Battleship (film)

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A man standing on the deck of a battleship, in front of him an alien craft rises up from the water
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Berg
Written by
  • Jon Hoeber
  • Erich Hoeber
Based onBattleship
by Hasbro
Produced by
CinematographyTobias A. Schliessler
Edited by
Music bySteve Jablonsky[1]
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • April 3, 2012 (2012-04-03) (Tokyo)
  • May 18, 2012 (2012-05-18) (United States)
Running time
131 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$209–220 million[2][3]
Box office$303 million[2]

Battleship is a 2012 American military science fiction action film based on the board game of the same name. The film was directed by Peter Berg from a script by brothers Jon and Erich Hoeber and stars Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna in her feature film debut, Tadanobu Asano, Hamish Linklater and Liam Neeson. Filming took place in Hawaii and on USS Missouri. In the film, the crews of a small group of warships are forced to battle against a naval fleet of extraterrestrial origin in order to thwart their destructive goals.

Battleship premiered in Tokyo on April 3, 2012, and was released by Universal Pictures in the United States on May 18, 2012. The film received generally negative reviews and underperformed at the box-office, grossing $303 million worldwide against a production budget of $209–220 million, losing both Universal and Hasbro $150 million.


In 2005, potentially habitable "Planet G" is discovered, and in 2006, a communications array to reach any extraterrestrial life is built in Oahu. There, Alex Hopper is arrested while attempting to impress Samantha "Sam" Shane, daughter of Admiral Terrance Shane. Alex’s brother, Commander Stone Hopper, forces Alex to join the U.S. Navy. Six years later, Alex is a lieutenant aboard the USS John Paul Jones and in a relationship with Sam, a physical therapist working with wounded veterans. While Stone is a model officer commanding the USS Sampson, the rebellious Alex, while showing plenty of potential, is facing a disciplinary discharge.

During the 2012 RIMPAC exercise, five alien spacecraft arrive. Their communications ship hits a satellite and crashes through the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, while the others plunge into the waters off the coast of Hawaii. Sampson, John Paul Jones, and Japanese destroyer JDS Myōkō discover a floating structure that generates an impenetrable force field isolating the Hawaiian Islands and the three destroyers from the rest of the world, and jamming all radar and communications inside. Three alien warships surface and open fire; Myōkō is destroyed, Sampson is lost with all hands including Stone, and John Paul Jones’ command crew are killed, leaving Alex to reluctantly assume command as the highest-ranking sailor on board. John Paul Jones disengages to recover Myōkō’s survivors, including Captain Yugi Nagata, while alien drones destroy Oahu’s military bases.

Hiking near the communications array, Sam and retired US Army lieutenant colonel and double amputee Mick Canales discover the aliens' presence. They encounter scientist Cal Zapata, who reveals the aliens have taken over the array to re-establish communications with their home planet. The John Paul Jones’ crew captures an alien which telepathically links with Alex, revealing their history of conquering worlds. More aliens board and retrieve their comrade while one starts sabotaging the ship. Its armored suit proves impervious to small-arms fire but is obliterated by the destroyer’s 5-inch gun, and the captured alien's helmet reveals their eyes are sensitive to sunlight. Ashore, Sam, Mick, and Zapata recover his spectrum analyzer, using it to radio John Paul Jones that the aliens will contact their planet and most likely call for reinforcements when the facility’s satellite is in position in four hours.

As night falls, Captain Nagata suggests using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tsunami warning buoys around Hawaii to track the warships without radar; this plan works and allows John Paul Jones to destroy two of them. The third proves too elusive, so they lure it into facing east as the sun rises. Alex and Nagata shoot out its bridge windows with sniper rifles, blinding its crew with sunlight and allowing John Paul Jones to destroy it. The destroyer then attempts to target the communications array, but is sunk by drones launched from the alien structure emitting the force field; Alex, Nagata, and several other sailors barely escape.

The survivors commandeer the decommissioned World War II battleship USS Missouri with the aid of retired Navy veterans. The floating structure is revealed to be a giant mothership, but Missouri disables the force field, allowing Admiral Shane to scramble fighter jets from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. The battleship’s turret carrying the ship’s last shell is disabled, forcing the sailors to carry the shell to the ship's last functioning turret. Sam, Mick, and Cal stall the aliens at the array, where Mick kills an alien soldier. Alex uses the final shell to destroy the array, rendering the Missouri defenseless, but the mothership’s drones are destroyed by Boeing F/A-18 fighter jets, as reinforcements carpet bomb the mothership, eliminating the alien threat.

Alex is promoted to lieutenant commander and presented with a Silver Star and his brother's posthumous Navy Cross. Admiral Shane promises Alex will soon have a ship of his own, while he is also recommended to become a Navy SEAL. Alex asks him for Sam’s hand in marriage, and the admiral initially refuses but invites Alex to lunch.



Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker and Peter Berg promoting the film at WonderCon 2012.

Battleship was greenlit with a production budget of $150 million but went through a troubled pre-production. Universal at one point considered canceling the film, which would have resulted in a $30 million loss. However, new chairman Adam Fogelson decided the studio would lose less money if they increased the budget of the film instead of outright cancelling it.[4] Filming was set to take place in Australia's Gold Coast in 2010, but changed location due to a lack of Australian government tax incentives and a high estimated budget of $220 million.[5]

Filming took place in the United States on the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Oahu, as well as on the mainland where they had to film a few apartment scenes in Sherman Oaks, California, and they had also filmed a driving scene along with a shootout in Playa del Rey, California.[6] Some scenes were also filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.[7]

Further filming was done on USS Missouri.[8] Also featured in the film were the real-life guided missile destroyers USS Benfold (DDG-65), USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), and USS Sampson (DDG-102) all of which are active members of the US Navy Pacific Fleet. A Kongō-class destroyer of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force also appeared in the film.[9]

The Science & Entertainment Exchange provided science consultation for the film.[10]


Jeremy Renner was originally considered for the role of Hopper.[11][12] In April 2010, it was reported that Taylor Kitsch had been cast as Alex Hopper,[12][13] Alexander Skarsgård played his brother Stone Hopper, Brooklyn Decker stars as Sam, Hopper's fiancee and Liam Neeson as Admiral Shane, Sam's father and Hopper's superior officer.[14][15] Barbadian R&B singer Rihanna makes her acting debut in the film, as a sailor.[16] In an interview with GQ, Berg explained how he came up with the idea to cast her. He realized she could act after her appearance on Saturday Night Live.[17] She accepted the role because she wanted "to do something badass" and also because it wasn't a role too big for her to play.[18] Tadanobu Asano also has a role in the film as the commander of a Japanese Kongō-class destroyer. Double amputee U.S. Army Colonel Gregory Gadson, who had never acted before, plays LTC Mick Canales.[19] He was cast after Berg saw a picture of him in National Geographic.[20]

The film marks the reunion between former co-stars Kitsch and Jesse Plemons, who previously worked together on Berg's television series Friday Night Lights. Berg said he loves working with friends and explained he knew how comfortable Kitsch was with Plemons, "I know that he’s really good for Taylor and he makes Taylor better. So, I wrote that whole part for Jesse." He added, "I never thought of it as a Friday Night Lights reunion. I thought of it as protection, bringing a trusted family member in."[21]

U.S. Navy sailors were used as extras in various parts of this film. Sailors from assorted commands in Navy Region Hawaii assisted with line handling to take Missouri in and out of port for a day of shooting in mid 2010. A few months later, the production team put out a casting call for sailors stationed at various sea commands at Naval Station Mayport, Florida to serve as extras.[22] Sailors were also taken from various ships stationed at Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville, Florida, namely USS Hué City, USS Carney and USS Vicksburg were some of the ships that provided sailors.[23]


Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMay 8, 2012
GenreFilm score
LabelVarèse Sarabande
ProducerSteve Jablonsky

Due to his success with the Transformers franchise, composer Steve Jablonsky was chosen to score the official soundtrack. The soundtrack features original compositions from Jablonsky and features rock guitarist Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine. Director Peter Berg stated:

Working with composers often is a really frustrating experience because you speak a different language and, oftentimes, they take two or three jobs, at the same time. They're difficult and pretentious and they're tormented artists. I'm not going to name names, but most of them are. One guy who isn't is Hans Zimmer, who taught Steve Jablonsky. We had a couple of meetings, and I came up with this idea. The day I met with him, I had had an MRI for my neck, and they make that really scary sound. I was like, 'I just had this MRI, and when I was in there, I was thinking about the aliens, and it was really scary.' And he was like, 'Oh, that's awesome!' He went and recorded MRIs and made music out of MRIs, and that's the theme of the aliens in our film. He is no drama, and just goes and gets it done. The score is big and awesome and scary and driving. At times, it's very simple and acoustic and touching and emotional. He's the best I've ever worked with.[24]

All tracks are written by Steve Jablonsky (except where noted)

Battleship: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1."First Transmission"3:19
2."The Art of War"4:33
3."Full Attack"3:55
4."You're Going to the Navy"1:04
5."The Beacon Project"5:09
6."Objects Make Impact"4:40
7."First Contact, Part I"1:53
8."First Contact, Part II"2:10
9."It's Your Ship Now"4:05
11."Regents Are on the Mainland"2:44
12."Trying to Communicate"3:17
13."Water Displacement"2:20
14."Buoy Grid Battle"3:05
15."USS John Paul Jones"2:25
16."We Have a Battleship"2:51
17."Somebody's Gonna Kiss the Donkey"4:35
18."Super Battle" (composed by Tom Morello)1:34
19."Thug Fight" (featuring Tom Morello)3:31
20."Battle on Land and Sea"2:50
21."Silver Star"1:56
22."The Aliens"4:20
23."Planet G"4:01
Total length:77:28
Additional music credits


Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker at the Battleship Australian premiere in April 2012.

The film was originally planned to be released in 2011, but was rescheduled to May 18, 2012, in the United States.[25] The film's world premiere took place in Tokyo on April 3, 2012.[citation needed] The event was attended by director Peter Berg, actors Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgård and Rihanna. Later on they initiated a Press Tour visiting Madrid, London and Cartagena de Indias to promote the film.[citation needed]

Home media[edit]

Battleship was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 20, 2012, in the United Kingdom,[26] and on August 28 in the United States and Canada.[27] Its revenue was $32.4 million. Battleship was released on 4K Blu-Ray on January 17, 2017.[28] It received a novelization written by Peter David.[29]


Box office[edit]

Battleship grossed $65.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $237.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $303 million, against a production budget of $209 million.[2] In May 2012, The Hollywood Reporter estimated that Universal would lose $150 million on the film.[30]

The film opened in several territories on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, five weeks before its North America release, grossing $7.4 million.[31] Through April 13, the film had earned a three-day total of $25 million.[32] By the end of its opening weekend, it earned $55.2 million from 26 markets, ranking second behind the 3D re-release of Titanic.[33] In its second weekend, it topped the box office outside North America, with $60 million.[34] In South Korea, it achieved the highest-grossing opening day for a non-sequel and the third-highest overall ($2.8 million).[32] In comparison to other Hasbro films, Battleship's opening in the United Kingdom (£3.76 million) was behind the first Transformers (£8.72 million), but did better than G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (£1.71 million).[35]

In the United States, Battleship grossed $8.8 million on its opening day, with $420,000 from midnight showings.[36] It went on to debut to $25.5 million, finishing in second place behind Marvel's The Avengers.[37][38][39]

Critical response[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes reports that 34% of 229 critics gave the film a positive review and an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "It may offer energetic escapism for less demanding filmgoers, but Battleship is too loud, poorly written, and formulaic to justify its expense – and a lot less fun than its source material."[40] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 41 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[41] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[42]

Megan Lehmann of The Hollywood Reporter thought that the "impressive visual effects and director Peter Berg's epic set pieces fight against an armada of cinematic clichés and some truly awful dialogue."[43] Empire magazine's Nick de Semlyen felt there was a lack of character development and memorable action shots, and sums up his review of the movie in one word: "Miss."[44]

Many reviews criticized the "based on a board game" concept driving the film, although some, such as Jason Di Rosso from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National, claimed the ridiculousness of the setup is "either sheer joy or pure hell – depending on how seriously you take it", while de Semlyen "had to admire [the film's creators] jumping through hoops to engineer a sequence that replicates the board game."[44][45][46] Several compared the film to Michael Bay's Transformers film series in terms of quality and cinematic style, with Giles Hardie of The Sydney Morning Herald claiming that the movie "finds the same balance between action-packed imagination and not taking the premise seriously that made Michael Bay's original Transformers such a joyride."[43][45] Andrew Harrison of Q magazine called the film "crushingly stupid".[47] Film critic Kenneth Turan, in a review written for the Los Angeles Times, also expressed disappointment, criticizing the film's "humanoid aliens", stating that they are "as ungainly as the movie itself, clunking around in awkward, protective suits." He called the content "all very earnest", but added "it's not a whole lot of fun".[48] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film one out of four stars, and he commented "Battleship is all noise and crashing metal, sinking to the shallows of Michael Bay's Armageddon and then digging to the brain-extinction level of the Transformers trilogy."[49]

Other critics were less harsh for Battleship: Writing for Time, Steven James Snyder was somewhat positive because he had low expectations of the film. He wrote, "The creative team behind this ocean-bound thriller decided to fill the narrative black hole with a few ingredients all but absent from today’s summer tent poles – namely mystery, nostalgia and a healthy dose of humility" and described it as "an unlikely mix of Independence Day, Pearl Harbor, Jurassic Park and The Hunt for Red October".[50] Giving it a B+ grade, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly said, "For every line of howler dialogue that should have been sunk, there's a nice little scene in which humans have to make a difficult decision. For every stretch of generic sci-fi-via-CGI moviemaking, there's a welcome bit of wit."[51] The Washington Post gave the film a three-star rating out of four commenting it is "an invigorating blast of cinematic adrenaline".[52] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, praising the climax as "an honest-to-God third act, instead of just settling for nonstop fireballs and explosions, as Bay likes to do. I don't want to spoil it for you. Let's say the Greatest Generation still has the right stuff and leave it at that."[53]


List of awards and nominations
Award Category Recipient(s) Result
Annie Awards[54] Best Animated Effects in a Live Action Production Willi Geiger, Rick Hankins, Florent Andorra, Florian Witzel, Aron Bonar Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards[55] Best Sound Editing
Best Summer Blockbuster 2012 TV Spot
Houston Film Critics Society[56] Worst Film
Golden Raspberry Awards[57][58] Worst Picture
Worst Director Peter Berg
Worst Supporting Actor Liam Neeson
Worst Supporting Actress Brooklyn Decker
Rihanna Won
Worst Screenplay Jon Hoeber and Eric Hoeber Nominated
Worst Screen Ensemble
Saturn Awards[59] Best Special Effects Grady Cofer, Pablo Helman, Jeanie King and Burt Dalton
Teen Choice Awards[60] Choice Movie Breakout Rihanna Won
Visual Effects Society[61] Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual-Effects Driven Film Grady Cofer, Pablo Helman, Kevin Elam, Glen McIntosh Nominated
Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture Florent Andorra, Willi Geiger, Rick Hankins, Florian Witzel

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the film, titled Battleship, was released on May 15, 2012, to coincide with the film's international release. The game was published by Activision and developed by Double Helix Games for PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360, and developed by Magic Pockets for Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS.

Board game[edit]

Hasbro released several new editions of the classic board game, including an update to the regular fleet versus fleet game and a "movie edition", featuring the alien vessels and a card-based play mode.[62]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]