Finally, Universal Pictures has released a teaser trailer for Battleship, the Peter Berg-directed film that takes the popular board game and mashes it up with a science fiction alien premise. The movie has been the subject of heightened cynicism for the longest time, partly because of its tie-in to the Hasbro board game, its high price tag and the rumor that Universal put so many chips on the table it has been reticent to take chances on films like At the Mountains of Madness and Dark Tower (though studio insiders say Battleship had nothing to do with those decisions). There was even one straight-faced report that longtime studio chief Ron Meyer would be supplanted by Dick Cook because of the Hasbro deal and Battleship (this proved unfounded). All this negative ink came before anybody saw a frame of a movie that stars Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker and Rihanna. Berg told me recently that he hoped buzz would turn around once people started getting a look at the work they did, and this teaser provides the first opportunity. My feeling? Berg and Kitsch certainly made a good team on the TV series version of Friday Night Lights, which is giving Kitsch shots to become a movie star in this film, the Oliver Stone-directed Savages and Disney’s John Carter, based on John Carter of Mars. Maybe they’ve got something here.
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