Entertainment Today and Beyond

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Paramount will not screen G.I Joe Rise of the Cobra in advance for critics

gi joe

Paramount has decided to not screen G.I Joe Rise of the Cobra for the majority of critics in advance of its release on Friday. Personally I think this is the wrong strategy and is a perplexing move considering the studio hand picked about a dozen or so internet critics including Aintitcool, Chud and Joblo to view the film already. The majority gave glowing reviews over the past two weeks and the studio achieved the impossible by turning incredibly negative internet buzz around 180 degrees when these positive reviews started to show up. 

I could be wrong but I just don’t see all these sites being in Paramount’s back pocket since it’s more than just Harry Knowles who really liked it. Also the latest trailers have also looked much better than the original one that was released back in February –the one that started an avalanche of negativity including erroneous reports that director Stephen Sommers was fired and locked out of the editing room. In the internet age this type of buzz is hard to reverse.

Clearly Paramount has much riding on G.I Joe as, according to the La Times, the film had a production budget of $175 million and a marketing budget of $150 million. That is a huge investment in a property that the studio wants to turn into a long running franchise. This film has to have a big opening or all those plans go out the window.

One could argue that this strategy of hiding it from critics will get people talking about the film once again but I don’t see that as a positive. In many ways that’s the way I am looking at it. While many horror films don’t get advance critic screenings (you will never see a Saw sequel screened in advance) it’s rare with a summer film with the budget of G.I Joe Rise of the Cobra. Off the top of my head I remember Steve Martin’s My Blue Heaven and Steven Segal’s Under Siege 2 Dark Territory not getting screened in advance. Although in many cases the studio knows it has a bad product and these films usually get panned and do a quick fade from theaters, I wound up enjoying both of those movies. Unfortunately it does attach a stigma to the film that really never goes away. 

If Paramount can somehow get a big opening (anything over $50 mil) they could own the month of August since G.I Joe is the only mega budget action film coming up. Hopefully for the studio Jeffery Wells over at Hollywood-elsewhere is wrong when he says that his sources are tracking the film to open in the $20-$25 million range. That would be a disaster on all fronts. It will be interesting to see how all this plays out as it been one of the more interesting stories this year. I’ll be there this weekend to share my opinion.

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August 6, 2009 - Posted by | And Beyond - Trailers & News |

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