We’ve heard it from a number of different sources, and the story is starting to become more and more clear, and now industry insider Nikke Finke has spoken up on Deadline.com about the delay for G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
The story is starting to sound familiar.
Yes, according to Ms. Finke, the reasons behind the G.I. Joe: Retaliation delay were much more than simply a conversion to 3D or “bad screenings”. Sure, those played a part, but there were also other elements at work, too. According to Paramount insiders, the screening response wasn’t so much that the film was bad, it was more centered around the fact that Roadblock and Duke didn’t really establish a great friendship and that Duke died way too early in the film. There were also responses to the screening that asked why there was a lack of 3D in the first place.
Combining this with earlier talk that both John Carter of Mars and Battleship tanked domestically, Paramount became skittish of the surrounding competition, and elected to vacate to safer territory. The interesting note to all of this is not just that both John Carter and Battleship did much better internationally (which they both did), but that the big draw internationally was the 3D in both films.
This is the full context of what the Paramount source had to say:
“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.”
I think it’s fair to say, now that we’ve heard from a number of industry sources that this is probably the prevailing wisdom behind the news. It’s not nearly the “doom and gloom” that many people fear in regards to the film’s quality, it was mostly a combination of different things that led us to this. Where we go from here is the important next step.
I will say, I haven’t seen this many industry folks talk about the G.I. Joe film franchise in the past, perhaps all of this visible conversation is good for the film in the long run? Maybe it will spark interest from some people and put it more on the “Hollywood Radar”. Along with Deadline.com, the Hollywood Reporter is also chiming in with their own analysis, that puts a bit of a more sinister focus on it, but is still talking about the film. Time will tell.
Check out Deadline.com for the full story.