Laughing All The Way To The Bank

They don’t need you to
like it as long as you
go see it

Hasbro reminds me of Burt Reynolds from 30 years ago*, they remind me of Rodney Dangerfield’s stand-up act, they get no respect. Since 2007 Hasbro has produced four movies based on their toys (three Transformers movies and GI Joe), with two more movies coming out this summer (Battleship and GI Joe 2). All of the movies they have released (with the exception of the first Transformers) have been killed by reviewers and become a punchline on podcasts and movie blogs. The other constant has been that all of their movies have been spectacularly profitable and my guess is that streak of profitability doesn’t end this weekend when Battleship opens nationwide, in fact I am sure of it. How am I so sure? I am sure because Battleship has already broken even before it has been released in America (or very close to it).

You see, Hasbro smartly released Battleship internationally a month ago, wanting to be ahead of the freight train that is The Avengers, and by the ned of last weekend Battleship had already grossed over $200 million (the budget was reported somewhere in the $220 to $250 range). So before you read the first of many reviews that will undoubtedly kill Battleship and lambast Peter Berg for “selling out” and making this movie know that Hasbro has already won. They won because as much as we want to kill them for making movies that are big, loud and stupid they know that big, loud and stupid is exactly what boys want out of their movies (which makes sense since they have been watching boys do big, loud and stupid things with the toys they produce for 50 years). Maybe we should stop hating so hard on Hasbro’s movies and start to look at them like most people my age looked at NSync or Britney Spears or Mariah Carrey or basically every pop music act that has come out since 1990 and remember, they were never made for you.

*20 or so years ago I saw an interview with Burt Reynolds where the interviewer asked him if he was ever jealous of Al Pacino or Robert DeNiro. Burt looked at the guy, more than a little offended, and said “the truth is I was something they never were, I was the biggest movie star in the world.” And Burt Reynolds wasn’t lying. For all of the press and praise heaped on movies like Taxi Driver or Dog Day Afternoon or Raging Bull the fact is Smokey and the Bandit out drew all three combined. Movie buffs will argue that box office doesn’t matter and certainly doesn’t equal quality, and I would agree with them to a point, but box office does speak to popularity, to the number of people who liked the movies, and that isn’t nothing.