The real reason G.I. Joe was delayed? Those test screenings tanked

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012, 3:16 PM EST

Just a few days ago, we learned from our main man Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson that G.I. Joe: Retaliation's release was being pushed back to March 29, 2013, in order to convert the film to 3D. But today we learned there's another reason why it was pushed back, and yep ... it was because the test screenings tanked.

Let us explain.

Deadline is claiming that the reason why the G.I. Joe sequel was pulled from its June 29, 2012, release wasn't only because Paramount wanted to convert the film to 3D, but also because the film got poor screening results.

Why is that? Be warned that there are major spoilers ahead!

It's apparently because the test screening people didn't react too well to the fact that *SPOILERS AHEAD* Channing Tatum's character, Captain Duke Hauser, DIES in the action film.

According to a Deadline insider:

"In our first screening of the film the reaction from audiences was good but with 2 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."

To put it plainly, "the moguls realised what a complete miscalculation it was to kill off Channing Tatum in the sequel. And even more so at the start of the film."

While Tatum wasn't yet a big name when the first G.I. Joe came out, now he's quite the star with movies like The Vow, 21 Jump Street and the upcoming Magic Mike.

Still, 3D is an issue the studio wants to deal with: "This was a case of letting a schedule to fill a summer slot dictate the film not being in 3D even though we knew that would be the most commercial version of the film."

That and the fact that Paramount was also shaken by two other underperforming summer tentpoles:

"First John Carter lost $200M despite the best efforts of the Pixar brain trust. But the 3D film managed to gross over $200M overseas, nearly tripling its U.S. take. . . Then a week ago Battleship basically had the same performance as John Carter — $60M-$70M U.S. and just over $200M international. That 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. And not being in 3D will cost us a ton of business internationally."

What do you guys think? Are you the least bit surprised by this new "development"?

(via SFX)