TNI Editorial: Pros & Cons Of The G.I.Joe: Retaliation Release Date Change
Perhaps if you were in a coma yesterday, you didn’t hear about the bombshell Hasbro and Paramount announcedabout the release date for their upcoming G.I.Joe: Retaliation movie. In a nutshell, they decided to take a movie which had been slated to open in theaters a month from now (June 29, 2012), and move it to a March 29, 2013 release date, nine months later. The reason given for this unprecedented move was so they could convert the movie to a 3D release.
Now you can imagine this kind of move has generated a lot, and I do mean A LOT of conversation and debate on the Internet with most people voicing an opinion that this was a bad move on the studio’s part. Trying to be objective, I compiled a list of the pros and cons of this decision. Now keep in mind, this is simply my own opinions on the matter and why I feel the way I do. In other words, there is nothing official about what you are about to read hence the editorial title.
First, let’s start off with what I would consider the pros for this decision:
- Studios can make more money even though many viewers say 3D sucks. The movie is on more theater screens because now your movie is playing on at least 2 screens (if not more) instead of 1, a 2D screen and a 3D screen.
- Second, theaters charge more for 3D screenings so more money is made per screening off a 3D movie opposed to a 2D screening.
- Finally moving the date from June 29th to March 29th gives the movie a slot with less chance of competition. In my opinion, GIJoe would have opened on June 29 and likely taken the number 1 spot for its opening weekend then would quickly be knocked out the following weekend by Amazing Spider-Man which opens on July 3. Come next March, it’s going to have far less competition to deal with and I am sure the studio is hoping more money can be made from the film then.
Now for the cons:
- The message heard by fans is the studio has no faith in their movie. G.I. Joe Retaliation was already behind the 8-ball because a lot of people had a bad taste in their mouth from the first G.I.Joe film. Having people like The Rock and Bruce Willis star in this movie certainly helped diminish memories of G.I.Joe 1, but it was still in the back of many people’s minds. Now, you have this movie being pulled a month out from its release date (which I don’t think has ever happened before), and the first thing I’ve seen many people say is the studio must think the movie stinks and they are afraid of the competition.
- Second, March has less competition but there is a reason for that: fewer people go to the movies in March. Yes, Hunger Games made decent money last March, but Hunger Games had hugely positive buzz going in. Like Harry Potter and Twilight, women, tweens (and even some men) loved the books. The movie was also just a good movie and received lots of good reviews. I hate to be blunt here but G.I. JOE is no Hunger Games.
- Third, lots of wasted marketing now down the toilet. From Super Bowl ads to multiple TV spots, trailers and interviews, all for naught. Now I don’t really know how much had been spent on marketing up to this point but a Super Bowl ad alone I am sure cost a pretty penny. Now if I thought G.I.Joe had a chance of bringing in a box office take like say Avengers, then I am sure the marketing spent on this movie would be a drop in the bucket, but the chances of G.I. Joe being that successful seem slim to me.
- Fourth, as someone who has covered the world of G.I.Joe for a long time, there have been times in recent years where the line seemed to struggle at retail. Getting stores to carry G.I. Joe seems to have been a challenge for Hasbro at times. I have to imagine, like with most movie lines, one of the incentives for retailers like Wal-Mart, Target or TRU to carry something like Retaliation toys was the fact it would be self-promoted by the movie they are based on. Most of these retailers have already started selling Retaliation toys or have them sitting in their stock rooms waiting to be put out on the official release date, which I believe is May 28. Now with no movie coming out this summer, what will they do? Try and sell the toys even though there will be no movie in the immediate future to promote them? If they do choose to try and sell the movie toys now and they don’t sell well, what does that mean for future assortments? If retailers get burned on these things, come March when the movie finally does get released, will they still be willing to take the G.I. Joe plunge????
In the end if G.I. Joe Retaliation is in fact a well-made movie received well by fans and critics, than I think it can overcome these obstacles and has a chance of succeeding at the box office. However if the movie is not received well or even only moderately well, then I personally think this could be a blow to G.I.Joe far worse than anything Cobra could have done. Only time will tell though.