G.I. Joe and the Damning Delay

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.


7 Responses to “G.I. Joe and the Damning Delay”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    The only thing that baffles me is the proximity of the move to the release date. It’s not like Paramount just realized that all these other movies were going to be out at the same time. I can only theorize that there were either horrible test screenings or Channing Tatum has become big enough for them to want to add more of him in the film, given that he looks to be given the short straw in a trailer for a sequel film that featured him as the star in the first. The added box office dollars of 3D only help that decision along.

    in that regard: http://scottalanmendelson.blogspot.com/2012/05/money-for-nothing-commercial-not.html

  2. Sean Ferguson

    Based on the trailer it looks like Tatum’s character is killed at the start of the movie. It’s possible that they want to rethink that decision based on his current success. I think it’s probably a lot of things that added up to the decision to change the date. The 3D money is nothing to sneeze at either and the lack of competition will only help it make even more money.

  3. Brian White

    I truly don;t think the 3D thing is a big factor in this. I think it has either got some bad test results from early screenings or maybe the Channing theory is right. I don;t know, but there has to be something more than just the 3D. This is a summer popcorn film, not a March Madness film. I’ll be honest, as much as I LOVED the first film, this has not been a priority for me due to the lack of Baroness, Destro and all the other Joes get killed? Ok…Why not Snake Eyes. How does he eat or pee? The new Cobra Commander mask now…well that is a thing of beauty. Anyway…I just have a gut feeling this is not solely about the 3D.

    As far as the toy line, I found this for you on AICN:

    Like a lot of Joe fans, I was disappointed to hear that Paramount moved this summer’s G.I. Joe sequel back nine months for a March release. Immediately questions arose about the movie toy line. There have been rumors of recalls and cancellations. In order to set the record straight I contacted Hasbro’s public relations firm for an answer.

    “G.I. Joe is an ongoing consumer franchise and therefore there is merchandise available to consumers. There is a limited amount of G.I. Joe Retaliation product at retail now, but in light of the movie moving out to March 29, 2013, the majority of the movie line will be made available early next year in time for the film’s release.”
    Thanks to Justin Aclin of Hunter Public Relations for the quote. Sound like if you want that new Snake Eyes action figure, you better get it now, because it won’t be getting restocked at your local retail outlet until the Spring.

  4. Brian White

    Check this out Gregg:


  5. Gregg

    Brian, to ask why doesn’t Snake Eyes get killed is a rhetorical question. He is the most popular and baddest dude of the Joes. That would be a horrible decision to remove him from the equation. If you want this franchise to tank, that is the quickest way to do it. The lack of Destro and Baroness is a non-issue for me because those roles were mis-cast. Wrong body type for Destro, bad actress in Sienna Miller. I can say the first G.I. Joe was a bad movie I am entertained by.

    As for 3D, I think there’s a big misconception in Hollywood as to how many consumers actually enjoy this technology. It has to be done right, which is something 95% of the 3D films do not accomplish.

    Sean, I don’t think Duke gets killed. You can’t really tell from the trailer that he gets bumped off (though it is possible). Doesn’t he have top billing in the film?

  6. Aaron Neuwirth

    Being done right is somewhat of an afterthought at this point. While the filmmakers certainly want to have the best film possible, studios are very aware that regardless of the opinions of the domestic crowd, it still sells like crazy overseas and will generate more revenue.

    I don’t know about Duke getting killed, but he certainly has much more limited screentime than The Rock and the rest of them (I just figured he gets captured or something). Billing is kind of unclear, but it was done alphabetical for the first film. I think it comes down to his association with the first film, which is generally regarded as bad, but now that Tatum is bigger, they may want to be rethinking that decision. That’s still all speculation, but something logical enough to go on.

  7. Brian White

    I think Snake Eyes look better in this one. His outfit in the first film was ridiculous. Those lips. Lol
    I thought Baroness and Destro were done well in the last one. It was Tatum that was the weakest link the first time around for me.
    I will agree with your one statement. GI Joe was a bad movie that never ceases to entertain me. One of those guilty pleasures.
    I know I will get a lot of hate for this comment, but the character that has me concerned is the Rock. He’s never impressed me other than his role in the 5th Fast and Furious film which he was solid in throughout.
    That’s all. Yo Joe! Oops. Maybe I should save that shout for next March (pouring salt in the wounds).
    But I agree…what a huge waste of marketing materials on this film. Wow! It will be interesting to see when they cut a new trailer to re-excite people for it.