Before The Lone Ranger and After Earth, the big fanboy whipping boy was Battleship. We’ve covered the film extensively here on TGD, and like The Lone Ranger, it was one of those projects that was seemingly doomed from the get-go. It also infuriated fans because it ate up so much money at Universal, there was nothing left to potentially make Guillermo Del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness, or The Dark Tower movie series.
So what exactly went wrong? Well, the real question is what didn’t go wrong with Battleship, but Peter Berg felt it was lack of a big star at the helm that brought it down.
As Berg told the New York Times, he knew the movie was in trouble before it came out. Berg had previously made Hancock with Will Smith, and it wasn’t critically well received, but still made a ton of dough. “I felt I had a new understanding of what went into making a blockbuster,” Berg said. “I got a taste of a film’s global power. But I discounted the effect of Will Smith on Hancock’s success. I thought I could pull off Battleship without a big star.”
Berg added they couldn’t afford a big star because a lot of the $200 million budget went to the special effects. Berg may indeed have a point about Battleship lacking a big star, but we at TGD believe the biggest star in the world couldn’t make a theatrical version of a board game that was really a weak rip-off of Transformers stay afloat in a million years.
We’d like to think Hollywood will learn its lesson after the lengthy string of bombs this summer, but if Battleship wasn’t big enough of a lesson, the town is doomed to keep making the same big budget mistakes over and over again.