At this stage, it seems that rather than providing it the safety of an established brand name to lean on, the connection to Hasbro’s “Battleship” game is proving to be more of a hindrance than a help to Peter Berg’s upcoming blockbuster. While a film about “Transformers“-esque aliens attacking Earth with warships being our first and last line of defence may seem faintly ridiculous anyway, add into that equation that it’s based on a board game and audiences may be forgiven for writing it off as a load of old tosh before it makes it anywhere near theatres.
Well Peter Berg may be beginning to acknowledge that the links to Hasbro aren’t having the same effect here as they did with “Transformers,” because he’s distancing his film from the company and the board game his film was “adapted from.” Here’s what he had to say at WonderCon: “Battleship’s a unique experience. It certainly doesn’t have any direct correlation to the game. That being said, it was a lot of fun to try to find way to reference the game. If you look at the ordinance that the enemies use, it looks a bit like pegs. Both of our ships’ radar systems have trouble seeing each other, so they gotta try and predict where the enemy is so that they can go after them. And there were some other things that were kind of fun. They were certainly never mandated, but anybody that’s of a certain age that knows the game will look at it and probably kind of smile to themselves. I guess they could say, ‘This is preposterous!’ and storm out of the theater. I don’t think they will, but hopefully they’ll say it’s kind of a clever reference to the game.”
So basically the contract between Universal and Hasbro is only benefitting one party at this point – Hasbro. They get paid for use of their property and get a load of free advertising for their game, while Universal spend $200 million on a board game that actually isn’t a board game except in name. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see how audiences respond to the flick, but we imagine the studio might be a bit worried. Taylor Kitsch didn’t get the boost that “Jerrrn Cerrrter” could have given him, and the marketing has promised little other than big, dumb, sub-Michael Bay action so far. But on the flipside it has….Rihanna, right? “Battleship” opens in the U.K. on April 11th and in the U.S. on May 18th. [THR]