Why did Battleship bomb? Was it the reviews? The laughable concept? The poor execution? Is Taylor Kitsch officially box office poison? Or is it bad timing? Could the board game-adaptation have done better by waiting a little longer, perhaps just one week in order to appropriately open the jingoist military fantasy over Memorial Day weekend (Will Smith should have the 4th of July anyway)? Many are citing the unstoppable power of The Avengers as the real reason for the flop, especially since it provides unimaginative headlines like “The Avengers sinks Battleship” and “The Avengers torpedoes Battleship.”
But is that really a good excuse? Sure, both movies aim for the same general summer blockbuster audience, and sure, both involve alien invasions, and sure, the winner is much better than the loser. I’ll never buy that a movie fails because it’s bad, though, and I actually think Battleship is a lot more enjoyable and far more interesting than a bunch of action and sci-fi movies that are financially successful. This was definitely a mix of things. It doesn’t matter, though, because it did okay overseas and millions of people in the U.S. are going to rent the DVD in a few months, even if they claim they avoided it over the weekend because it sounded stupid.
Here are 10 explanations from around the web:
1. The Avengers:
“You sunk my Battleship!” is not a line you’ll hear in Peter Berg’s big-screen adaptation of the Hasbro board game, but perhaps it’s a phrase Universal execs are shouting in the general direction of “The Avengers” this morning. - Josh Wigler, MTV Movies Blog
Battleship was torpedoed, capsized, and drowned this weekend by The Avengers, still going strong into their third week. - Andre Tartar, Vulture
The real nail in the coffin was The Avengers—audiences had and continued to turn out in droves to see the legendary superhero team prevent aliens from leveling Manhattan, and Battleship’s aliens-at-sea premise really had no chance of competing. - Ray Subers, Box Office Mojo
It’s The Avengers, and it’s not just our film. When is the last time you saw a Johnny Depp movie open like that? - Nikki Rocco, Universal domestic distribution chief, quoted by The Wrap