Universal and Hasbro Entertainment's big-budget Battleship barely left port in its North American launch, grossing a dismal $25.3 million.
That's well below the anticipated $35 million to $40 million that Universal and director Peter Berg were hoping for. Battleship, designed to put the studio squarely in the tentpole game, cost at least $209 million to produce, excluding a pricey marketing spend.
Battleship's international gross of $226.8 million provides some cushion, but it needed a strong domestic performance to end up in the black. A $25.3 million opening means the movie might not clear $70 million or $80 million over the long haul domestically, resulting in a notable loss for Universal and sparking plenty of Monday-morning quarterbacking within the studio about what went wrong.
There's already speculation that Battleship, starring Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker and Liam Neeson, will follow the same course as Disney's John Carter, which debuted to $30.2 million in
March and topped out at $71.8 million domestically. Overseas, John Carter, also starring Kitsch, earned $200.6 million. The pic resulted in a $200 million write-down for Disney.
"It is obviously a disappointment, but we will move on. And we have Memorial Day coming up," Universal president of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco said. "The studio has a picture that already has a quarter of a billion dollars in the bank, and it won't die at $25.3 million domestically. We all know that."