Battleship (film)

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 and stars Alexander Skarsgård, Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Tadanobu Asano, 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 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Berg
Written by
  • Jon Hoeber
  • Erich Hoeber
Based onBattleship
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$200 million[2][3]
Box office$303 million[2]

Battleship premiered in Tokyo on April 3, 2012, and was released by Universal Pictures in the United States on May 18, 2012. It received mixed reviews from critics and was a box office bomb, grossing just $303 million worldwide against a production budget of $200 million.


In 2005, a planet designated "Planet G" is discovered to be a potentially habitable planet with conditions similar to Earth and a communications array is built by NASA in Oahu, a year later, designed to send transmissions to the planet to establish contact with any intelligent life. Meanwhile, Alex Hopper is arrested while attempting to impress Sam Shane, the daughter of Admiral Terrance Shane. His brother, Commander Stone Hopper, forces Alex to join the U.S. Navy in order to improve his life.

In 2012, Alex and Sam are in a relationship; Alex serves as a Tactical Actions Officer as a lieutenant aboard USS John Paul Jones while Stone is the commanding officer of USS Sampson, but Alex is in danger of receiving a disciplinary discharge. During the 2012 RIMPAC exercise, five alien spacecraft arrive. Their communications ship is damaged upon colliding with a satellite while entering the atmosphere and crashes in Hong Kong causing many deaths while the other four plunge into the waters off Hawaii. Sampson, John Paul Jones, and Japanese destroyer JDS Myōkō are ordered by Admiral Shane to investigate, and they discover a floating structure. When Alex touches it, it blasts him away and generates a force field that encloses the Hawaiian Islands, isolating them and the three destroyers from the rest of the world, while jamming all radar and communications in it. Three alien warships then surface. Stone issues a warning via a sounding of the horn, and the first alien ship responds in the form of a sonic burst that shatters most of the glass on the bridge and gives minor injuries to the crew while also scrambling the Sampson’s equipment. Stone then orders the John Paul Jones to fire a warning shot above the first alien ship, prompting the alien ships to open fire: In the resultant engagement, the Myōkō is destroyed, the Sampson is lost with all hands including Stone, and the command crew of John Paul Jones are killed, with Alex, the next senior officer, reluctantly assuming command. The fight is ended when John Paul Jones disengages to recover the survivors from Myōkō, including her commanding officer Captain Yugi Nagata, with whom Alex began a rivalry after he accidentally kicked Hopper in the face during a soccer match earlier. The aliens meanwhile launch drones to destroy military installations and roads leading into Oahu’s mountains, taking great care to avoid civilian casualties.

On Oahu, Sam is accompanying retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and double amputee Mick Canales on a mountain hike. After becoming aware of the aliens' presence, they encounter scientist Cal Zapata who works at the communications array and informs them the aliens took it over. Mick determines they will use it to re-establish military communications with their home planet. Aboard John Paul Jones, naval personnel capture a semi-conscious alien, which forms a telepathic link with Alex, showing him their history of destroying worlds. Other aliens arrive and retrieve their comrade, but one stays behind to sabotage the ship. When the alien's armored suit proves impervious to small-arms fire, Alex lures it into the line of fire of the destroyer’s 5-inch gun, which Raikes uses to obliterate it. Examination of the captured alien's helmet reveals the aliens' eyes are sensitive to sunlight. Ashore, Sam, Nick and Zapata recover his spectrum analyzer from the aliens and use it to radio John Paul Jones to inform them the aliens intend military telecommunication with their home planet, when the facility’s satellite is in its proper position in orbit to transmit their signal, in four hours.

As night falls Captain Nagata suggests using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tsunami warning buoys around Hawaii to track the alien warships without radar. This allows John Paul Jones to destroy two of them. The third ship proves too elusive for the ship’s missiles to hit, so they lure it into a position in which it is in view of the John Paul Jones and facing east, just as the sun rises. This allows Alex and Nagata to shoot out its bridge windows with sniper rifles, blinding its crew with sunlight so John Paul Jones can destroy it. As the sun rises, the destroyer attempts to target the communications array, but a pair of drones sink the John Paul Jones. Alex, Nagata, and several other sailors barely escape the sinking ship in rigid inflatable boats.

The survivors return to Pearl Harbor and commandeer the previously decommissioned World War II battleship USS Missouri with the aid of the retired veterans preserving her, restoring her to battle readiness. Going to the communications array, they are confronted by the floating structure, revealed to be a giant mothership. Missouri is able to severely damage the mothership and disable the force field, while Admiral Shane immediately summons fighter jets from aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. One of the battleship’s turrets, which was carrying the ship’s last shell, is disabled in the battle, so Alex and several other sailors carry the massive round to the closest operational weapon system. Meanwhile, Sam, Mick and Cal attempt to stall the aliens at the communications array, where Mick kills an alien soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Alex chooses to use the Missouri's last shell to destroy the communications array, rendering the Missouri defenseless from drones launched by the foundering mothership. Just before impact, the drones are destroyed by Royal Australian Air Force Boeing F/A-18 fighter jets which then carpet bomb the mothership, saving Missouri and eliminating the alien threat. The damaged Missouri then makes her way back to Pearl Harbor.

In the aftermath of the conflict, a ceremony is held to honor the military personnel, where 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 offered a chance to become a Navy SEAL. After the ceremony, Alex asks Sam's father Admiral Shane for her hand in marriage. The admiral initially refuses, but then invites Alex to lunch to discuss the matter.

In a post-credits scene, three teenagers and a handyman in Scotland discover a crashed alien pod. When they open it, an alien hand reaches out, and they run off in terror.



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

Battleship was green-lit 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 John Paul Jones (DDG-53) and USS Sampson (DDG-102) both 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 the National Geographic Magazine.[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: 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]

Track listingEdit

All songs written and composed 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. 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.


Box officeEdit

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 the film would lose $150 million.[26]

The film opened in several territories on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, five weeks before its North America release, grossing $7.4 million.[27] Through April 13, the film had earned a three-day total of $25 million.[28] By the end of its opening weekend, it earned $55.2 million from 26 markets, ranking second behind the 3D re-release of Titanic.[29] In its second weekend, it topped the box office outside North America, with $60 million.[30] In South Korea, it achieved the highest-grossing opening day for a non-sequel and the third-highest overall ($2.8 million).[28] 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).[31]

In the United States, Battleship grossed $8.8 million on its opening day, with $420,000 from midnight showings.[32] It went on to debut to $25.5 million, finishing in second place behind Marvel's The Avengers.[33][34][35]

Critical responseEdit

Rotten Tomatoes reports that 34% of 225 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 4.59/10. 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."[36] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 41 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[37] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[38]

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."[39] 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."[40]

Many reviews criticised 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."[40][41][42] 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."[39][41] Andrew Harrison of Q magazine called the film "crushingly stupid".[43] 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".[44] 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."

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".[45] Giving it a C+ 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."[46] The Washington Post gave the film a three-star rating out of four commenting it is "an invigorating blast of cinematic adrenaline".[47] 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."[48]


List of awards and nominations
Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result
Annie Awards[49] Best Animated Effects in a Live Action Production Willi Geiger, Rick Hankins, Florent Andorra, Florian Witzel, Aron Bonar Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards[50] Best Sound Editing
Best Summer Blockbuster 2012 TV Spot
Houston Film Critics Society[51] Worst Film
Golden Raspberry Awards[52][53] 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[54] Best Special Effects Grady Cofer, Pablo Helman, Jeanie King and Burt Dalton Nominated
Teen Choice Awards[55] Choice Movie Breakout Rihanna Won
Visual Effects Society[56] 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

Home mediaEdit

Battleship was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 20, 2012 in the United Kingdom,[57] and on August 28 in the United States and Canada.[58] Its revenue was $32.4 million. Battleship was released on 4K Blu-Ray on January 17, 2017.[59] It received a novelization written by Peter David.[60]

Video gameEdit

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 gameEdit

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

See alsoEdit


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  3. ^ John Gaudiosi (May 30, 2012). "$220 Million Battleship Flop Sinks Not Only Universal Pictures, But Activision Game". Forbes. Retrieved December 27, 2014. Universal Pictures reported a $200 million production cost (unadjusted) excluding advertising budget.
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External linksEdit