Want to See ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ This Summer? Too Bad!

The ‘G.I. Joe’ sequel just can’t catch a break. Despite an expensive ad campaign that featured commercial time during the Super Bowl, an imminent line of tie-in action figures and a scheduled release date barely a month away, studio bosses at Paramount have just pushed the movie back… to March of 2013. Seriously?! I suspect that Cobra Commander is behind this somehow.

The road to ‘Retaliation’ has been a bumpy one. First off, there’s the obvious fact that the previous movie, ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra‘, is a steaming pile of shit. Regardless, it made enough money to justify a sequel. The prospect of that initially filled me with dread, but news that incompetent director Stephen Sommers had been canned from the project, and that the screenwriters of the very fun ‘Zombieland‘ had been hired to write it, left me perhaps cautiously optimistic.

Then came the bad news that block-of-wood Channing Tatum would return to star. On the other hand, new stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bruce Frikkin’ Willis signed on and absorbed most of the spotlight away from Tatum. This is a good thing.

Next was the ambiguous announcement that the new director would be Jon Chu, helmer of a couple of the ‘Step Up’ movies and the Justin Bieber concert film. That didn’t sound too promising. But then Chu gave some interviews which suggested that he isn’t a total idiot, that he thought the first movie kind of sucked, and that he may even know a thing or two about the ‘G.I. Joe’ franchise. At this point, I was at least tentatively back on board.

What sealed the deal for me was the official trailer, which frankly I think looks pretty awesome and showcases a lot of genuine respect for the source material. Against all odds, I found myself actively looking forward to seeing the ‘G.I. Joe’ sequel this summer

So much for that.

The official explanation for the delay is that Paramount has decided to convert the movie to 3D. This comes as a surprise not just to fans, but to the film’s director, who had been talking excitedly about the movie’s June 29th release as recently as this past Monday. This decision is perplexing on a number of levels. Not only is it unusual to bump a film so close to its planned release, but the lack of ‘G.I. Joe’ will leave Paramount without a summer tentpole movie, and in fact without any “event” pictures budgeted over $100 million for the rest of the year. (The studio’s zombie epic ‘World War Z’ had previously been pushed back from December to next summer.)

I hate to say it, but the 3D conversion excuse sounds like bullshit to me. What I read into that is: “The movie’s having behind-the-scenes trouble that we can’t acknowledge in public.” I have a feeling that studio bosses saw a cut of the movie, weren’t happy with it, and want to impose major changes. Considering that these are the same people who signed off on ‘Rise of Cobra’, either that means that ‘Retaliation’ is really terrible, or that it’s in fact better than expected and meddling producers want to dumb it down to appeal more to moron teenagers. Frankly, the latter could be more likely.

Needless to say, none of this bodes well for the film.

[Source: The Los Angeles Times]


  1. Maybe they saw how Battleship had it’s ass handed to it and decided it wasn’t a great idea to release an ensemble action movie of middling interest between Avengers and Dark Knight.

    • Josh Zyber

      Battleship mostly tanked due to bad timing. The studio was stupid to release it right after Avengers, which has much the same target audience. Battleship was released overseas a month earlier and did just fine there.

      Releasing G.I. Joe between Avengers and Dark Knight was probably the best possible timing for it. The heat from Avengers will have cooled off by the end of June, and the movie stood a chance of having a solid opening before Dark Knight could steal its thunder later. The only direct competition it had was Brave, which seems targeted to a competely different audience.

      • JM

        ‘Battleship’ underperformed overseas. 3D could fix that.

        But ‘Battleship’ was Universal, who couldn’t market free sex.

        Paramount is repositioning ‘G.I. Joe’ using ‘Transformers 3’s billion-dollar playbook.

        I don’t mind waiting nine months if it helps the studio make more money from a genre I like.

      • All I know is movies that are released in March don’t get much traction ever. This movie won’t make a ton of money at all during that time frame.

        I can’t remember a single time during the Feb – April timeframe that I’ve been to a movie, much less a movie that had a full house or did well.

        In fact I’m pretty sure that Cabin in the Woods was the last movie I saw in that time frame, and that was a movie that deserved to do better.

        • El Bicho

          “All I know is movies that are released in March don’t get much traction ever.”

          Ever? How about 300? That movie’s success a few years back is what led to studios using the month as more than a dumping ground

  2. I’m quite disappointed! I wanted to see ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ come next month. Is there still time to cancel the action figures? Will some find their way to stores, only to sell out fast and fetch high prices on eBay? Will the figures have ‘copyright 2012’ on the back of the package? Does everything have to be redone, in order for the material to say ‘2013’?

  3. Robert

    Shayne’s right. This is almost certainly a reaction to the poor performance of BATTLESHIP, deciding it’s best to avoid the strong competition this summer. Also, they’re hoping to get extra revenue from inflated 3D ticket prices.

  4. JM

    ‘G.I. Joe’ test screenings had a questionnaire that asked: Do you want more Tatum?

    I hope, for the sake of the reshoots, the focus kids answered correctly.

  5. Josh Zyber

    A friend of mine is an independent toy dealer who sells Hasbro product. I asked him how the rescheduling of the movie will affect the previously planned release of the tie-in toy line. Here’s his response:

    “I don’t yet know the extent of what will happen. Retailers had all already received shipments of the product anywhere from 2-8 weeks ago. Sales of the product was awaiting the 5/28 street date. Meijer’s broke the street date over a month ago, TRU was also breaking it in the last week or two. Hasbro gave the go-ahead to online retailers yesterday to begin shipping. I am not sure if that was due to the other street date violations (as has occurred in the past) or due to the movie news. I spent most of today shipping orders of this stuff, not that I had a lot.

    “Hasbro has just solicited wave 3 of the movie figures and I have not heard anything yet about them not being available. My guess is they are already manufactured and thus Hasbro will probably attempt to sell them but we’ll see. Major retailers who ordered these may be pissed that they have no movie to drive sales, whereas it is less of a problem for online retailers who deal primarily with collectors who will buy it regardless. Major retailers may want to return product. Hasbro has a big mess on their hands for sure!

    “The later waves which would contain ‘off-screen characters’ oriented toward collectors – new takes on Crimson Guard and Night-Viper, for example as shown at Toy Fair, may not see the light of day in the movie line. We are thinking they might show up in 3rd or 4th quarter on some form of regular GI JOE cardbacks like 30th Anniv or Pursuit of Cobra.

    “This is speculation of course.”

    • Hmm, very interesting! Some figures will undoubtedly be more rare than others. I wish I could hold my breath to see them appear in Europe, but that effort will probably be futile.

    • If retailers are indeed returning inventory to Hasbro, I wonder if Hasbro could sue Paramount for lost profits. Changing a release date is one thing that is not unheard of. Doing it this close to the release date, after your promotional items have already shipped and started selling, is stupidity on the part of Paramount.

  6. This is 100% a reaction to Hasbros underperforming Battleship domestically and internationally. Studios are seeing spectacular grosses overseas for anything in 3D. The overseas market has had none of the 3D backlash we’ve had in the US.

    Paramount and Hasbro believe that 3D will greatly affect their ability to make money overseas, and they are probably right.

    Personally, I think they should just do a Clash of the Titans style conversion and foreign audiences will still pay because they seem to be kind of stupid.

      • Hey if the shoe fits…

        Foreign studios are the reason that Ewe Boll is still making movies today instead of some other terrible thing he could be doing.

        His movies should be considered crimes against humanity yet I can guarantee he makes more money in Europe and the Slavic countries then he does in the US.

        Shame on you guys for paying to go see this mans movies.

      • NC-17 would only improve this movies chances. I would KILL for them to do one of these movies right and make it actually more violent and adult. I”m so tired of everything being aimed at kids that supposedly can’t handle any real violence.

        But kids today have access to more violent imagery then I ever did when I was growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

        The most outrageous thing we had at the time were stip poker games on my Commdore 64 or finding the occasional Playboy or Penthouse somewhere.

        PG13 vs. R movies are the least of parents problems for their children and they really should pick their battles. The movie industry is killing themselves (other then when they get a comic movie right (Cough Avengers)) by trying to pander to the lowest common denominator.

        Some of the most popular movies ever have been R Rated and that won’t change going forward.

        This is just another stupid move in a huge amount of stupid moves by Hasbro and the studios they have been dealing with.

        How friggen hard can it be to make a good GI Joe movie without screwing it up. I didn’t hate the first Joe movie but It could have been so much better.

  7. JM

    Josh wins all the cookies!

    ‘G.I. Joe 2’ tested worse than the first.

    Like ‘Charlie’s Angels 2’–without the character development.

    Everything good from the trailer was from the first round of reshoots.

    Paramount saw that the movie was still incoherent, Uwe Boll-esque.

    Like ‘Transformers 2’–without the action sequences.

    They’re hoping more reshoots and a 37th edit will make it semi-digestible.

    3D is just an extra layer of life insurance.

    But I’m not concerned. Same thing happened on ‘Apocalypse Now.’

  8. JM

    ‘G.I. Joe’ never should have killed the redhead girl with all the cleavage.

    They should have repurposed her into the ultimate lesbian romance killing machine with the new ninja girl.

    Then Hasbro could start selling war toys to little tough girls. Oorah.

  9. JM

    The focus-group-created need for more Tatum is most likely an indication of a weak protagonist / weak villain / weak love interest / weak hero’s journey. Audiences haven’t been able to pair-bond to the Joes.

    Maybe more Tatum is a cheap enough bandaid to patch the hollowness.

    ‘G.I. Joe 2’ only needs to make $300M worldwide to be profitable. The goal is most likely $80M US, $240M overseas. Converting to 3D should make that easy.

    I like that the director was on such a tight leash he didn’t learn about the delay until he read it on the internet.

    • Josh Zyber

      The excuse about not wanting to confuse the audience by opening G.I. Joe against Tatum’s other movie, Magic Mike, seems particularly far-fetched.

      • Indeed! He’s still not the kind of actor that drives people to the theatres. “Hey honey, shall we check out that new Channing Tatum movie tonight?”; “There’s two of them! I’m confused!”