What's the allure of Battleship?

I get the game. It's a simple, often infuriating little time waster that can be packed up for travel. It's a game that doesn't require a confusingly long series of rules and tips to play. You pick a location and you either hit a battleship or miss. Simple and fun.

But now it's going to be a major motion picture. Have no fear -- it won't be two hours of people shouting on numbered locations. That wouldn't be cinematic. To make this sucker epic, there will be an alien invasion where dudes and dudettes can't see who they're attacking! They can only make informed decisions a guess!

It's also budgeted to cost a whopping $200 million. It's a gamble for Universal, wouldn't you say?
The Hollywood Reporter posts that as Battleship gets ready to start production this month, the budget is ranked at $200 million (or more). That's for a flick starring Taylor Kitsch and Rihanna (in her first feature acting gig), with Peter Berg (Hancock being the only action film to his name), in a world of water which brings to mind expensive flops like Waterworld.

The studio cites Berg's passion for the material, and how much he learned from his naval historian father for it, as if we're talking about a World War II movie and not Mars Attacks! on H2O. They also cite the love masses of people have for the game, as if carefully placing little plastic ships on a grid will make people the world over go: "I must watch aliens attack ships on the big screen!"

But let's put this into perspective. Avatar, which James Cameron put on hold until technology advanced to his liking, cost somewhere from $280 million to $500 million, depending on who you listen to. At World's End was roughly $300 million. Spider-Man 3 was $258 million. Hopping down the list to the bottom of the Top Ten Most Expensive Productions, we get to Battleship's pricetag, with 2012, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Titanic, Spider-Man 2, Quantum of Solace, and Terminator Salvation weighing in with about $200 million.

It's not a jump to think this could easily fall into 2012 or Terminator Salvation territory. From all preliminary reports, the biggest allure this project has is its kitsch factor. (Pun not intended.) It's a wildly crazy, over-the-top spin on a simple game that could very well become a cult film, and surely seems more like a potential cult film than a blockbuster. But you don't spend that much money on a niche project.

THR wraps up their piece by noting:
One heartening reality Universal and Berg can recall as they press forward: It wasn't until 1997, almost a decade after Abyss, that Cameron headed back to the water with a hugely budgeted project that throughout its production was seen as teetering on the brink of disaster. That, of course, was Titanic.
Is Battleship the next Titanic? Does it have any shot making back its price tag, or will it just be a sunk Battleship?
categories Movies, Cinematical