I could have easily titled this article “G.I. Joe & the Paramount Predicament” as it’s no secret by now that next month’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation is no longer slated for a June 29th release. Actually, it’s not even on the radar for this year, but instead has been pushed back to March of 2013. This move has many scratching their heads and has already caused many a fan to react unfavorably toward the news that came out of left field earlier this week. So what is Paramount’s real reason for this unprecedented change in release dates?
Paramount has stated that their logic behind the move is to enhance the film’s visuals through the use of 3D. One of the main actors in the G.I. Joe sequel is none other than Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who tried making the disappointing development a positive by tweeting on May 23rd, ”Commitment to make GI JOE a massive world event just got bigger. New release 3/29/13. Rock + Ass + kickins + 3D = #AwwwwShit.” He then followed that up with, “Designing new scenes to enhance 3D” in response to a fan’s dismay regarding the delay. Now of course The Rock or any other actor will likely back any studio decision on a film they were part of. I get that. It just wouldn’t look good if he or any other actor that was part of the project went against the grain and argued Paramount’s decision. However, I can.
If…and this is a big if…if the real reason to make the rash decision to delay G.I. Joe: Retaliation 8 months is to work on 3D, then there are several people over at Paramount that need to be relieved of their jobs. Idiotic. That’s how to best describe putting off a film’s premier weekend almost a year later after already establishing a prior release date and making a hard marketing push for it. First off, 3D has proven to be a waste. It’s a gimmick pure and simple and detracts from relevant details like, oh, I don’t know, the film’s plot? Secondly, there has been proficient use of the technology, but overall, Hollywood doesn’t get it so let’s drop it and move on with making quality films. When you bill the Clash of the Titans remake as 3D and the actual extent of that technology is a flipped coin flying toward the audience, well I say you’ve missed the point Hollywood. Other hazards in the genre include Disney’s John Carter which, aside from the fact the film was boring, it used 3D merely to add depth. Don’t waste our time adding depth or claiming it’s 3D. Retitle it to ‘John Carter (with depth)’. Then you have complete and utter failures like The Phantom Menace in 3D which didn’t add depth or much of anything. That doesn’t justify an increase in ticket prices. Audiences want stuff jumping off the screen. We want that pop! Unfortunately Hollywood is behaving like the CEO of Netflix. It’s not listening to its customers.
Now let’s look into what I think is a more likely reason as to why Paramount decided to change Retaliation‘s launch date. Competition. Should the June 29th date remain, the G.I. Joe sequel would be going up against some very heavy hitters including the remnants of The Avengers as well as other comic book-born powerhouses including The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. The swim upstream doesn’t stop there though. You’ve also got potential box office winners in the June 8th release of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and the June 22nd release of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. While G.I. Joe has been around for decades on toy shelves, it hasn’t made much of a positive splash at the movies. With that being said, fear of the aforementioned competition would be smart reason enough to change the release date for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and if you’re Paramount, you would never admit this as it would certainly repell audiences before you could say Serpentor. However, the question marks arise when the studio decides to do this only a month before its original intended release date. That is terrible foresight and planning and behalf of Paramount. Those other movies didn’t play musical chairs with their dates. Now Paramount is getting cold feet with G.I. Joe? Maybe it’s a lack of confidence in their product, but again, why wait until the last minute?
What makes the decision even more confusing is the fact that Paramount has spent gobs of cash of marketing this film. Massive cardboard stand-ups and oversized character posters have graced the halls of cinemas for weeks now. I would guess that the budget for this was around $35,000,000 and that’s going on the low end of the cost spectrum. Those aren’t reusable materials either, folks. They all say 6.29.12, so basically that’s money wasted right there. If I can refer back to the 3D excuse for a moment, does Paramount really think they’ll recoupe that money from 3D screens? Possibly, but I think not. Let’s not forget how G.I. Joe got here in the first place. Toys. The movie toy line has already begun arriving at retailers across the country. Seeing a carded Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock in 8 months (or any other actor’s likeness & character) will be a stale item at best when the movie decides to finally reveal itself to the public next year.
In closing, a more logical approach would be to just drop the whole 3D concept which is nothing short of nonsense. With that thought of ridiculousness out of the way, move the release to a late summer or even early fall date. The decision-making that surrounds what has taken place is so mind-boggling that I, along with many other fans, are just standing here wondering what the hell happened. I think the film’s potential success has been infringed upon with the damning decision to switch to next March. Sure, films get released years after they’re finished all the time. Look at this year’s The Cabin in the Woods. That was actually finished well before Chris Hemsworth knew he was going to be Thor. The difference between that and G.I. Joe Retaliation is no one promoted, built up, then changed the date of Cabin.