Universal has set July 1, 2011, for the release of "Battleship," confirming Peter Berg as helmer of the live-action pic based on Hasbro's naval combat board game.
Deal is part of a two-picture pic pact Berg has made with U, where he'll follow "Battleship" with an Afghan war drama "Lone Survivor."
Universal's date declaration positions "Battleship" to become the second film release from the studio's multiyear deal with Hasbro to turn its classic games into features. The studio previously set an April 11, 2011, release date for "Stretch Armstrong," with Steve Oedekerk about to deliver a script.
You'd think Hollywood studios would realize they could make a movie about a fleet of ships, in whatever time and war they like, without paying Hasbro a dime. They could even throw in the "C-6, you sunk my battleship!" as an in-joke. It's not like GI Joe, which has actual established characters and continuity, making all those kids who watched the cartoons in the 1980's more likely to watch a GI Joe movie than Randomly Named Squad of Tech-Laden Heroes Fights Randomly Named Squad of Supervillains.
And in the meantime, dozens of Hasbro properties that could be developed into interesting movies will go undeveloped. I understand that more people have played Battleship than have played Dungeons and Dragons or Magic: the Gathering, but those latter properties have actual worlds, with histories, conflicts, personalities....
That's not to say I trust Hollywood to create a watchable movie off even the best property, as evidenced by the first movie to bear the Dungeons and Dragons name.