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'G.I. Joe Retaliation' Producer Insists New Cut Won't Feature More Channing Tatum

by Rodrigo Perez
January 13, 2013 12:42 PM
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Some potential *spoilers* may abound within this post, fyi. Let's revisit the spring of 2012. "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" isn't testing well, and Channing Tatum, who's had two films surpass the $100 million mark domestically ("The Vow," "21 Jump Street") is quickly becoming a star. It's also just one month before "Magic Mike," a starring vehicle for Tatum, will be released and go on to cross the same $100 million threshold and become one of the most profitable movies of the year thanks to an inexpensive budget.  Everyone can feel there will be magic in 'Mike.' Hollywood can taste it. Paramount and 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation" producers come to the brilliant realization, "Hey! We've got Channing Tatum in our movie!"

One problem. Not only does Tatum not have a huge part in the movie, if trailers and "G.I. Joe Retaliation" posters -- wherein he is conspicuously absent -- are any indication, the actor is killed off in the first act, setting up a revenge story for the rest of the Joes and the new actors in the cast like Bruce Willis,  Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki,  Walton Goggins, Ray Stevenson and D.J. Cotrona among others (about 90% of the cast is new and Tatum is one of the rare holdovers). This, of course, was speculation on our part, but was confirmed by a Deadline report in May (more on that in a sec).

A few weeks earlier, "G.I. Joe Retaliation" was bumped nine months from June 29th, 2012 to March 29th, 2013; and when Deadline did some digging, they discovered that the test screening indicated that audiences wanted more Tatum, and "[the studio quickly] realized what a complete miscalculation it was to kill off Channing Tatum in the sequel." So, reasons for the nine-month delay seemed obvious. Rewrite, retool, resurrect and include more Channing Tatum in 'Retaliation.' It's a shrewd move, but considering Tatum's success in 2012, it makes perfect sense.

However, in an interview with Crave Online, "G. I. Joe Retaliation" executive producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura insisted that the sequel won't have an overabundance of Tatum in the film. “No, it’s not,” di Bonaventura said about the truth of reshoots to include (and revive) Tatum. “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.”

While the producer does admit to reshoots on the picture, he said the new version of the film is not significantly altered. “It’s not much different,” di Bonaventura says. “Literally, we shot for three extra days. We just added sort of explanation in what we did afterwards.”

So, who's telling the truth and who's not? Put it this way, Tatum may not have a signifcantly bigger role in the film, but if he conveniently doesn't die in the sequel (and therefore is available for a third film), we won't be entirely shocked. We'll find out in two months. "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" charges into theaters on March 29, 2013.

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  • jon | January 14, 2013 12:28 PMReply

    the first g.i. joe was really good and i strongly disagree with those who said it "sucked". the director has sucked most of the storyline and cast away from the sequel and if they kill off the Duke character, regardless of who is playing him, i will continue to only own the first movie and disregard this rubbish and nothing more than a wannabe connection to the first film, which the trailer already appeared to be.

  • mason | January 13, 2013 6:11 PMReply

    I was there for the test screening last year and I was surprised I was the first person to say something about this. I hated the first one btw but Retaliation was surprisingly very entertaining. I highly recommend it to everyone that likes fun mindless action movies.

  • JenT | January 13, 2013 4:01 PMReply

    the 1st G.I. was really Bad, I had no plans to see the 2nd & still don't....wish someone would let me write Movies but not sure anyone could have saved either of these films! (no ones fault really, just think alot of films go thru too many 'Cooks' in the kitchen ends up with slushy gross hairy kinda meal....ew ew ew!)

  • hank | January 13, 2013 6:47 PM

    believe me, we all wish someone would let you write movies. imagine how good they would be if Jent was writing them.

  • ASFan | January 13, 2013 3:44 PMReply

    Well, going into 2012, no one was expecting Channing Tatum to have a great year. That and the fact that Dwayne Johnson proved himself to be an excellent franchise booster with Fast Five, the producers found it convenient to kill off Tatum and bring Johnson in to G.I. Joe. Frankly Johnson's involvement serves the Fast series better than G.I. Joe, naturally because he's the perfect antithesis to Vin Diesel.

  • raf jordan | January 13, 2013 2:22 PMReply

    killing off channing tatum is a horrible decision. sequels that kill of the hero of the first film are notoriously terrible. maybe this is the exception, i hope so. but it's very disappointing to not have tatum as the protagonist after the first film.

  • Louise | January 14, 2013 6:26 AM

    More channing!!!

  • Joe | January 13, 2013 1:46 PMReply

    The producer just needs to admit that this whole G I Joe franchise (if you can even call it that) sucks. The first film wasn't well-received so they, foolishly, made a second one?! Lets just say that, just as the first one, I won't be seeing the second one.

  • Joshua Lee Frazier | January 20, 2013 11:19 PM

    Hmm. $126,000,000 in the black is not well received... Traditionally, a film needs to gross around double the budget to be considered a "Commercial Success". But in most cases, a 100 million profit will do. Killing off "Duke" would be something that would piss off a lot of people, no matter who played him.

  • Julian | January 13, 2013 5:56 PM

    You say "the franchise sucks" (I'm assuming you're referring to the movie franchise and not the G.I. Joe franchise as a whole), but you haven't seen the first movie and you have no intention of seeing the second one. So, how do you know "the franchise sucks"? You're entitled to your own opinion, of course, but you seem to be judging without personal evidence.

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