In Between Cannes and "Prometheus," Film Writers Are Finally Able to Squeeze in a Kick at "Battleship"

Posted 1:45 PM June 1st, 2012 by Senh Duong

Having written two previous articles about “Battleship”’s impending “John Carter”-like doom at the box office, I was looking forward to seeing how it would do domestically. The only problem was it opened during Cannes, and I was busy with that.

In my first article, I wrote: “Universal put $250M behind an adaptation of a board game from Hasbro. A board game. Yes, it’s a popular and fun board game, but still. This makes Disney’s $250M gamble on “John Carter” behind a first time director of live-action films (Andrew Stanton) and an actor with unproven box office (Taylor Kitsch) seem … rational. Oh yeah, “Battleship” also stars the same actor. Kitsch sure has a good agent.”

““Battleship” has already grossed $130M overseas after two weeks. That’s just $4M ahead of “John Carter” in the same amount of time. “John Carter” is in its last legs with $200M in total foreign revenue. “Battleship” better have legs and score huge domestic figures, or it’ll end up being another costly money-loser like “John Carter.” A Universal head will then get fired - I mean resign.”

No one resigned from Universal yet, but the alarm bells have rung. Now, it all depends on how “Snow White and the Huntsman” does this weekend. The good news is it did $1.4M at midnight screenings, which is slightly better than last week’s “Men in Black III.” “Snow White and the Huntsman” isn’t nearly as well reviewed though, scoring a mixed 46% on the Tomatometer.

In my follow-up article, I wrote: “Well, another week has passed, and “Battleship”’s total is now at $171M, a million behind “John Carter” after the same number of weeks.”

“That’s not good. “John Carter” finished its foreign run at $200M. “Battleship” will probably end up a few million below that.”

“Peter Berg’s alien invasion movie won’t open in the U.S. until May 18th, sandwiched between “The Avengers” and “Men in Black III.” All three films have overlapping demographics, which is the action and scifi crowd.”

““Battleship” might have trouble topping “The Avengers” in its third weekend. It’ll surely be crushed by “Men in Black III” in the following weekend.”

Most of that did happen. It was crushed by “The Avengers” in its third weekend and again in the following weekend by “Men in Black III.”

“Battleship” opened with $25.5M, which was about $5M below “John Carter.” In its second weekend, it did $11M; again, a couple million below “John Carter.” After two weekends, “Battleship” accumulated $44.6M, about $9M below “John Carter”’s $53.2M.

“John Carter” is finishing its domestic run with about $72.5M; “Battleship” will probably end with about $60M. Domestically, “Battleship” is doing worst than “John Carter.” Overseas, it’s slightly better: $233M for “Battleship” and $210M for “John Carter.” Worldwide, both films are about equal; “Battleship” will probably end up with about $10M-$15M more. Still, it’ll lose a lot of money for Universal. If “John Carter” had a $200M write-down after its theatrical run, “Battleship,” which cost slightly less to make and market, will lose between $100-$150M.

While I was at Cannes, I wanted to blog about this, but I just couldn’t find the time. Film festivals are just too grueling. I bet other film writers at Cannes felt the same way, as articles regarding “Battleship”’s demise are finally trickling in. Although not for long though, most have already moved on to writing about Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus.”

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