Now, of course, this has to stay in strict “rumor mill” mode, but honestly Drew McWeeny from HitFix is a very well connected guy in the movie industry, so I would think this is something we should pay some attention to, and it does connect some dots for us.
According to the aforementioned HitFix, Paramount’s decision to move the film release date has created some contention between the studio and director Jon M. Chu, and in fact, Paramount may be attempting to press forward with reshoots without Chu’s involvement. This could be huge, and would certainly explain the director’s Twitter silence.
Chu has long established his fandom of the G.I. Joe franchise, and has been exceptionally well connected to the fans through social media, so if Paramount tries to lock him out of the reshoot process, do we all risk losing some connection to the production, and losing the assistance of someone who will fight for what we want to see in a G.I. Joe film? However, also according to HitFix, producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura (who has some klout with the studio) is standing firm by Chu’s side and supporting him against the studio. Check out the full paragraph here:
“We’ve been hearing reports of rough test screenings for the film, but things are starting to get genuinely contentious between director Jon Chu and the studio, and right now, there is a chance he won’t be directly involved at all with the reshoots. There’s also a chance Chu might try to legally force his way back onto the film, which could create even more strain in the relationship he has with Paramount. Word is that producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura is firmly on Chu’s side, which could help, but I shouldn’t be shocked if we get word soon that Stuart Baird or someone similar is being brought on to “consult.””
Obviously this turns the entire production process on its ear, and unfortunately injects even more doubt and chaos into what is already a bizarre, uncomfortable next nine months for everyone involved.
Interestingly, among this is other news according to IGN.com, who reports that another Paramount production, World War Z is also going through a long series of reshoots and have also endured a date change, signifying that this isn’t a problem necessarily focused purely on G.I. Joe. It sounds like Paramount is scrambling to refocus on their films and find a better, more effective formula for their story telling. In light of the massive domestic failures of John Carter and Battleship, and in light of the tremendous success of Avengers, it looks like Paramount is paying more attention to the narrative. Hopefully the results in March show that to be the right move, but if the voyage over the next nine months is fraught with the same chaos, uncertainty, and train wreck under tones that we’ve seen over the past two weeks, G.I. Joe’s public face is just going to suffer further.
At the end of the day, it feels like the G.I. Joe brand in general is a brand that has been skirting the line of viability and profitability over the past several years, and this constant barrage of press for all the wrong reasons isn’t going to do it any favors long term. Buckle up, Joe fans.