Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sorry Boys and Girls, No "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" This Year

In one of the strangest and most dramatic release date changes I've ever seen, Paramount Pictures said today that no longer will "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" be hitting theaters June 29, 2012, but that we can instead expect the film in late March of next year. Though I don't know of any way to look it up, I can't think of a previous summer blockbuster that's jumped ship with only a month before its scheduled release only to opt for an entirely different calendar year altogether.

First broken by The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has officially announced that the reason for the date change is due to high costs for 3D conversion that the company just doesn't have right now. First off, what I'm wondering is, will the extra money the film makes from 3D sales offset the extra money you have to put into the conversion and re-marketing the film? I tend not to think so, but I'm also unfamiliar with how all of the finances work within a production company. Also, if 3D wasn't in the original plans, do we really want to see this movie converted after the fact? I'm aware of the financial benefits, but in all recent experiences, post-conversion to 3D in fast-paced action movies hasn't generally turned out very well. Why the sudden desire do so?

Personally, I think there's something more behind this, and the my best guess is that the studio got scared and fled for the much more forgiving month of March. As it stood up until a few hours ago, the film was set to open a couple of weeks after films like "Prometheus" and "Brave", and a couple weeks before films like "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Dark Knight Rises". If I were a production company and I wasn't sure of my status with the general public, I might chicken out in that potential box office black hole as well. This is all pure speculation on my part of course, but it seems a little too odd that the movie up and moved just like that for 3D conversion. I'm not sure I buy it.

The first film of this franchise, "G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra", opened to generally unimpressive box office results and even worse critical reviews. The film grossed an estimated $150MM domestically, which isn't terrible, albeit for a film with a $175 budget. But the feedback the film received from critics and fans couldn't have given the studio much confidence in their visions for the franchise. Between the cheesy special effects and the questionable acting, it wound up with a lowly 34% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Another theory here is that, with Channing Tatum's recent successes, the studio is really trying to take advantage and work in a bit more of the suddenly marketable star. I was not a fan at all of the actor in the first G.I. Joe film, but I'll admit that I'm coming around with some of the more recent work he's done. This seems like a more understandable move on the studio's part, and one it would be hard to fault them on, from a business point of view. We'll see if we hear more word on this in the coming days/weeks, but as of now, this ranks near the top of my suspicion list.

Ultimately, regardless of any of the reasoning, this now gives us a big budget action movie for next March, I guess taking the place of what "Wrath of the Titans" gave us this year. I feel like I was starting to come around on this film, as some of the trailers have looked decently promising. And even after the first film left me completely unimpressed, I was willing to give this franchise another chance. But now with this news, I'm not sure all over again.

What do you guys think? Do you think this is all about the 3D conversion time and money or do you think there are other things that influenced the studio that they're not saying?