The Missouri Prepares for Battle

By Michael A. Carr, President and Chief Operating Officer, Battleship Missouri Memorial

On May 18, the Battleship Missouri (BB-63) will once again answer the call of duty in Universal Pictures’ Battleship, an epic-scaled action-adventure movie that unfolds across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force. Inspired by Hasbro’s classic naval combat game, Battleship stars Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna and international superstar Liam Neeson.

The Missouri stars in the upcoming blockbuster film Battleship.

The Missouri’s relationship with Universal began in 2009 when the ship was taken into drydock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for three months of extensive maintenance and preservation work. Director Peter Berg was in Hawaii during drydocking and it was arranged for him to visit the shipyard and see the USS Missouri, which was soon to become his next big “Battlestar.”

The filming of Battleship created moments the Missouri’s staff will never forget. The most memorable occurred in January 2010, when the Missouri took to open seas for the first time in over a decade, as she was towed outside of Pearl Harbor far enough to allow filming without having land in the shot. If you’ve seen the trailers, this footage was sprinkled with a bit of movie magic, bringing the famous ship back to battle. In total, Universal filmed at the ship for roughly 15 days in 2010 and 2011.

Both Universal and Hasbro have been great partners through this experience and have worked with the Missouri every step of the way, from the initial filming request through current promotion and merchandising efforts. The Missouri is well branded, not only throughout the movie, but the iconic “63” adorning the ship is also incorporated into the video game, toys, and other Battleship merchandise. Hasbro has taken it a step further and is considering adopting a space on the ship, preserving it for generations to come.

Building up to the national release, the Missouri is creating an official behind-the-scenes tour that will give guests a unique perspective of what it was like when the nearly 900-foot battleship turned into a fully functioning film set. The tour will be enhanced with behind-the-scenes footage, giving visitors the feel of being behind the camera. The Missouri’s retail store is also selling various Battleship merchandise. In April, the Missouri hosted national and international media at the ship for Universal’s press junket. Locally, the Missouri partnered with the Oahu Visitors Bureau, Honolulu and Hawaii Film Offices, Hilton Hawaiian Village and Hawaiian Airlines on promotions that utilized Battleship to highlight Oahu and promote the island as a premier visitor destination.

Battleship provides a platform for the Missouri to reach a younger demographic. Through the movie, the Missouri can continue to attract future generations, educating them on the people and historic events that reflect our nation’s legacy of duty, honor, strength, resolve and sacrifice.

The Missouri made her on-screen debut in international news reels as General Douglas MacArthur signed the Japanese instrument of surrender that ended World War II. In her current starring role, the Missouri once again brings peace to the world.

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