Skyline / Battle: Los Angeles, A Wishful Conspiracy Theory

Okay, first off I’m not one for conspiracy theories. But on a recent Techpedition Podcast we briefly discussed the whole Skyline / Battle: Los Angeles debacle and what could possibly be one of the greatest marketing schemes known to man. Well, that is if you’re into crazy conspiracy theories. Let’s get some background information.


Released on November 12, 2010, Skyline is a low-budget alien invasion science-fiction film that was directed and produced by the Brothers Strause. The movie met not so great reviews, garnering only a 14% Rotten Tomatoes rating.  As of December 11th, the movie has made over $51 million worldwide, only costing $20 million to make.

The Techpedition cast has gone back and forth on how horrible this film was. On the one hand, we thought it had no clear ending and was to be avoided at all costs, while some thought it was bad, but not that bad. But clearly we thought it was one for the **DWD list.

The Brothers Strause and their Visual Effects Team, Hydraulx

The Brothers Strause, Greg and Colin Strause, are a directing duo and special effects team. Their visual effects company Hydraulx, which was founded in 2002, has done special effects for movie blockbusters such as 300, X-Men: The Last Stand, Fantastic Four, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and The Day After Tomorrow.

Battle: Los Angeles

A premise inspired by the 1942 film Battle of Los Angeles, Battle: Los Angeles is a 2011 science fiction film set in modern day Los Angeles and follows a United States Marines platoon during an alien invasion.

The film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman and is a big budget ($100 Million) release from Sony Pictures.

Hydraulx was hired to visual effect work on this film.

Possible Legal Action

The considered lawsuit stems from Sony’s suspicion that the Brothers Strause, who first worked on special effects for the Battle: Los Angeles film, may have used resources gained from working on the film done by their company Hydraulx, in their own film Skyline. Hydraulx was also clued in early on in 2009 on all major details, script, and the Brothers Strause were even considered as directors. Mind you, all this occurred before any mention of ‘Skyline’.  At minimum, Sony Pictures legal are saying that intentions to make a film so similar should have been disclosed prior to becoming involved with the Sony project, as this presents a definite conflict of interest.

When details of the indie film Skyline arose at 2010 Comic-Con, Sony Picture executives began to actively look into the issue. And with possible plagiarism and resource infringement aside, Sony Pictures main concern stemmed from the release date overshadowing and audience burnout from similar films.

A Brothers Strause spokesperson in turn made a statement that this was a blatant attempt to get their release date changed, since the films are so closely related.

It‘s worth noting that Skyline takes a small-scale, ‘Cloverfield’ like approach, while Battle: Los Angeles takes a large-scale military action approach to portraying the alien invasion.

A Missed Opportunity, Wishful Conspiracy Theory

Okay, the minds of the Techpedition staff came up with something that we would like to think that’s pretty cool. What if all this lawsuit stuff was a huge charade? What if Sony knew about Skyline all along? What if in fact, Skyline is an unofficial prequel to Battle: Los Angeles? Granted, this is all up in the air, but think of the possibilities.

Brothers Strause Read The Script, Pitches Prequel/Side Story?

We know The Brothers Strause had access to the Battle: Los Angeles script prior to any word of Skyline being announced. What if after reading the script, they pitched to Sony a prequel of sorts? Or even a movie of the same events, with more of a laymen’s feel, from the perspective of an everyday citizen, with an open ending to boot? We have talked much about Skyline’s lack of a good ending. What if Battle: Los Angeles is the end? What if Skyline is nothing more than a 90-minute advertisement for Battle: Los Angeles?

Greatest Marketing Scheme Ever

Think about it, Skyline came out an entire four months before Battle: Los Angeles is slated to be released. Could this be the greatest marketing scheme ever? Although Skyline didn’t do well at the box office, it created an enormous buzz. Also the fact that even more buzz was garnered due to the possible lawsuits, which if this conspiracy theory were true, could have been all staged to generated even more buzz. And the notion of an official unannounced prequel is something to my knowledge has never been done. Let’s say, 2-weeks before the official release of Battle: Los Angeles, Sony announces, that in fact Skyline is a prequel/side story to Battle: Los Angeles. The Skyline DVD is then conveniently released around this time. In turn, buzz grows even greater around the Battle: Los Angeles film. A possible ending to the lack-luster finish to Skyline in the opening minutes of Battle: Los Angeles? Ah, a great marketing scheme indeed!


Again, the above conspiracy theory is nothing more the elaboration of what we would like the whole debacle to be. Personally, I don’t think these guys are smart enough to pull something off this epic without a leak of some type occurring at some point in the chain. To that end, the possibility of something this cool happening is more than enough to make our minds wonder.

Source: IGN, Deadline, ScreenRant

**DWD (download-watch-delete) – In no way does the Techpedition website or any members of its staff condone the illegal acquisition of feature films.