Anyone who knows me know that I’m a huge G.I.Joe fan. Have been since I was a kid. I have long prided myself on knowing my shit when it comes to the Joe Franchise (and that’s half the battle, by the way). So back in 2009, when G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra came to Theatres, I did the smart and sensible thing that any super-fan who knows shit when he’s would do – I avoided it like the plague. It didn’t look like G.I.Joe. The Plot didn’t sound like G.I.Joe. It wasn’t going to bring me the enjoyment that the classic comic book and cartoon would, so I just said no. That was that. And from everything I’ve heard, I made the right choice. Fans of Duke and the gang were let down by a piss poor plot and underwhelming action. I prided myself in making the right decision.
But then word of the sequel came out and I was hesitant to listen. The things they were saying about story and character sounded like they might be a bit more on track this time, but I kept my distance. Then they posted the first trailer online. A trailer that boasted some cool action, a great display of the players involved and most importantly, a Cobra Commander that looked like Cobra Commander. This film looked like G.I.Joe. The plot sounded like G.I.Joe. I was hooked. G.I.Joe: Retaliation would be the savior of this franchise. June 29th couldn’t come faster.
Yesterday put an end to that building excitement as Paramount announced it’s decision to move the film back to a March 29th, 2013 release. The reason they cited: The film would have a better chance commercially, especially overseas, if it was released in 3D, so they’re taking the time to up-convert it from the 2D format. There’s only one sane reaction to news like that: BULLSHIT!
There are so many reasons why this is a bad move. The film was 5 weeks away from hitting theatres. There have already been millions of dollars spent on the marketing and advertising of a late June release. Posters everywhere have been keeping the buzz alive on this one. But now you want to throw that away and leave your studio without a tentpole film for this year, let alone this summer? How is that good business. Not only that, but that means that next year Paramount will be stretched thin promoting this film along with Star Trek, The Ninja Turtles, World War Z, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and more. Is that really wise? How can this add money to the bottom line since you’ve not only thrown a bunch money away on the current marketing campaign but you’re going to have to work even harder to promote it a second time. And for those of you out there saying that a March release date puts it at an advantage as opposed to releasing it in the crowded summer movie season, G.I.Joe will be following Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, Fox’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and Warner Bros.’s Jack the Giant Killer. All of these films will be coming out in March, so it’ll feels pretty crowded at that time as well.
What bothers me most is the reason for this delay. 3D is a fad. It’s not a selling point for a film. If you’re spending a shitload of money and shooting 3D properly, then yes, it may end up helping your movie. But if you’re up-converting from 2D, it does absolutely nothing. You can cite James Cameron’s conversion of Titanic all you want. Cameron lives in 3D now. He knows what he’s doing. Like him or hate him, he’s gonna take the time and money needed to make it look right. These guys are not James Cameron. And here’s the big kicker: the producers, geniuses that they are, hired a director, Jon Chu, whose 2 biggest successes were shot in 3D and they had him shoot G.I.Joe on film. According to recent interviews, Chu has said that he told them the price tag for shooting in real 3D and they passed. He then went out and shot the whole thing on filmstock and delivered the film after a crazy schedule filled with 50 setup days. Now they’ve decided to go the long way around to save a few dollars. And Chu thinks this up-conversion is a bad idea just like everybody else – he’s not coming right out and saying it, but his level of surprise on the film’s delay gives me the impression that he’s screaming on the inside.
The studios believe that by releasing the film in 3D, it will add more overseas box office sales. That may be true, but the stalling of this film might lose them box office on home soil. I know a lot of people who were excited for this film. Even though the first film sucked and didn’t make what it was expected in theatres, the fans were not burned so much as they were waiting for someone to do it right. By the looks of things, everything was on course. But with this delay, I can see a fickle movie-going public deciding to give their money to some other film by the time March rolls around.
Will this eventually hurt or help G.I.Joe: Retaliation? Time will tell. All I know is that I have no plans on June 29th now. Maybe I’ll go see that Neil Young film. Then again, maybe not.
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!