The movie is based on the Milton Bradley game "Battleship", which has been manufactured since 1931. Some of the artillery in the film is shaped like the pegs used in the game. The original paper and pencil version of the game predates World War I.
In March 2012, Army Colonel Gregory D. Gadson, who plays Retired Army Lt. Col Mick Canales, became Garrison Commander of Fort Belvoir, just south of Washington D.C.. Col. Gadson is the first bilateral amputee to serve as a Garrison Commander to any post in the United States Army.
While filming the soccer game, an American and a Japanese warship each pulled into a dock near the field. The crews were promptly drafted as extras. They are standing on the prows of their respective ships, cheering and clapping.
The destroyers in the movie are Arleigh Burke class destroyers. The USS Hopper (DDG-70) is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and named after Rear Admiral "Amazing" Grace Hopper, who also gives her surname to some of the main characters.
According to journalist Pat Jordan, when Peter Berg was researching "Battleship," he spent a few days on a Navy destroyer, and before he left, he made a short film for the captain and crew. The captain had earlier joked that Berg was a 'Hollywood lame ass" to ever think he could understand how the destroyer worked in only three days. Berg, in turn, joked that he could because he'd seen a lot of films, like Pearl Harbor (2001). To settle their 'argument', the two played the "Battleship" board game in front of the ship's crew while Berg sent a helicopter to film the action from above.
Although the movie never comes out and says it, Alex Hopper was enlisted in the Navy before he became an officer. The movie gives clues to it, as one of Hopper's warfare device on his uniform is silver, and in several scenes, a tattoo of a "mustang" can be seen on his right forearm. A Mustang is a term used for officers that are prior enlisted.
The footage of Barack Obama saying "we are bringing all available resources to bear" was taken from a press conference on March 17, 2011 about operations in the aftermath of the Tohoku, Japan earthquake and tsunami.
Peter Berg wanted to cast Rihanna after seeing her Diane Sawyer interview following her battering by then-boyfriend Chris Brown. Berg was convinced that if the singer could negotiate a tricky interview like that, she would make a good actress.
The first of three big budget, high profile 2012 blockbusters all starring Taylor Kitsch in the lead. The other two were John Carter (2012) and Oliver Stone's _Savages_ and all three were box office disappointments (and, in the case of John Carter (2012), an unmitigated disaster). The failure of all three effectively stalled Kitsch's hopes of being the next big star.
After the film's announcement (and even more so after its release) Hasbro toy sales declined, even reaching dangerously low numbers by the 2012 holiday season, a common urban legend is the film made the company so universally hated that people gave up buying Hasbro brand products as a punishment for allowing the film to be made with the hope of bankrupting them to prevent anymore movies based on their toys, in truth while some decline in Hasbro toy sales was attributed to the film's negative reception, the real cause of the low sales was the ongoing economic slump and the US economy suffering a relapse in 2012.
At the beginning of the RIMPAC exercise, Admiral Shane orders the Commanding Officer of USS Ronald Reagan to begin air operations. The Carrier CO who then gives the order to "commence air ops" is played by Secretary of the Navy Mabus.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
At the end, Taylor Kitsch's character is challenged by a Navy SEAL to come down to Coronado and enter training to become a SEAL himself. Kitsch played Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy in Peter Berg's next film Lone Survivor (2013).