It looks like G.I. Joe: Retaliation won’t be hitting theaters this year. According to Deadline, the movie, which was originally slated to debut on June 29, has instead been delayed until March 29, 2013. Why the nine-month bump? Official sources claim it’s so that Paramount can add a third-dimension to the film.
“We’re going to do a conscientious 3D job because we’ve seen how it can better box office internationally,” an unnamed studio executive told Deadline. “Jim Cameron did all of Titanic‘s 3D in post — and look how well that movie turned out.”
While that seems a valid enough reason, and, as Deadline points out, Paramount has a history of delaying films in an effort to nab larger box office numbers, there are compelling reasons why we believe that this may not be the entire story behind the delay. Nine months is a long time, especially given how much money the studio has already spent on promoting the film’s original June 2012 release date. One would think Paramount would want the film to come out as soon as possible, unless perhaps it was no longer confident in the film’s ability to make money.
Before you read what we’re about to type, please keep in mind that we have no official word on the topic, outside of the press release announcing the delay. Everything to follow is speculation, though if any of you can find logical fault with it, we welcome your opinion in the comments below.
Alright, now those of you who read Digital Trends religiously will likely recall a piece we published only yesterday that covered, in excruciating detail, the massive box office failure of Universal Studios’ Battleship. That film, like G.I. Joe: Retaliaton, was based on a classic children’s toy, beloved by the kids of the 1980s who are now adults with, hopefully, buckets of disposable income. The idea behind both films is that members of this generation are driven entirely by latent nostalgia for the things they enjoyed as children and that adapting literally any piece of pop culture ephemera from the Reagen era will result in massive, unending profits.
Depressingly, this seemed like a solid, if intensely cynical, plan. Michael Bay’s Transformers movies made ridiculous amounts of money, and the first live-action G.I. Joe film, while not critically beloved, made a nice bit of profit.
That all seemed to change with Battleship however. It wasn’t just that Battleship was a failure, the film was a monumental failure, barely earning one-tenth of its $209 million budget in its opening weekend. It performed so poorly that it now holds the record for the smallest opening weekend for a film that cost over $200 million to make. It stands to reason that this might have made the executives at Paramount a bit nervous about their similarly big-budget, nostalgia-tapping G.I. Joe movie.
Perhaps that nine-month delay that was announced only moments ago is an effort by Paramount to either buy time in which the film can be re-edited, or simply stall the release in the hopes that perhaps the market will be more amiable to rehashed 1980s pop culture in a year’s time.
Like we said, we don’t know anything for sure, but at this point, our speculative explanation seems as likely as the official company line.