rihanna & taylor kitsch

Taylor Kitsch & Rihanna star in 'Battleship'

*(Via The Hollywood Reporter) – Universal and Hasbro Entertainment’s big-budget Battleship barely left port in its North American launch, grossing a dismal $25.3 million.

That’s well below the anticipated $35 million to $40 million that Universal and director Peter Berg were hoping for. Battleship, designed to put the studio squarely in the tentpole game, cost at least $209 million to produce, excluding a pricey marketing spend.

Battleship’s international gross of $226.8 million provides some cushion, but it needed a strong domestic performance to end up in the black. A $25.3 million opening means the movie might not clear $70 million or $80 over the long haul domestically, resulting in a notable loss for Universal and sparking plenty of Monday-morning quarterbacking within the studio about what went wrong.

There’s already speculation that Battleship, starring Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker and Liam Neeson, will follow the same course as Disney’s John Carter, which debuted to $30.2 million in March and topped out at $71.8 million domestically. Overseas, John Carter, also starring Kitsch, earned $200.6 million. The pic resulted in a $200 million loss for Disney.

Read/learn more at The Hollywood Reporter.

Domestic box office, May 18-20

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume

1. The Avengers, 3/4,249, Disney/Marvel Studios, $55.1 million, $457.1

2. Battleship, 1/3,690, Universal/Hasbro, $25.3 million.

3. The Dictator, 1/3,008, Paramount, $17.4 million, $24.5 million.

4. Dark Shadows, 2/3,755, Warner Bros., $12.8 million, $50.9 million.

5. What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 1/3,021, $10.5 million.

6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 3/354, Fox Searchlight, $3.3 million, $8.2 million.

7. The Hunger Games, 9/2,064, Lionsgate, $3 million, $391.6 million.

8. Think Like a Man, 5/1,722, Sony, $2.7 million, $85.9 million.

9. The Lucky One, 5/2,839, Warner Bros., $1.8 million, $56.9 million.

10. The Pirates! Band of Misfits, 4/1,840, Sony/Aardman, $1.5 million, $25.4 million.