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Battleship Movie: Kitsch-Decker Sci-Fi/Adventure Bombs

Brooklyn Decker Battleship Taylor Kitsch
Battleship: Brooklyn Decker, Taylor Kitsch

May 19 p.m. update: Brooklyn Decker has two box office disappointments opening on the same weekend: Decker is featured in Battleship and What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Both movies opened way below expectations on Friday; in fact, official studio estimates released Saturday morning have them faring even worse than Friday night estimates indicated.

Starring Taylor Kitsch, Peter Berg’s Battleship raked in $9 million at 3,650 locations on Friday in the U.S. and Canada according to boxofficemojo.com. That’s about $500,000 less than early estimates. For comparison’s sake: Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, at the start of its third weekend out, took in an estimated $15.3 million.

Box-office prognosticators were expecting Battleship to gross $40 million on its first weekend out in North America. It turns out the alien invasion actioner/sci-fier will be lucky if it earns much more than $25 million. A Universal release, Battleship cost a reported $209 million.

Needless to say, Taylor Kitsch hasn’t had much luck at the North American box office. Battleship is his second expensive box office dud this year, following Disney’s Andrew Stanton-directed John Carter. The $250 million sci-fier / actioner opened with $30.2 million in early March; its domestic total to date is $71.8 million.

Admittedly, Taylor Kitsch has been luckier overseas. John Carter international take is $200.6 million. Though already on its last legs, Battleship has collected $215.3 million overseas, faring particularly well in Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

But just as John Carter posted heavy losses for Disney, Battleship will undoubtedly post heavy losses for Universal. After all, Battleship will likely end its run with $300–$320 million worldwide – or about 65 percent of the amount necessary to cover the film’s budget, even without taking into account marketing / distribution expenses. (On average, studios get about 50–55 percent of a film’s domestic gross; 40 percent of the international gross.)

Kirk Jones’ all-star ensemble What to Expect When You’re Expecting brought in a paltry $3.9 million at 3,021 sites on Friday. Early estimates had the film earning $4.4 million. Chances are the $40 million-budgeted movie will reach only $11 million this weekend. Definitely not good news for distributor Lionsgate, which was expecting a debut somewhere around $20 million.

Not helping matters is Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator, which opened on Wednesday. The tale of an Arab dictator stranded in the United States, The Dictator pulled in an estimated $5.7 million at 3,008 theaters on Friday, for an expected weekend total of $16 million and a cume of $23 million. For comparison’s sake, Bruno – which was considered a major box office disappointment following Borat – opened with $30.6 million on its first weekend out in July 2009.

At no. 5, Tim Burton / Johnny Depp’s Dark Shadows, last weekend’s box office dud, earned $3.8 million on Friday. Dark Shadows is expected to score around $11–$12 million over the weekend – or slightly more than What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The film’s cume will quite possibly fail to reach the $50 million mark after ten days. Dark Shadows’ budget figures remain fuzzy, but most reports have it at around $150 million. Which makes this Warner Bros. release another major springtime domestic bomb.

Directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers features Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Clark Gregg.

Besides Brooklyn Dekker, the What to Expect When You’re Expecting cast includes Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Chace Crawford, Anna Kendrick, Ben Falcone, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid, Chris Rock, Rodrigo Santoro, Joe Manganiello, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Megan Mullaly.

Supporting Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator are Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, and Megan Fox as herself. Larry Charles directed.

Besides Johnny Depp, Dark Shadows features Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jackie Earle Haley, Eva Green, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, Gulliver McGrath, Michael Shannon, Alice Cooper, and Christopher Lee.

May 19 early morning

Taylor Kitsch continues to have poor luck at the North American box office. First, Disney’s Andrew Stanton-directed sci-fier / actioner John Carter became one of the biggest domestic bombs ever (in relation to the film’s gargantuan cost) when it opened in early March. Now comes Peter Berg’s sci-fier / actioner box office dud Battleship, which opened with an estimated $9.5 million at 3,650 locations on Friday in the U.S. and Canada – well behind The Avengers’ estimated $15.5 million at the start of its third weekend.

A Universal release, Battleship is expected to collect $26 million at the North American box office this weekend according to early, rough estimates found at Deadline.com. That’s a dismal figure for a movie that cost a reported $209 million. For comparison’s sake, John Carter, whose reported budget was $250 million, opened with $30.2 million.

John Carter’s domestic total to date is $71.8 million. Internationally, it fared much better: $200.6 million; a solid amount, though certainly not enough to prevent Disney’s film distribution arm from suffering severe losses.

Now, Universal may find itself in the same position. Battleship has already raked in $215.3 million overseas, faring particularly well in Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. But if early estimates are accurate, this latest Taylor Kitsch movie will be lucky if it reaches $75 million domestically. If so, Battleship will end up with $300–$320 million worldwide – or about 65 percent of the amount necessary to cover the film’s budget, even without taking into account marketing / distribution expenses. (On average, studios get about 50-55 percent of a film’s domestic gross; 40 percent of the international gross.)

Of course, there will be all sorts of ancillary revenues associated with Battleship, but the box office numbers will not make Universal executives at all happy.

Should Universal have opened Battleship earlier in the spring? Probably, considering that the other Taylor Kitsch movie would have been no competition. True, there was the Gary Ross-Jennifer Lawrence dystopian hit The Hunger Games, but at least in part, that appealed to a different demographic. Anyhow, one thing is for certain: opening Battleship so soon after The Avengers, another movie about a Battle for Earth, was a huge mistake.

Directed by Peter Berg, Battleship was written by Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber. Also in the film’s cast are What to Expect When You’re Expecting actress Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Rihanna, Alexander Skarsgård, Peter MacNicol, Josh Pence,  John Bell, and Jesse Plemons.

Jennifer Lopez What to Expect When You're Expecting
Jennifer Lopez, What to Expect When You’re Expecting

All-star cast unable to boost What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Still going strong, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is on its third weekend out. Yet the domestic box office is expected to be down 18 percent compared to last year because of three weak new entries: Peter Berg’s mega-budget Battleship, starring Taylor Kitsch and Brooklyn Decker, barely managed to stay afloat on Friday, while Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator (which opened on Wednesday) and Kirk Jones’ all-star ensemble (Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Chace Crawford, etc.) What to Expect When You’re Expecting performed below expectations.

The Dictator grossed an estimated $5.5 million at 3,008 theaters on Friday, for an expected weekend total of $16 million, as per Deadline.com. Sacha Baron Cohen’s R-rated comedy will thus reach a cume of $23 million after five days. For comparison’s sake, Bruno – which was considered a major box office disappointment following Borat – opened with $30.61 million on its first weekend out in July 2009.


Brooklyn Decker and Taylor Kitsch Battleship movie image: Frank Masi | Universal Pictures.

Jennifer Lopez What to Expect When You’re Expecting movie image: Melissa Moseley | Lionsgate.

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1 comment

Jay -

Sorry, no ancillary revenue here. Taylor Kitsch is just a second-hand green banana, a second-hand green banana today….

Reply

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