The Real Reasons Why G.I. JOE: RETALIATION Was Delayed

     May 30, 2012

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Last week, we reported the shocking news that Paramount had moved G.I. Joe: Retaliation from June 29th all the way back to March 29, 2013 for a “conscientious 3D” post-conversion, which no one bought for a second as the sole reason to scrap a prime summer release date five weeks before the movie was set to open.  The following day, star Dwayne Johnson, who plays Roadblock, told a fan on Twitter that they were “Designing new scenes to enhance 3D,” meaning that reshoots were going down.  It turns out that enhanced 3D scenes weren’t the only thing being shot.

Hit the jump for more.

GIJoe2_Duke_Poster_Channing_TatumAccording to Deadline, the film’s test scores were “mediocre to bad”.  That’s not too much of a shock, but films with crappy test scores have still stuck to their release date, and they’ve especially stuck to a release date when it’s only five weeks away.  But apparently those scores were partly the result of not enough Channing Tatum in the picture. Before the year began, I would say that the problem could have been too much Tatum, but 2012 seems to be the year where his charisma finally begins to come to the surface.  He did a nice supporting turn in Haywire, and he changed the minds of a lot of doubters (myself included) with 21 Jump Street.  Paramount could care less about Haywire, but they like the box office returns for Jump Street and The Vow.

Tatum’s new popularity is one of the reasons why Paramount has responded to test audiences’ complaint about Tatum’s character, Duke, getting killed off at the beginning of the film.  Even the trailer made it look liked the character got knocked off, but we debated on this week’s podcast about whether the character was really dead (I argued that he may have simply fallen down a well, but was still alive like Baby Jessica).  According to Deadline, the studio has already shot more stuff between Duke and Roadblock to develop the friendship between the characters.  At least now the poster we premiered won’t be for a character who’s in the movie for less than ten minutes.  Insiders also say they didn’t want to have uniformed Tatum competing against stripper Tatum in Magic Mike, which was set to open the same weekend.  While I’m sure Steven Soderbergh’s movie would certainly peel away some of the female demographic, it couldn’t be enough to push G.I. Joe: Retaliation so far back.  The 3D is truly the larger financial consideration

While we scoffed at the notion of how much 3D could potentially boost box office relative to the cost of reshoots and re-marketing the film, we forgot about the international market.  Stateside, a 3D post-conversion is no longer a guarantee of a box office bump, but the new technology is proving to be a boon overseas.  New 3D theaters are popping up in Russia and China every week, and they’ll have plenty more by the time March 2013 rolls around.  The benefit of international box office could be much larger than the potential return the movie would get in 2D this summer.  March may be a slower month at the box office than June (do not point to The Hunger Games as a counter-argument; G.I. Joe 2 is not The Hunger Games), but Paramount believes the film will still deliver overseas as long as the flick is in 3D.  As one source tells Deadline:

“Then a week ago Battleship basically had the same performance as John Carter – $60M-$70M U.S. and just over $200M international. That was just a wake-up call that said to us we need to offer the best version of the film irrespective of summer market share to ensure the best possible performance. And not being in 3D will cost us a ton of business internationally.”

Paramount claims that the 3D conversion itself will only end up costing about $5 million and the budget should stay under $130 million.  However, no one is saying how much the reshoots will cost.  Additionally, we still don’t’ have an answer as to how much money Paramount just wasted in marketing the film for a June 29th release date, and how much more they’ll have to spend in order to get audiences excited again for March 29, 2013.

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