The “bean counters” and “suits” in charge of Universal Pictures and Hasbro Toys new motion picture, Battleship, are undoubtedly pacing the floors of their collective board rooms today, as the most expensive film ever based on a children’s game finally opens in cineplexes across the U.S.
Of course, Battleship isn’t the first game-inspired movie to make it to the silver screen; 1995’s Jumanji and 1985’s Clue immediately come to mind. But Battleship is one of Hasbro’s biggest success stories. Having sold over 100 million units to date, the game has already generated over $1 BILLION in profit for the toy company.
Nonetheless, the new movie is a $200 million dollar gamble for Hasbro and Universal, and it faces a minefield of challenges during its initial voyage. Big-budget Summer releases regularly “pull in to the dock” pre-panned by reviewers as plotless, explosive “eye candy.” Such lackluster press, however, often fails to sink the prospects of bombastic films such as Battleship, which can steam on “full-speed-ahead” to box-office success under their own power.
Still, it behooves the two companies to keep a close eye on Battleship‘s receipts, if they hope to “stay on course” financially themselves. Initial reaction in Europe, where it opened yesterday was mixed. Some labeled the film as “plotless” or “too patriotic” in some parts. (Oh no! We wouldn’t want to be TOO patriotic.)
And then there are the many “enemy” studios, slowly circling their own films around the audiences who may be headed to see Battleship in an attempt to bite off huge chunks of the film’s profits. For example, Marvel and Paramount’s mighty “Avengers” film (GREAT, by the way) is a such a huge financial juggernaut that it shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Its overwhelming success actually threatens to board Battleship’s bridge and scuttle the film’s passage through American theaters.
Aye, mateys! Battleship is a huge financial gamble. But it also has the potential for HUGE rewards. If Hasbro and Universal can recoup their (rather significant) production expenses, then any additional profits from toy and DVD sales will make this skirmish for film-goer bucks quite lucrative. According to Universal chairman, Adam Fogelson in an interview on THR…
“It’s a big bet. Like many, many big bets from many studios.”
What else might sink Battleship? The movie simply may not be good enough. With today’s fancy-schmancy internet and it’s hoity-toity social media (HA), good or bad fan “buzz” can spread very quickly, Too many negative comments could threaten to “torpedo and capsize” Battleship’s success, forcing audiences to quickly “abandon a sinking ship.” Have I used enough nautical metaphors yet? No? Well…
For me, good, bad or whatever, I know I’m going to see this movie. I’m a sucker for all things battleship-related. I love the U.S. Navy! And all those “opening salvo” scenes in WWII movies like “The Longest Day,” and the battleship duels in old movies like “Sink the Bismark” are unforgettable. Whenever the captains of those mighty ships give the order to “Fire all weapons!” it’s quite a sight to behold. So don’t even THINK about trying to stand between me, my popcorn and this movie. BOOMMMMMMM!!!