Paramount Studios stunned a lot of people (including me) yesterday when they announced that G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which was set to be released in theaters in just over a month's time, was getting pushed back almost a year to March 29th 2013. The "official" reason given for the move was that they decided to do a post 3D conversion on the film in order to release it in 3D.
On some level this makes sense. "The Avengers" is breaking all sorts of box office records left and right and at least a part of that success is the higher ticket prices for 3D films ("The Avengers" was in 3D). Also, in a recent tweet Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, star of the film, said that production was “Designing new scenes to enhance 3D.” So it would seem that some new scenes are being planned to take advantage of the 3D conversion they plan on doing.
However… I don't buy it.
The good folks in control of "G.I. Joe Retaliation" have had over a year to change their minds about 3D conversation. They could have decided to do 3D before they started shooting the film. They could have decided to do post 3D conversion after the film was done shooting. And they most certainly could have decided to do a post 3D conversion on the film before they spent MILLIONS of dollars on the marketing campaign promoting a June 29th release date. These people are very intelligent and so you're not going to convince me that they just heard of 3D conversion or that the idea for it JUST came up.
Are they going to do a pst 3D conversion on the film? Absolutely. I have no doubt about that. However, I also have no doubt it has next to nothing to do with why they pushed this film back nearly a year.
So why did "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" get pushed back? I'd like to offer three, albeit total speculation, reasons why you have to wait until March 29th of 2013 to get your next fill of JOE.
REASON #1 - THE FEAR OF SPIDER-MAN
In all reality, BATTLESHIP was never going to be a huge massive hit. With that being said, prior to massive record breaking opening of "The Avengers", most people, the studios included, expected a larger opening weekend than $25 million for "Battleship" and a part of that disappointing result was the incredible popularity of "Avengers". No one in the right mind could have predicted a $55 million 3rd weekend for the superhero film, which had a direct negative effects on the box office results for "Battleship".
Now, "The Amazing Spider-Man" is set to open immediately following the "G.I Joe: Retaliation" opening, and the tracking for it has been getting very good. People are talking about the newest Spider-Man and the trailers for it have been fantastic. With that in mind, I believe the folks behind G.I. Joe and worried that the web slinger will monopolize and eat up all the box office business once it comes out and that "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" will suffer the same fate as "Battleship".
REASON #2 - BAD TEST RESULTS
According to Ain't It Cool News, the studio has begun testing "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" with some audiences and apparently the results have not been good. The movie news site claims the following:
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.
REASON #3 - MORE CHANNING TATUM
Let's be clear, prior to his wonderful performance in "21 Jump Street" and the apparent excitement level building over his next film "Magic Mike", Channing Tatum was not especially looked at as a box office draw. That could explain why he (along with almost the entire cast of the first "G.I. Joe" movie get killed off at the beginning of this sequel. However, things have changed. Channing Tatum is a legitimate star now with some legitimate drawing power.
I was actually talking with a film journalist friend of mine following the announcement of "Joe 2" being pushed back and I said to him directly "I'll bet you almost anything that they're going to reshoot a lot of this movie and put more Channing Tatum in it". Things are looking like I may have been right.
According to that same AICN report, they quote a source who claims several of the questions the screeners of the film were asked included a few about Tatum specifically like ""How did you feel about him (Tatum) in the film?" and "Do you feel there should have been more of him...?"
If this report is true, it seems to lend credence to my suspicions of them wanting to add in more Tatum, and perhaps even have him survive the attack at the beginning of the film. We'll see.
I completely understand the folks behind G.I. Joe wanting to do a 3D conversion of the film, but there is just no way that I buy that as the sole (or even main) reason for their decision to push the film back so far. I believe it has much more to do with wanting to avoid "Spider-Man", make improvements to the film and most likely add a lot more Channing Tatum to it.
And you know what, I have a feeling if the powers that be just came right out and said "We've decided to push back the release date of the next "G.I. Joe" because we think there are things we can do to make it better and more worthy of the great fans of this franchise" then I think it would have been met with a lot of respect from the film going audience as opposed to much of the anger we saw online yesterday.
So what do you think? Do you think there was more to G.I. Joe's release date change than 3D? Tell us in the comments section below and don't forget to tweet this and "like" it on Facebook using the buttons below.