Hasbro has a summer blockbuster hopeful on its hands with the new film “Battleship” starring Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, Alexander Skarsgård and Brooklyn Decker.
Last night, the director of the film, Peter Berg, along with the marketing team at Subway restaurants gave an exclusive screening of the film to the members of the Wounded Warrior Project aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at Pier 86 in New York City. And we got in on the action.
Berg talked a bit about the film and his hopes for a “Battleship” future. Will you see the movie when it comes out this Friday?
Subway restaurants sponsored the event along with the brains behind 'Battleship.'
Tony Pace, the Sr. Vice President, Global Chief Marketing Officer of the SUBWAY®Brand was on hand to talk about the partnership.
Photographers and reporters are escorted to the top of the hanger to wait for Peter Berg, the director of the film.
Here's what the Intrepid Museum is all about: 'Intrepid is dedicated to the exhibition and interpretation of history, science and service as related to its home aboard the USS Intrepid, a National Historic Landmark.'
For all of the ships and aircrafts featured at the Intrepid Museum, the crafts used in 'Battleship' don't even compare.
But the look of the film is all accurate according to Berg.
It's pretty appropriate to screen 'Battleship' at the Intrepid considering the subject matter of the film.
The Blue Angels were the second oldest formal flying team ever. They were a U.S. training squadron and the six pilots do over 70 shows in 34 locations around the country.
Pace told us a little bit about how the partnership between Battleship and Subway came about.
'Well as you know, Subway makes submarine sandwiches. So if you know anything about the movie 'Battleship,' there's lots of boats, but they don't have submarines so it was like 'this is perfect,' Pace said. 'It sounds quirky but it was a really natural thing for us to be in this business. We basically said the only thing missing in the movie is a great sub and that's how we're featured.'
Here's what Berg had to say about working with Rihanna:
'I reached out to her, she wanted to do it... She said 'treat me like you'd treat any other actor. Don't candy coat it and tell if it's not good. Make me work for it.'
Berg went on to say that Rihanna was always the first into work in the morning and she was a 'consummate professional' and 'really creatively adventurous.' He even says he takes credit for putting Rihanna in the movie. When asked if he'd work with her again, Berg said 'In a second.'
Well Taylor Kitsch was always the first choice for Berg to play Lt. Alex Hopper. Berg says he likens Kitsch to a young Bruce Willis. 'He's a good looking kid and you know he's going to save the day. But he's probably going to screw up two or three times before he saves the day. That's a quality I like and it helps us find a little humour in the movie.'
He also said Liam Neeson is 'one of our greatest actors.'
And five women from Berg's office demanded that he cast Alexander Skarsgård for the part of Commander Stone Hopper. 'I've never seen a man who has that power over women,' Berg said with awe.
So how did the director of the film and TV versions of 'Friday Night Lights' come to direct a board-game-turned-movie about aliens attacking the navy?
'I was always a fan of the Navy. My dad was a Marine and a Navy historian and he used to lecture me on all the great navel battles,' Berg said. 'I wanted to make a Navy film. When they pitched me 'Battleship,' I thought maybe I could figure out a way of turning that board game into a real modern Navy movie.'
Sounds crazy right? Well here's how he went about doing that.
'The idea was OK. You've got a game, you've got five little plastic ships. But when I was a kid I used to try and pretend I knew who was inside those ships and when they got hit, what it was like on those ships. So I took all that imagination I had as a kid playing the game and popped it into the script.'
At the information area, Wounded Warrior Alumni and their families eat Subway sandwiches and watch the 'Battleship' trailer on loop.
Pace talked a little bit about the scale of this 'Battleship' marketing for Subway.
'We're a pretty big brand and we've done lots of national advertising, television of course. But we do an awful lot of digital work and we do print work,' Pace said.
'And frankly when I was out in Los Angeles on Thursday, Pete Berg, the director, said 'I have to travel 12 miles to come here and I walked by about 15 Subways and all of them had the 'Battleship' sign in the window.' So since we have so many locations, the signage is a really powerful piece of the marketing puzzle.'
The Wounded Warrior Project is a group that helps raise awareness and funds to help out injured army veterans. Berg and Subway 'famous fan' Justin Tuck, defensive end for the New York Giants, came out to support the film and the Wounded Warriors.
Berg knows it'll be difficult to go up against 'The Avengers,' which is currently killing it at the box office.
'We did very well overseas and it's coming out this week in the most brutal way, with the biggest hit film in the history of movies right now. So hopefully we'll be able to find our own real estate and have a good summer,' Berg said.
The director said there's always the potential and hope for sequels but he knows it all has to do with how the movie does these next few weeks.
'Battleship' stars Liam Neeson, Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker and Rihanna. It opens this Friday, May 18th.
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