'Battleship' Struck by 'Titanic' Overseas

With the explosion of the international box office, scheduling movie releases is trickier than ever before. Universal and Hasbro rolled out the summer tentpole Battleship in early April overseas, nearly five weeks in advance of its May 18 North American debut. The studios wanted distance from The Avengers, which begins its international rollout April 25, and Men in Black 3, which opens worldwide during Memorial Day weekend. But Battleship -- which has earned a solid $129.6 million internationally through April 22 -- didn't count on Titanic 3D turning into an international blockbuster, particularly in China, where Battleship was betting big. Titanic 3D has grossed $225.7 million internationally and north of $100 million in China alone. Battleship posted a five-day opening of $17 million in China after debuting April 18 -- nothing to be ashamed of, but not enough to unseat Titanic. Director Peter Berg's alien-invasion pic did score an especially strong start in Russia, where it grossed $10.7 million during the April 20 to 22 weekend to grab a 76 percent market share. Based on Battleship's performance so far, most box-office observers believe the Taylor Kitsch-Rihanna actioner will ultimately earn between $250 million and $300 million internationally, a good number but not high enough to alleviate pressure on the film's domestic performance, considering that Universal and Hasbro say the production price tag was $209 million, excluding marketing costs. (And sources say the actual cost was even higher.) At that level, Battleship needs to gross more than $600 million worldwide to be considered a solid hit.

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