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Battleship vs Transformers

 
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tulip



Joined: 05 May 2009
Posts: 34
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 12:43 pm    Post subject: Battleship vs Transformers Reply with quote

What I don't understand is why Transformers, truly wretched movies, did so well and Battleship is basically bombing at the box-office. When they are basically the same movies. Well one is on land and one is on sea.

Is it really the Michael Bay factor? (I weep if that's the case)

I mean if you look at the numbers for the first weekend:

TF: 71M
TF2: 109M
TF3: 98M

Battleship: 26M

Is it really because of the Avengers? I can't believe that the demographic that spent millions the first weekend for all the Transformers is suddenly demanding higher quality from their summer craptaculars.

Does anybody have any ideas what is going on?

I realize that Avengers is probably pulling some fanboys away and they're just seeing it 5 and 6 times, but I'm just surprised Battleship is tanking so badly. I mean it opened weaker than John Carter.
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JaySeaver
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Joined: 03 Jun 2004
Posts: 1357
Location: Cambridge, MA

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As much as Transformers is a toy line, it's also been something with characters and storylines from the start; I think the cartoon or comics appeared fairly soon after the toys, so in the audience's head, Transformers has always been something that makes sense as a movie. Battleship, on the other hand, is almost completely abstract; from the moment it was floated as an idea, seemed ridiculous, because what was there to adapt into a story - especially in the present day when you would have a hard time creating a situation where two evenly matched fleets met for a naval battle?

Now, if the buzz had been "hey, Peter Berg and company took this brand name, figured out something really clever, and made a heck of an exciting movie", that would be one thing. But Battleship started out as a much more ridiculous idea than Transformers, and would have had to have much better execution to escape that.
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Alex Paquin
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Battleship is abstract, yes, and seemed ridiculous, but there was nothing that could have prevented the writing of a good story; it could have been anything from what it was to a Chester Nimitz biopic. But evidently the studio thought it had a recognizable game property, which meant it couldn't be wasted on something too serious, or vice versa (do you really want your prestige picture based on a board game?). In other words, they knew that the franchise could only be turned into crap, so it was doomed from the start (but, come to think of it, so it appeared for Pirates of the Caribbean, and the first film was fairly good).

You say 26 million, which is a paltry sum for the domestic market, but the film earned 215 million in foreign markets, where it was released over a month in advance. Possibly negative word of mouth trickled to North America before the release; an Australian friend saw it last month and pointed out to me, in excruciating detail, how ridiculous it was. And the importance of the foreign markets explains why the war could not have been against anything but extraterrestrials. You can't negatively represent an important market, so that's how you get a Red Dawn remake with North Korea (instead of China) as your nemesis, and that's how you get aliens in Battleship.
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JaySeaver
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, when I first heard they were doing alien invaders for Battleship, I was kind of hoping for insanity - that the filmmakers, knowing they had a brand name and two companies with their own TV networks behind them for publicity, would make the big action movie that Universal wouldn't dream of greenlighting as a stand-alone. Might as well use that blank slate.

But, you've got to make it a good movie, and from what I gather, that's not what happened.
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