The official reason for the delay of the debut of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation by a full nine months from June 29th to March 29th 2013 was that it gives Paramount the time it needed for a proper 3-D film conversion--including some additional shooting of scenes to take advantage of the format.
Now Deadline reports that the public's growing appeal for Channing Tatum also factored into the delay...
In what's been really no big secret Tatum's Duke character, the hero of the first film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra gets killed at the start of 'Retaliation'. It seems the death is so abrupt that it did not sit well with test audiences, this as the studio only recently became aware of the power of 'The Tatum' and his rise in cinema stature in recent months.
Their source says:
"In our first screening of the film the reaction from audiences was good but with two 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."
Beyond Tatum there was also the issue,of what could be considered unfairly nicknamed the 'Kitsch factor' - how big-budget disasters "Battleship" and "John Carter" would've ended up far worse had it not been for each film raking in $200 million worth of ticket revenue from international markets (mostly through 3D screenings).
The source says:
"That ['Battleship' and 'John Carter' bombed in the States] 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. Not being in 3-D will cost us a ton of business internationally."
There was also the competition to consider--Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper flick Magic Mike, which also stars Channing Tatum but in a much bigger and more revealing role. The source claims Paramount "didn’t want uniformed Channing to compete with stripping Channing on the same weekend."
Meantime over in THR, a producer told the trade that "The Amazing Spider-Man" reboot opening on July 3rd later caused concern that the film simply couldn't compete - especially in a Summer where only the biggest film The Avengers is boffo films from Tim Burton's take on Dark Shadows" to Men In Black 3 have dissapointed.
With the delay though, the most important question now becomes one of cost. 'Retaliation' cost $125 million and the studio claims that only $5 million will be spent on the conversion as all the extra time allows them to negotiate better deals with the companies doing the work.
A delay like this is almost always seen as a negative. In recent years though, Paramount has had success with films that were delayed by at least four months from their intended release such as "Star Trek" and Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island".
Byung-hun Lee is the only other returning cast member other than Tatum
French actress Elodie Yung will play a ninja member of the Joe squad named Jinx Adrianne Palicki will play the female lead in the film as Lady Jaye/Alison R. Hart-Burnett. She is the Joe Team’s covert operations specialist Ray Stevenson will play the villain. Dwayne Johnson is Roadblock Joe Mazzello is set to play the role of Mouse Rapper/actor RZA AKA Robert Diggs amd D.J. Cotrona are cicling roles as well. While Bruce Willis plays General Joseph Colton, the man who in 1980s comic books starts the G.I. Joe strike team, and got the handle G.I. Joe. Walton Goggins will play Warden Nigel James in the film.
Jon Chu called the shots on the film from a Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick script.
The film is being produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura.