Can you hear it? Out there in the distance, on a cold crag of rock with the wind whipping at its monstrous back is a marketing department VP howling at the empty night. Battleship – in all of its $209m budget plus probably $200m more in marketing – was hoping for the kind of win at the box office that would signal the go-ahead for two more movies and the trappings that come with franchises.

It did not succeed.

As proof that sticking feathers up your butt and calling yourself a chicken doesn’t work, the Peter Berg-directed pile of messy noises made a paltry $25m this weekend, coming in at #2. A fitting, metaphorical place.

It’s not surprising that The Avengers ended up back in the top spot, this time earning another $55m – bringing its domestic take closer to the half-billion mark and making its grand total right at $1.8b (with a b).

There are a lot of possible lessons here, but hopefully Universal and other studios will see the truth in this triumph of the masses:

  1. You cannot turn a Happy Meal into a movie and pretend it’s not a bloated, 2-hour commercial.
  2. Winning a huge box office requires more than a massive marketing budget. It takes honest, positive, enthusiastic word of mouth.
  3. You don’t gain those kinds of fans by making a loud, rusty-barreled fart.

In other news, The Dictator opened in the third slot with $17.4m (bringing an early opening total to $24.4m). Dark Shadows slipped to #4 in its second week with $12.7m, and What to Expect When You’re Expecting opened to fifth place with $10.5m.

The bottom line? Yes, The Avengers had something to do with Battleship‘s failure, but no one (especially Universal and Hasbro) should delude themselves of the fact that it being terrible is what really made it sink.

Source: Box Office Mojo

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