LOS ANGELES (AP) — G. I. Joe's second big-screen mission was just about to begin last year when Paramount suddenly called the troops back to base, delaying the release of "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" by nine months to convert it to 3-D. The move came just weeks after another movie based on a Hasbro toy, "Battleship," was torpedoed at the box office.
Fans will soon find out if it was worth the wait: "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" opens Thursday.
Though director Jon M. Chu always wanted to make the film in 3-D, learning of the delay a month before the film was set to open was initially crushing.
"It's kind of like running a marathon and you're at the last leg and you're exhausted and you're right at the finish line ... and then someone trips you and says, 'Oh, that's not the line. That was just an illusion. It's actually double the time,'" he said in a recent interview. "Literally your body aches."
It's not unusual for movie debut dates to bounce around a bit before being buttoned down, as production schedules and competing releases are assessed. But lengthy, last-minute delays are rare. The studio had even begun some "G.I. Joe" advertising efforts when it announced the 3-D delay last May.
At the time, some speculated it wasn't just about adding dimension, but also adding more of rising-star Channing Tatum, who was featured in 2009's "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra" but didn't clock much screen time in the sequel.
Yet the filmmakers insist they didn't shoot any new footage for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," saving the stars from shuffling their schedules for more than a couple weeks of promotional appearances. Instead, Chu and his team spent their time solely on converting the film to 3-D, and they hope fans will be so dazzled by the effects that they'll forgive the nine-month wait.