This post sort of ties in with some conversations I’ve had on Twitter lately, and also a very good Q & A session and discussion from our recording last night of the latest installment of What’s on Joe Mind.
Essentially the subject of the discussion is how successful can we expect G.I. Joe: Retaliation to be at the Box Office when Amazing Spider-Man is hitting theaters the following weekend? Should we realistically expect a big hit in Retaliation’s numbers? Does this mean that potential box office success for the G.I. Joe sequel is an impossibility?
You know, I’m not so sure.
Click the Read the Rest of the Story link below for my thoughts.
If you’d asked me a month ago, I would have said that Amazing Spider-Man is going to whack G.I. Joe: Retaliation at the theaters and never look back. The result is likely one big weekend for the Joe film and then potential obscurity. The hope I’ve always had was that first of all, the initial weekend would be aggressive enough to carry the film, and number two that it had some level of staying power, and even if it didn’t crack the top of the charts from week 2 and forward, it might still amass enough cash to be considered a success. Well, I’m starting to think I’m vastly underselling the potential of this film.
In order to properly judge the potential success of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, you only need to look back to April, 2011, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson revitalized another franchise, the Fast and the Furious. You see, the two situations are remarkably similar. Fast Five hit April 29th, 2011 and was a high octane action film that followed up a previous film which performed pretty lackluster. Using Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a catalyst, they relaunched the franchise. Not only does this sound pretty familiar, but one week after Fast Five launched, the potential juggernaut Marvel film “Thor” was released (May 6th, 2011). As expected, Thor pushed Fast Five from the top spot at the Box Office and was considered a pretty large commercial success domestically.
But here’s the funny thing. Because of its international presence and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s star power worldwide, Fast Five ended up making $125 million more than Thor in the end. Some will say that’s comparing apples to oranges…after all, it’s tough to compare Thor to Spider-Man when you’re talking about world icons. Spider-Man is infinitely more recognizable than Thor.
However, back in 2011, Thor had fantastic word of mouth. Everyone loved the director, everyone loved Natalie Portman…from a critical perspective, it had a lot going for it. Not so much in the case of Spider-Man. The Amazing Spider-Man is yet another film reboot, which I get the impression is pretty grating to fans. Folks really have not expressed any major interest in Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, or Rhys Ifans, and let’s face it, star power sells. Fandom reactions to the costume have been lukewarm at best, and noone seems to be latching onto the look or feel of The Lizard either. In fact, if you poll fans, it seems like even for diehard comic book fans, Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t even appear in the top 3 of films they’re looking forward to this year. It seems to be getting overwhelmed by fury for The Avengers (no pun intended).
Comparatively, G.I. Joe: Retaliation has fantastic word of mouth. Every trailer seems to be spurning positive discussion, not just in G.I. Joe circles, but in general geek circles everywhere. But it’s not just geeks getting into it, it’s the millions of The Rock’s fans. This guy has it, and it seems like the more footage we see the more excited the general public seems to get. This cannot be overstated.
Then there’s that word again… “star power”. I remember when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was first cast as Roadblock, the overwhelming reaction was positive, but mostly in a reserved sense. A kind of “sure he’s great, but…”.
News flash. There is no “but”. As I’ve covered this film for the past six months, I say without hesitation that Dwayne Johnson was the perfect choice as lead for this film. He appeals to the right demographic, and he flat out sells tickets. For the love of God, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island has already made almost $315 million dollars! That’s not a coincidence.
I am certainly not the only one who thinks this way either. In fact, CinemaCon has just named Dwayne Johnson as “Action Star of the Year“. Now on the surface this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when you consider that CinemaCon is hosted by the National Association of Theater Owners, which is the largest and most established group of theater owners in the world, this is a pretty big thing. G.I. Joe fans can stand back and say that the biggest action star in the industry right now is starring in our film, and that is nothing to sneeze at.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation hits US theaters June 29th, 2012. Are you going to be there?