Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts publicly acknowledged Friday what has been largely ignored by the Hollywood media: “Battleship” is a big, bad, “John Carter”-sized flop. [Comcast owns a controlling interest in NBCUniversal, the parent company of Universal Studios, which distributed “Battleship.”]
Speaking at the Sanford Bernstein Strategic decisions conference in New York City, Roberts said that the poor performance of the alien invasion film, which he labelled “an unfortunate, large miss,” coupled with the failure of the comedy “The Five Year Engagement,” will drag down earnings at NBCUniversal.
In contrast, in the same quarter last year, Universal was basking in the success of “Bridesmaids” and “Fast Five.”
“This year you put that together, we’ll have a negative quarter at NBCUniversal, as we’ve sort of told folks,” Roberts informed the Wall Street crowd.
In a summer where anything that is not “The Avengers” seems to be stumbling at the box office, “Battleship” has been the biggest turkey. Filmed for more than $200 million with untold millions more spent to market the picture around the world, the board game adaptation has eked out roughly $50 million domestically.
Yet, as Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times noted recently, its abysmal performance has not received the same frenzied coverage that “John Carter” did when it lost Disney some $200 million.