Do You Think ‘Battleship’ Can Really Boost Hasbro Game Sales?

by on April 12, 2012

in Entertainment

'Battleship' movie poster

The movie Battleship, whose theatrical release here in the U.S., is May 18th, 2012.  It’s already opened overseas in Australia, Korea, Belgium, France, and Switzerland, and previewed in 11 other territories and in one day, it’s netted almost $8 million.  And  it looks like almost all overseas venues will be getting this movie first before we do.  But there’s probably a method to the madness of this release schedule, because Hasbro is hoping to have some big plans in relationship to Battleship.  ($8M in day overseas sounds good, until you find out that overseas ticket prices can cost from $8 to $21 a pop!)

Peter Berg, director of 'Battleship'

The movie is directed by Peter Berg (The Losers, Hancock) and the cast includes Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Jesse Plemons.. and the list goes on.  The story of the movie goes as such:

“A fleet of ships is forced to do battle with an armada of unknown origins in order to discover and thwart their destructive goals.”

If anything, it seems like a fun popcorn flick and that’s where I stop for the moment until we start hearing whatever early reviews or press is to be had for the movie.

But beyond the movie theater itself, Hasbro is sitting back and greedily wringing their hands with a few hopes sitting squarely on the shoulders of this movie, cast and crew.

Hasbro seems to think (hope) that the upcoming movie, Battleship, is going to help the global marketing of their game business… and they seem to be banking this hope on the fact that Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise films gave the Transformers toy line a huge sales boost.  And they also saw that even though it wasn’t as big of a boost, the G.I. Joe movie also ramped up toy sales a bit.

And if the alien invasion action movie, Battleship, somehow does boost sales of the board game of the same name, then obviously there’s going to be much more enthusiasm behind a few other movies based on board games…  as we have movies coming out like Ouija, Risk, Stretch Armstrong and Candy Land in the works.

Taylor Kitsch in 'Battleship'

And to help the movie generate interest, have you noticed that Hasbro has Battleship being marketed as “From Hasbro, the company that brought you Transformers.”

I’m not a marketing expert (only a hobbyist in the field), but I am a male consumer with strong emotional ties to my inner child and I just don’t see Battleship cranking up interest in the board game from Hasbro, unless Hasbro is planning on some kind of revamp or new edition tied into the movie where combatants battle aliens instead of each other! (Actually, they are.*)

I think I get why the Transformers & G.I. Joe movies helped the toy lines.  Because kids can go out, grab themselves two of their favorite characters from the movies, and have a real beat-down between toys.  As a kid, I remember wielding my superhero dolls and manipulating them so one’s hand smacked the bad guy in the head.  I remember throwing the bad guy across the room as if he was just hit by an atomic punch and watch as he rolled and tumbled to a stop up against the wall across the room.  I got to make my own action sequences.  This was real time… not imaginary, and was very entertaining to me.

In Battleship, from what I can tell, has made every single person whose seen it, think of Transformers with the alien machine scenes and such.  And in one of the earlier trailers, when the aliens fired at the battleships in the oceans, they had some weapons that stuck in the sides of the ships and they looked like the pegs from the game.  I got a kick out of that.  But that’s where any semblance of similarity stops.

Alexander Skarsgård in 'Battleship'

This is a board game with plastic ships hidden from view and you call out grid coordinates.  You don’t punch anything, you don’t see aliens coming at you and you don’t see the invisible power shield bubble thing that we see in the trailer.  You don’t see the cool weaponry or really have an opportunity to create your own action.  With the exception of the name of the movie and that there is a form of a confrontation, that’s where the similarities end and the movie begins.  I just don’t see this helping the game at all.

*Sure…  Hasbro is planning on a new edition of Battleship where shredders will be represented… check it out:

“Deluxe Battleship Movie Edition”

Product Description:

You are at the helm in the fight for the future of the planet. Will you command the Alien Fleet or defend Humankind? Power up and scan the battlefield for locations to conceal your highly detailed, movie-based ships. Then, brace yourself for battle as electronic voice commands and sound effects signal your search-and-destroy mission to take out your opponent’s ships. Play on your own or battle a friend, and choose from three edge-of-your seat missions!

Includes folding BATTLESHIP game unit with 2 storage trays, 5 Navy ships, 5 Alien ships, red, white and blue pegs, 3 red aircraft, 3 blue aircraft, label sheet, 4 rubber feet and rulebook.

And looking at their website, you see there are distinctly new and various ways to play the game (Man, I’m so out of touch with “board games.”).

So they are revamping the game for the movie.  (For $40 on Hasbro’s website!)  But can mimicking a movie scenario really help a game?  And at $40 suggested retail?

The man-child consumer in me says I might be curious, but I’m not swayed like I would be to play with a car that can stand up and kick butt, or a military dude with futuristic weaponry.  But hey, I could be wrong!  The game could be a blast.  Pokemon and other card games seem to be thriving off of commercial success of those TV/movie franchises.  We’ll see.

But for now, (I just saw this while writing this piece) with projected overseas tallies for Battleship is close to $300M, well, this may very well spark a new wave of board game based movies.  Oh goodie.  Well…  at least it’s more original than the spate of remakes we’ve been getting pummeled with from Hollywood in recent time.

hasbro: battleship

Deadline: Overseas Opening Day Box Office.

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