As I'm sure you've all heard by now, Paramount has moved the release date for G.I. Joe: Retaliation from its initial June 29, 2012 date, to March 29, 2013 instead!
Why, you ask? The immediate reason reported was that the studio wanted to convert the film to 3D.
"We’re going to do a conscientious 3D job because we’ve seen how it can better box office internationally… Jim Cameron did all of Titanic‘s 3D in post – and look how well that movie turned out," said a Paramount exec.
Given how soon the film was already scheduled to be released (just over a month from now), the questions that I think were on many minds was: just how terrible is the movie? And why wait THIS long, THIS close to the film's already scheduled release date, to move it?
As expected, a longer explanation from Paramount was forthcoming.
So what's up?
Revealed this morning, courtesy of Deadline, here's Paramount's explanation of what happened; the 3D thing was only a part of it (SPOILERS AHEAD):
“This was a case of letting a schedule to fill a summer slot dictate the film not being in 3D even though we knew that would be the most commercial version of the film. Then in the spring there were 2 big events. First John Carter lost $200M despite the best efforts of the Pixar brain trust. But the 3D film managed to gross over $200M overseas, nearly tripling its U.S. take.
“Also Channing Tatum had a breakout spring, starring in The Vow and 21 Jump Street. In our first screening of the film the reaction from audiences was good but with 2 big concerns: 1) They didn’t like the fact that Channing and The Rock really didn’t have any time to develop a friendship before Channing died, and 2) Why wasn’t it going to be in 3D? We went back and shot another week with Channing to develop more of his story with The Rock, which made the film play much better. But we didn’t have the time to be in 3D.
“Then a week ago Battleship basically had the same performance as John Carter – $60M-$70M U.S. and just over $200M international. That was just a wake-up call that said to us we need to offer the best version of the film irrespective of summer market share to ensure the best possible performance. And not being in 3D will cost us a ton of business internationally.”
So, in short, more Channing Tatum, in addition to the 3D conversion. That about sum it up?
The SPOILER there of course was his revelation that Channing Tatum dies in the film (although, as fanboys have pointed out, if you're familiar with the "Joe" universe, and have been paying attention to the marketing materials for the upcoming film, it's not so much a spoiler; 'twas for me).
What I'm curious to know is what was the test audience demo? I thought this was a dude movie? Or am I just missing something? Yes, I'm sure there are "Joe" fangirls out there as well, but, really, I don't think I'm being sexist when I say this is a movie targetted primarily at that 13 to 40-year-old man crowd.
And if that's the case, why would that audience be asking for more Channing Tatum, or give a hoot about the relationship between characters played by Channing and The Rock developing before Channing bites the dust? It's a freaking G.I. Joe movie, not The Vow, or Dear John! The first one, which I did see, was a little short on character development, so I wouldn't be expecting much of that in the sequel. It's all about the spectacle with these flicks.
But what do I know, right?
As for the test audience requesting that it be in 3D; that I guess I can understand… not that I want every film in 3D, but it's a numbers game; the bottomline for Paramount is that, as stated in the quotes above, international box office apparently loves 3D Hollywood material, so if the conversion won't break the bank, then why not, when you're likely increasing the film's earning potential? Especially if, like John Carter and Battleship, domestic box office underperforms.
So anyway… that's the story for you diehard "Joe" fans.
One of the 50 movies Dwayne Johnson will appear in over the next 24 months, G.I. Joe: Retaliation – which also stars Channing Tatum, Adrianne Palicki, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Park, Ray Stevenson and Walton Goggins – will see the Joe team face off against Zartan, his accomplices, and the world leaders he has under his influence.
Here’s the current trailer; although expect a new one to be cut some time before March 29, 2013.