Producer Says 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' Didn't Add More Channing Tatum
One of the biggest behind the scenes shockers of 2012 was Paramount's decision to delay G.I. Joe: Retaliation from June 29th, 2012 to March 29th, 2013 to allow for a last minute 3D post-conversion. The studio had already spent tons of money on a marketing campaign, and rumor had it that the film tested poorly because rising star Channing Tatum was killed off in the first act, so the studio decided to reshoot and add more Tatum to the mix. But in a new interview with CraveOnline (via The Playlist), producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura claims that wasn't the reason for the reshoots after all. So who do we believe?
Here's what di Bonaventura told Craveonline when asked if the delay was to add more Channing Tatum:
“No, it’s not. That is a complete rumor. I don’t know where that started. Literally, Channing shot for - if I have it wrong, I’m off by an hour - four hours, five hours? So it wasn’t really about that at all.”
It's hard to take the producer at his word here, because it sounds like he's just trying to save face for the movie. But that ship sailed when the studio pulled the bone-headed move of delaying it and adding a 3D conversion just to make more money internationally. Sure, it makes sense from a business perspective, but shouldn't Paramount have thought about that - oh, I don't know - before spending millions of dollars on an advertising campaign the first time around? Or maybe even before production started? Surely the movie will be a lot different than it was the first time around to justify the costs of delaying it, then?
“It’s not much different. Literally, we shot for three extra days. We just added sort of explanation in what we did afterwards.”
Sounds like typical Hollywood spin damage control to me. Deadline isn't exactly my favorite news source, but their reporting showed that test audiences hated the movie when Tatum was killed off, so this seems like a pretty clear-cut case of a studio wanting to keep their leading man alive for further franchise installments down the line. And Paramount knew this was going to be a tentpole kind of action film, so why not let director Jon Chu experiment with the 3D format instead of sitting on the sidelines after production is already completed? It's not like the notion of "3D = higher box office returns" is a new thing, so this entire debacle is still baffling to me. Looks like we'll have to wait until March to see how this all plays out.