Friday, June 15, 2012

Peter Berg Explains Why Battleship Sank

Director Peter Berg attempts to explain why Battleship failed.

Source: SandwichJohnFilms; BoxOfficeMojo
This year we've already seen colossal failures of two big-budget films: John Carter and Battleship. While it's not uncommon to see flops this early in the summer season (remember the epic $105 million loss for Green Lantern and the even larger pummeling for Mars Needs Moms from 2011), the domestic failure of Battleship is astounding. As of this date, the film has only managed a meager $60 million in the US, which is $12 million less than John Carter.  At a budget of $209 million, the film is currently poised to lose about $140 million before everything is said and done.  If those numbers hold up, it would wipe out Green Lantern for one of the largest domestic losses in history.

Silent throughout this entire melee has been Director Peter Berg.  Today, that ended, as Berg finally opened up to The Huffington Post as to why he thinks the film failed:

"I have a movie in theaters right now which has obviously underperformed in many ways. When [a movie] doesn't work, it's an ... interesting opportunity to look at what went wrong and how it went wrong.  It was a movie that I tried as hard as I could to get inside of. But the concept is so big and powerful, and the money is so big and so powerful, that the movie is going to run away with itself."

Essentially, he's saying that Hollywood's seemingly endless pockets somehow caused him to lose control of his film, because it became too big for him to control.  Huh?  If your vehicle begins to lose control on the road, you slow down.  If you feel your hear racing towards something bad, you slow down.  If you're the director of a film that seems to be running away from itself...well, you get the picture.  Battleship got away from Berg because he allowed it to do so, with a script of tired cliches that wanted to look and feel like a odd combination of Top Gun and Transformers.  I documented its many failures here, but Berg's statement seems to fall flat.  As the director, he could have slowed things down, seeking the right script and mix of talent before setting sail.  If that talent or story had began to fail (as it must have seemed during shooting), then Berg could have slowed the process down.  Instead, he allowed forces beyond his control ruin both the film and possibly the careers of stars Taylor Kitsch and Brooklyn Decker.  

While all the news for Battleship isn't so bad - it's actually made a total of $300 million worldwide - one could argue that both Berg and Kitsch are headed for rough waters in securing future high-profile gigs.  Stay tuned to OPC as this trainwreck develops.