Smells of it.
Busy day in the real world around these here at The Realmcast, so please excuse us for the lack updates today. But seeing as the debacle of Paramount bumping G.I. Joe Retaliation to March is still moving like a tsunami across the web, I felt I had to get this up before I call it a night.
As you may know, Paramount pulled G.I. Joe Retaliation almost a month before it’s release. Unprecedented in Hollywood. The “official” reason given was that Paramount felt that the film would do better over seas with a 3D conversion. So instead of rushing that sort of work a month before it’s release (ala Clash of the Titans), they told everyone that they were going to take their time and do it right. Hence, the March date, which has proven to be valuable grounds for mid size to big summer style films. Since 300 hit, there March has been a saving grace month for Hollywood.
But no one bought it. No one in their right mind believed that moving a film 9 months for a 3D conversion was the real reason. Even when the Rock himself said that the crew were going back for re shoots for 3D. It all smelled of chickenshit.
Now, we might know the real, albeit, unofficial reason for the delays. Deadline‘s Nikki Finke got an insider scope on the matter. It pretty much sumed up my theory (listen to this weeks Podcast, were we dicuss this very topic, due in a few days)
“This was a case of letting a schedule to fill a summer slot dictate the film not being in 3D even though we knew that would be the most commercial version of the film. Then in the spring there were 2 big events. First John Carter lost $200M despite the best efforts of the Pixar brain trust. But the 3D film managed to gross over $200M overseas, nearly tripling its U.S. take.
“Also Channing Tatum had a breakout spring, starring in The Vow and 21 Jump Street. In our first screening of the film the reaction from audiences was good but with 2 big concerns: 1) They didn’t like the fact that Channing and The Rock really didn’t have any time to develop a friendship before Channing died, and 2) Why wasn’t it going to be in 3D? We went back and shot another week with Channing to develop more of his story with The Rock, which made the film play much better. But we didn’t have the time to be in 3D.
“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.”
Pretty much, Paramount got cold feet when they saw Avengers destroy everything in their path, including Battleship, another Hasbro property. Add John Carter tanking domestically, but performing well overseas in that mixture. Now, John Carter wasn’t the fault of the film makers, not by a long shot. John Carter failed due to Disney’s god awful marketing of the film. None of the trailers were cut to make the film look remotely interesting, and the title change to the generic “John Carter” due to another film with Mars in the title failing miserably was a backfire too. And Avengers, well, never underestimate GOOD comic book films.
But the second revelation, which confirms a plot point that hasn’t been elaborated on in the film, is the bigger surprise. Many who saw the trailer, figured that Channing Tatum’s Duke would bite it in the opening moments of the film, effectively handing over the reigns of the Joe’s to The Rock’s Roadblock. Turns out it’s true. But a funny thing has hap pend since the first film and the finishing touches of this one. Channing Tatum became a legit star. The Vow and 21 Jump Street made the man a bonafide draw, and guess what, people actually like the guy now. Say what you will about his acting, but there’s a bit of charisma about him that has been working it’s way out for a while now. Now Paramount sees him as an asset to the Retaliation, and think that he can work well off of The Rock. According to a test screening, the few moments between the two were quite good.
So what dose this mean? Probably more re shoots, undoing Tatum dying, and playing a some what bigger part in the film. I don’t see him being in the whole film now, but more than just 14 minutes in the beginning.
I don’t’ know. Paramount is walking a tight rope hopped up on Cocaine on this one. It has been a tricky summer so far. Avengers has demolished everything that has come out after it. But then again, the offerings that the other studios have been putting out all reek of “sure fire bets” that, hey, aren’t. Look, I’ll admit that I enjoyed the super dumb Battleship, but I wasn’t going to lose sleep over there not being a Battleship film. I can see why it didn’t make any money, because it’s fucking stupid. And while I firmly believe that the core audience that studios want (Kids ages 16-22 and their families) can be pretty dumb when it comes to choosing films, they’re not, and I quote Robert Downey Jr in Tropic Thunder here: “Full Retard”. Meaning, you can’t just serve a shiny pile of crap and expect them to eat it up every time. Look at Men in Black 3 this weekend. Did below expectations, and that’s a proven franchise and a proven box office draw lead. It it couldn’t meet expectations, then who stands a chance.
Well, Batman dose, but that’s Batman.
The Deadline piece goes on to describe that Jon Chu has been jerked around by this move to. But, Paramount did the same thing to Martin Scorsese with Shutter Island, and it proved to be a massive hit. I don’t know about it this time, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see next March.
On a closing note, I don’t expect Paramount to have a G.I. Joe presentation at Comic Con this year. Lets just say that there would be too many negative questions.