More speculation about why Paramount pulled it so late in the game.
Sounds like they foud out late they had a stinker, so they used the "We want to add 3D" excuse to cover for that. Meanwhile they are probably going to do reshoots and add more Tatum. Joy!
There's a lot of close attention being paid to what's going on over at the offices of Paramount Pictures today after word came down yesterday that the studio was pulling G.I. JOE: RETALIATION from the summer 2012 calendar a little more than a month shy of its June 29 release date and repositioning it nine months later for March 2013, all in the name of 3-D. After all, an action flick starring The Rock and Bruce Willis would normally seem like a sure bet to bring in some good cash during the blockbuster season, and with a franchise that carries name recognition which already performed well enough in the theatres three years ago to warrant a sequel, you'd think G.I. JOE 2's bed was pretty well made already. That's where you'd be wrong. The first film is pretty divisive among fans - with some considering it nothing more than fun entertainment while others chalk it up to an incredible piece of stupidity - and yet there seemed to be a lot of positive buzz surrounding the sequel, which is quite an accomplishment. You couldn't say the same thing for say WRATH OF THE TITANS, which moved from a disappointing first film to an even more disappointing follow-up. But here we were, maybe not anticipating RETALIATION like PROMETHEUS or THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, but at least willing to go in open-minded after what was less than an ideal first offering... only for Paramount to yank the rug out from beneath us for the simple fact that converting the film will add 3-4 bucks to the ticket price you'll have to pay when they finally decide to show it to you. More money for them. But is there more than meets than eye (to borrow from another toy franchise)?
Business-wise, this makes perfect sense for Paramount. Apparently the international box office has been eating these 3-D action flicks up, so it's a sound business decision for Paramount to set G.I. JOE up in a slot where they can best take advantage of the market... but, if that's the case, why wait until now? Perhaps because panic has begun to set in not about what this film might not be able to do... which is compete with THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and make serious money.
There's a lot of apprehension about these big budget blockbusters these days after the financial failings of JOHN CARTER and BATTLESHIP. First off, if you're going to invest that much money in a picture, the studios damn sure want to be sure that they're going to make it back and then some. In the case of JOHN CARTER, Disney really has no one to blame but themselves, as their marketing was weak in gaining awareness for the film. However, BATTLESHIP was set up in the shadow of THE AVENGERS and wound up getting killed for it. Was BATTLESHIP awful? Absolutely. However, terrible movies have still managed to draw an audience, with Michael Bay's TRANSFORMERS sequels serving as perfect examples.
But with the record-setting numbers THE AVENGERS has been pulling since it assembled, there's plenty of reason to be worried about going head-to-head with our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man over Fourth of July Weekend. G.I. JOE: RETALIATION is only getting a few days head start on Spidey, and that doesn't necessarily mean people are going to rush out to see it knowing what's waiting for them a few days later over the holiday. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is still a Spider-Man movie, and that'll always trump G.I. JOE. The real question then becomes why did Paramount wait so long to realize they were leading their lamb to slaughter. Did they just think people would come out and see their movie, because during the summer, people have typically gone out and seen anything and everything, only to be proven wrong by BATTLESHIP? That could be part of it... or there could be big problems with RETALIATION.
The 3-D-ification is what it is. It's Paramount looking to squeeze every last dime that they can out of this movie, but couldn't they have decided to do that months and months ago? Why the sudden decision to post-convert? John Chu admitted to The Hollywood Reporter at SXSW that shooting RETALIATION was once an option, but they decided against it because it would have meant more money and more time. However, even those few short months ago, post-conversion 3-D didn't seem to be on the table. That wasn't something being considered then to make the June release date. It seemingly wasn't considered until now, which leads me to believe that this isn't about the 3-D at all. There's something else going on with G.I. JOE: RETALIATION.
Since yesterday, I've been getting all types of early screening reports about the quality of G.I. JOE: RETALIATION, which have ranged from "nonsensical" to "worse than RISE OF COBRA," so it's quite possible that Paramount didn't realize they had a bad movie on their hands until they got it in front of audiences, which was rather late in the game. Therefore, this was their chance to pull the plug to rework and retool the movie.
There've also been reports of plenty of reshoots leading into the cut of RETALIATION they have now with many more to come. The rumor mill seems to be working overtime with talk of Paramount now seeing Channing Tatum as more of an asset, after 21 JUMP STREET and MAGIC MIKE, than a bad link to the first movie. There's been some rumbling of reshoots that would call for more Tatum in the movie. The G.I. JOE RETALIATION we see nine months from now may only vaguely resemble the one we would have gotten one month from now.
Of course Paramount is going to say as much, because the smoke of the 3-D enables the fire of these problems to burn largely unnoticed under that cover... but there's plenty of reason to believe that G.I. JOE: RETALIATION was a movie in trouble and Paramount did the only thing they could think of at this point. The cost of their marketing isn't a big deal to them at this point. It just means a longer period of advertisement for their movie. But the thing I don't think they counted on was that they've taken what was a positive for them and quickly turned it into a negative. People were excited to see a G.I. JOE sequel, and, now that it's not happening when they were told, they have no choice but to fear and assume the worst (much of which may very well be justified).
I hope that Paramount can save G.I. JOE if this is the case. I hope they are pulling out all the stops to try to right the franchise and set it up to have a long future. I'm not saying that the fans deserve it, but the legacy of G.I. JOE does. These properties need to be handled with care, because, for the studios, they mean lots of money, but, for the fans, they mean something special. And poor films associated with such important names means everyone comes out a loser. They have nine months to make it work. They have nine months to pull it together. They have no other choice, because, right now, they've stacked the deck against themselves. Had G.I. JOE: RETALIATION rolled through next month and been bad, the film would have bombed, fans would have complained, and we all would have moved on. But, if you push it back, slap some 3-D on it, and turn out a movie that still winds up not meeting a certain standard, they come across as greedy and untrustworthy... and that's not a perception they should want to carry.