How Battleship Bust Dodged the John Carter Treatment


"Even though the media exhibit enormous sophistication and historical perspective in a thousand different ways — not that I can think of a specific example right now — they are far too often bedazzled by the sheer novelty of a story. If you watch cable news, for example, you know all too well that if there are two child kidnappings in the same month, the first one gets far more attention than the second. This same law applies to box-office bombs. With Battleship, the fascination with Hollywood flop sweat had already worn off. When I asked a veteran showbiz reporter why his publication had spent so little time covering the demise of Battleship, he joked: 'I guess we all had the same reaction — didn’t we just write that story already?'" [LAT]


  • bradslager says:

    I would toss in an additional influence to the debate: Source Material.

    In the case of JOHN CARTER you had an established property with a compelling story and franchise potential built in. It's failure to latch on with audiences became more stark and compelling.
    With BATTLESHIP as soon as we heard a script was being based upon a board game we all thought the same thing -- the biggest bomb won't be on board a battle cruiser.

  • KevyB says:

    I think how much each movie was talked about BEFORE their releases counts. John Carter got a lot of talk about all the problems Disney was having with it, so it bombing was kind of the Third Act in that story. Whereas the only thing anyone was saying about Battleship was that it looked moronic. Nobody expected good or bad or anything from it, so really the only way it would have made news after it was released is if it put up Avengers numbers or Atlas Shrugged numbers. Anything between and... whatever.

  • Kyle says:

    Oh lord did we all forget the reason John Carter was written down for a 200 mil loss was because of the end of the fiscal year?

  • Matt says:

    There's also the point that Battleship isn't all that much of a flop, certainly not compared to the disaster of John Carter. Battleship has done $282m worldwide so far, on a reported budget of $209m, and will be a small loser once it sells a few DVDs. It's not the sort of thing you want on your resume, sure, but it's not a career-killer on the scale of Carter or Mars Needs Moms.

  • Isaac says:

    Matt, if you think that Battleship isn't that much of a flop then you can't say that Carter is a giant flop either. Both of them have made around the same amount of money, both will recoup some of their losses in DVD, and Carter performed better domestically. Carter is the bigger flop as it had a larger production budget, but they're both pretty big flops.