source material, it's a mystery to me why Battleship did this poorly. After all, the Transformers movies, which are far worse, did insanely well at the box office and carried the same type of nostalgia factor. Plus, Battleship had the look and feel of another Transformers, which is why I was expecting it to open closer to the $40 million range. Perhaps audiences have already had their fill of action extravaganzas with The Avengers and are waiting until something worthy comes along. Whatever the case, I think it's safe to say we won't be seeing adaptations of Scrabble, Chutes & Ladders or Hungry Hungry Hippos any time soon.
Edwin Davies: There's been an overwhelming sense of cynicism surrounding this project since it was first announced, and it's a cynicism that flows both ways. The studio were clearly being very cynical by taking a name brand and making a film that had little to do with that brand - because obviously a film that stayed true to the spirit of Battleship would unbelievably tedious and end with your sister calling it "stupid" and running off to her room when she lost (okay, that may just be my experience of Battleship) - and that engendered a cynicism in its potential audience as everyone could see that was precisely what they were doing. We can talk about how terrible Transformers and GI Joe are, but at least they were based on a franchise that had an established set of characters and something of a story. Battleship didn't have that, and so when the trailers showed that it was an incredibly generic alien invasion movie, they lost interest. There's a case to be made that, had the film been exactly the same, but not called Battleship, it probably would have done better.