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After foreign haul, ‘Battleship’ faces choppy seas
Executives from Hasbro Inc. and Universal, a division of Comcast Corp., declined to comment ahead of the domestic release.
The movie represents the hopes of both companies for a big franchise, a series that sells billions of dollars in toys and tickets, the way “Transformers” did for Hasbro and Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures.
Given the results so far, a more realistic benchmark for “Battleship” is “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” The Hasbro toy-inspired movie from 2009 generated $300 million in ticket sales worldwide, about half of it overseas. That was good enough to spawn a sequel, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” which hits some overseas theaters June 21.
“Battleship” also doesn’t have to be as big as Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter” to become a bankable franchise. If it makes some money, it could add to Universal’s relatively successful series, such as the “Bourne” and “Fast Five” movies.
“If they have three really strong franchises and a bunch of other movies in their slate that are going to perform well, that’s absolutely fine,” says Paul Dergarabedian, the box office president of Hollywood.com.
But he added, “in order to warrant the investment of a franchise built around it, it’s going to have to do quite well here in North America.”
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