The Hollywood Reporter
It was a great weekend at the box office for a certain movie about an unlikely group of heroes having to come together to defeat an invading alien force. Unfortunately for the makers of Battleship, that movie was still The Avengers.
If it wasn’t called The Avengers, nobody gave a damn for the third week in a row. Another $55+ million weekend, over $450 million domestic, another $600 million internationally, and cracking the top 5 highest grossing movies of all time. Easily crushing new releases The Dictator, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and Battleship, the latter suffering the most due to its astronomical budget and nothing but negative karma since its inception.
Peter Berg’s mega budget tale of the US Navy battling sea-faring aliens with porcupine quill goatees, based on the board game by Hasbro, the toy company responsible for Transformers in case you haven’t heard, sank at the US box office with a paltry 2nd place $25.5 million opening, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Going into the weekend it was projected to earn $40-50 million, and even that would have been considered a major disappointment given the film’s hefty price tag.
Sony’s only real consolation is that by releasing the movie a month early internationally, they managed to make just a little over $200 million before The Avengers opened up and gobbled up all of that business, too. Not much consolation since Battleship cost $200 million to make, and that’s before factoring in the high price of marketing and distribution. It is entirely possible that the price of the Battleship folly could rival John Carter, and keep in mind that movie lost Disney over $200 million and the head of the film studio.
You really have to feel bad for poor Taylor Kitsch. You just know he, his agent, and all the people surrounding him had to be thinking he was about to become the next big thing what with his starring roles in two of the year’s biggest blockbusters. Then those two blockbusters end up being John Carter and Battleship. I’m not saying the guy’s career is dead, but right now he would have a better chance of actually sailing a battleship to Mars than headlining another major motion picture anytime soon.
The sad thing is you can almost guarantee that when the Sony execs gather to figure out what went wrong, more fingers will get pointed at Taylor Kitsch, director Peter Berg, and The Avengers than actually looking in the mirror and considering the possibility that maybe Battleship never should have been made in the first place.
Another big budget bust came in fourth place this weekend. Remember Dark Shadows? It just opened last weekend, and it seems like everyone has either already forgotten or don’t even care anymore. It took in $12.5 million for the weekend, bringing its domestic box office to just barely over $50 million. This latest Burton/Depp team effort reportedly cost somewhere between $150-175 million so Warner Bros. had better cross its fingers that Johnny Depp is a big enough star to make bank internationally.
Next weekend sees the release of the Oren Peli-produced R-rated horror chiller The Chernobyl Diaries and yet another mega budget movie that hopes to not get sunk in The Avengers‘ wake, Men in Black 3.
Going back to the biggest bombing of a Naval vessel since the USS Cole, the most interesting bit of fallout from the staggering amount of money about to be lost on Battleship probably means that we’ll never get to see the game below become a mega budget event movie. That’s a damn shame because I certainly would have camped in front of the theater for months to see it.
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