Battleship's Damage to Universal: $83M Loss

Posted 10:30 AM August 1st, 2012 by Senh Duong

Universal’s expensive summer tentpole “Battleship,” based on Hasbro’s board game, cost $200-$250M to make and probably another $70M-$90M to market. When the dust has settled, “Battleship” has done $65M domestic and $238M foreign for a worldwide gross of $303M.

Because studios, on average, only get about half of the revenue from the box office, Universal lost a huge chunk of change. So what’s the damage?

According to Variety: “The film studio posted a cash flow loss of $83 million versus a profit of $27 million the year before on the underperformance of Battleship...”

So because of “Battleship,” the studio had a cash flow loss of $80M for the second quarter. It’s still a vague number because it’s for the entire slate of films for the studio, not just “Battleship.” I suspect the actual write-down for the film is a lot more than that.

If “John Carter,” which had similar cost and box office, had a loss of $200M after its theatrical run, “Battleship"'s loss should be in the same ballpark.

I knew it would do poorly because of its ultra-high budget and weak premise way before it had even opened. Pre-release buzz wasn’t great. It had poor reviews. Although it opened decently overseas, the figures looked similar to “John Carter”’s, which wasn’t a good sign.

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