Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stupid Internet Stole Our Joke.

As of this writing, the film Battleship, having opened on May 18 to lackluster reviews, has made nearly $300,000,000 worldwide. With average prices just shy of $8.00 per ticket, this means that some 37 million people actually paid to see this movie—some of them, like perhaps the director’s mother,1 probably more than once.

While that number of presumably un-coerced moviegoers is disappointingly high, it should be noted that Battleship did make significantly less than expected among U.S. audiences. It would be hilarious to pretend this means that people have suddenly developed taste (see Figure 1.1), but it is encouraging to see that for now, at least, some brave and discerning portion of the American public remains picky and snobby enough to save its hard-earned money2 to waste on some other crappy movie.

Figure 1.1. We watch stupid shit—possibly because of, rather than in spite of, its stupidity.
See the full graphic at

Battleship, then, has made only around $60 million in the United States against a $200 million budget, leaving film-industry experts who live in houses you aren’t rich enough to even dream about scratching their heads, flabbergasted as to why a child’s game with no sound, movement, plot, backstory, characters, or dialogue didn’t lend itself to a compelling movie.3

Exactly which part of this says “action movie” to you?

The intrepid Bowling in the Dark writing staff anticipated this movie’s inevitable failure several months ago, and had a high-quality, hand-crafted joke lined up about how Battleship’s bombing will make it really tough for us to sell our screenplay based on the most cinematic and tension-fraught of our childhood pastimes—Hungry Hungry Hippos. Things were coming together nicely until we got online to make our usual search for uncredited illustration from folks who haven’t given us permission, and came across this:

Image courtesy of we don’t really know whom.

As best as we can figure it, somebody plagiarized our great idea before we even thought of it, and had the nerve to do a way better job of it than we could.  If you are or know a lawyer who’s familiar with both plagiarism law and the intricacies of time travel, please contact the Bowling in the Dark Legal Attack Fund. We look forward to hearing from you.

1. Assuming she’s alive, of course, and that she survived watching the movie the first time—both of which would make us feel better about mentioning her.
2. For those of our readers who are members of the Occupy movement, we deeply regret the offensive implication that the 1% actually earns their money in any way other than taking it from you. For those of our readers who are among the 1% richest in America, we deeply regret implying that the 99% earns their money in any way other than taking it from you. Everybody but you really is a crook.
3. Apparently, if you’re not paying very close attention, every board game is basically the same as Clue, which ended up being a pretty fun movie, even if it was a bit of a poor man’s Murder by Death.


  1. Okay, first of all, Eff those guys for taking your awesome idea.

    Secondly, I could not agree more that Battleship, while a pretty kick-ass game for being as simple as it is, doesn't lead me to think "Blockbuster Movie!" Although I have great affection for Clue, and hold it as an exception, I think making movies based on board games is an exceedingly poor idea.

  2. On a related topic, we found it hard to believe that one could make a good movie based on a pirate-based Disneyland ride. Turns out it's possible to make one pretty good one and three that stink.