G.I. Joe: Retraction

...body massage? Anyone?

In what has to be one of the strangest movie-related moves I can remember, Paramount has decided to push back G.I. Joe: Retaliation nearly a full year, to March 2013. The press release claims the delay is because Paramount suddenly, at nearly the literal last frigging minute, decided to redo the movie in 3D.

As Rob notes at TR, 3D does really well in foreign countries, so it’s just possible Paramount and/or Hasbro decided they could make even more money with the much-maligned post-production 3D conversion. (And for what it’s worth, the Rock’s claiming new scenes will be “designed” to take advantage of 3D.)

One thing’s for certain: very few people are buying the argument that this is being done solely to turn the movie into 3D. The studio had plenty of opportunities to make that decision and evidently passed every time – at least until Battleship sank (which anyone could have seen coming a mile away).*

There’s no question the delay is, at best, awful for the film’s PR, and it has to be problematic for Hasbro. Retaliation toys are already on the shelves in stores and no doubt many more are shipping; the movie itself got promos during the Super B0wl, so the awareness is out there.

As far as I can tell, most diehard fans – and even those not really interested in the property like myself – were excited for the film. TR’s Rob wrote, “if Avengers weren’t coming out, this would absolutely be my most anticipated movie of the summer.” If that’s not a great endorsement by a high-profile geek, I don’t know what is.

But maybe there’s a disconnect between what geeks/fans are saying and how it’s tracking with your average moviegoer. If so, I suspect this is due primarily to the deservedly miserable reputation of G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. And I’m not sure that’s anything that can be overcome by a conversion to 3D – but I guess you could get a few more foreign moviegoers to spend a few hours in an air-conditioned theater.

In any event, whatever buzz this film had has been unquestionably wounded by this move. Fans who were excited for it are now wondering if the film sucks. The decision just comes so late in the game that any observer has to wonder what the hell went wrong.

The bigger question for toy collectors is whether this represents a major blow to the toy side of the franchise, which barely recovered from the Rise of Cobra mess and recently suffered a setback in regard to Renegades‘ lack of success. Will G.I. Joe “die”? No, it’s much too valuable a brand. But it’s feasible that a bad performance by Retaliation could cause Hasbro to put G.I. Joe into hibernation for a while.

Again, I really don’t know enough about the brand to talk about the implications of this knowledgeably, so I refer you these posts at Infinite Hollywood, ToyNewsI and GeneralsJoes.

*I’m not sure you could ever make a good movie out of Battleship, but I still think a wiser route would have been to set it during WWII and hire Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer, Captain America: The First Avenger) to direct it.

Comments now closed (17)

  • My understanding was that they had to make "villains" for Battleship, and aliens are more marketable from a global scale than, say, the Japanese, which would have been appropriate for a WWII epic. And as Clint Eastwood showed with "Flags of our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima," it's more about telling two sides of the same story…although those weren't exactly blockbusters.

    I also heard that because Channing Tatum has had a career/box office resurgence in 2012 so far thanks to 21 Jump Street, The Vow, and Magic Mike, the studio is reconsidering his considerably smaller role and trying to beef it up, which could be difficult if he, you know, gets killed off or whatever.

    • Yes – because what the world needs is more Channing Tatum screen time. Sigh.

      As for Battleship, I guess that makes sense…but then, I'd probably argue the whole enterprise wasn't worth bothering with in the first place.

      • I had Tuesday off which I spent at the movies since it was raining. I saw The Avengers (loved it) and decided to make it a double feature by seeing Battleship. As derided as the film is, I didn't think it sucked that bad. It was better than Revenge of the Fallen and three quarters of Dark Side of the Moon, let me put it that way. It actually had a third act, and I wasn't constantly checking my phone for the time or text messages or setting my day calendar.

  • Makes no ****in sense. Why not just push back the foreign releases, then re-release the film in the US in 3D next year, when the foreign releases drop?

    • The last thing Hasbro will want is one line to be sitting on the pegs for 10 months. I doubt we will additional waves added on at this point, given the modicum of success the Joe line has had.

  • This will kill GI Joe toys. I haven’t been able to find Joes at my local retailers like Target, Walmart, or TRU in numbers greater than an odd case for at least a year; my local Wally and TRU don’t carry them AT ALL any more.

    The shrinking action figure market and this fustercluck will combine to whack this line. Will Hasbro have storage space for a year to house the now irrelevant product? It’s really too bad.

  • Supposedly the cartoon GI Joe: Renegades, despite performing OK, was put on hold to not conflict with the upcoming (at the time) movie. This just makes the death of that show even more bitter.

  • I first saw the news on a wrestling blog, of all places, owing of course to the connection to The Rock.

    Luckily, a combination of anxiety concerning my imminent unemployment and my discouragement with the overall handling of the G.I. Joe brand has minimized the impact this is having on me.

    I recently decided to put Joe on the back burner in favor of (assuming a job comes together) Lego minifigs, a dozen or so MOTUC figures and a Hot Toys figure or two, so while this would have devastated me six months ago, I'm now mostly just sort of dimly distantly sad and baffled by it.

    Also, congratulations: you have sold me on a concept for a Battleship movie. That's no small feat.

  • Well, with Hasbro's distribution being what it is, the toys should just be reaching shelves when the movie comes out.

    But seriously, I do wonder sometimes when I look at the weird, weird decisions made concrning GI Joe, if there isn't some exec somewhere who REALLY HATES the US military, and finds the line offensive.

  • i feel the real reason to push back the film is because avengers is doing so amazing. if they wait until next spring they will assure a larger gross compared to being wedged between avengers and prometheus (which promises to be huge also). i was pretty excited and am pretty peeved but i can understand the move (not the bogus "3d" excuse). i was just looking forward to a rock summer movie (which hasn't happened in a loooong time)!

    • The success of 'Avengers' –which is a rationale I've seen bandied about by several commentators on the Web–isn't a likely culprit. After all, Paramount is getting shedloads of money off that film due to the Disney buyout of the production deal with Marvel.

  • Yea I'm a casual Joe fan, but I was excited to see this movie it looked promising, and in the previews no gimmick suits or bs high tech looked to be in the movie…just good old military fun (and by military I mean Ninjas fighting ninjas -_- )