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Wednesday, August 22, 2007 

GI Joe: Too patriotic for Paramount?

Uh oh, I suppose it was going to come to this. According to Advertising Age (via Hot Air and Weaselzippers), Paramount and Hasbro seem to have a problem with marketing a movie adaptation to a global audience because overseas moviegoers allegedly have a problem with the US military:

GI Joe is a real American hero -- and that might be a bit of problem for both Paramount Pictures and Hasbro.

Their relationship would appear to be on extremely solid footing: Paramount and Hasbro are both riding high this summer, enjoying the $633 million global box-office haul of the toy maker's smash hit, "Transformers." But now, efforts to turn Hasbro's GI Joe into a motion picture are proving particularly fraught.

Deciding whether to make "GI Joe" at all, let alone how to market it, is nettlesome thanks in large measure to an unpopular American president defending an unpopular war: In a July USA Today/Gallup poll, a record high of 62% respondents had called the invasion of Iraq "a mistake."A month later, that view is 57%, more or less where it's been for over a year.

Overseas, the view is even more dire. "Not only is there worldwide support for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but there also is considerable opposition to U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan," the Pew Global Attitudes Project found in June. So the prospect of sending more soldiers -- albeit celluloid ones -- is a complicated task at best. "There are always challenges," said Brian Goldner, Hasbro's chief operating officer. "GI Joe is not just a brand that represents the military; it also represents great characters."
Good gosh, they really buy into all that MSM propaganda, do they? And I thought this movie was going to feature the franchise heroes who were popularized during the 1980s, an elite commando squad that fought against the evil forces of Cobra, which Goldner does hint at.

They really seem intent here on attacking the war in Iraq and pandering to moonbats, it would seem. Somehow, I have a hard time believing that France, for example, after it voted for Nicholas Sarkozy, would really have a problem with a patriotic movie or even one that upholds the US military. And considering that terrorism is seen in several parts of Europe as a serious problem today, I find it additionally hard to believe that anyone there would have a problem with a movie where the heroes fight terrorism.

There are two competing scripts in development at Paramount. The latest comes from screenwriter Skip Woods, best known for writing the thriller "Swordfish," the other, from the team of David Elliot and Paul Lovett, who last penned Paramount's sleeper action hit "Four Brothers," which Mr. di Bonaventura also produced.

Mr. Elliot and Mr. Lovett's script is said to be evocative of the less-overtly militaristic version of GI Joe. A person familiar with both scripts describing theirs as "sort of an 'X-men' meets 'Mission: Impossible' -- like GI Joe force."

No decisions made
Mr. Woods' script is more akin to GI Joe circa 1997, when Hasbro's Classic Collection featured more realistic military hardware and weaponry and a more patriotic theme -- and presumably, therefore, a more problematic marketing plan. It's said to include a character called "Action Man," a nod to the title GI Joe used in overseas markets. Mr. Goldner said the film might be marketed as GI Joe in the States and Action Man overseas but no decisions has been made.
I thought that was "Action Force"? From what I can recall, that was the title under which GI Joe was marketed in various overseas countries (it may have been used here too). Regardless, if what the script by David Elliot and Paul Lovett does is turn the Joes into superpowered beings, that just doesn't fit the bill. It is Skip Woods' script that should be used, and without studio interference.

It seems that Paramount has gone all squishy on this because the overseas market matters more than their own country. I think that's just plain stupid, and knowing that GI Joe does have a loyal following of fans out there who may not take kindly to this, that's why Paramount should consider.

A protest by Joe fans is what's needed now.

Update: yep, Joe fans certainly are steamed with good reason:

For the last several months, G.I. Joe fans have been voicing their concerns and outrage online over rumors that Paramount may make drastic changes to the franchise when they bring it to the silver screen as a live-action tentpole release. A new report recounting the political and marketing challenges facing a G.I. Joe movie will likely do little to quell their fears.
You can say that again.

Update 2: well, I guess that was to be expected. They've decided to make the name sound like some "global" outfit in Brussels that goes after Scottish arms dealers?!?!? Clearly, another great concept is being ruined for the sake of PC-dom. Joe fans should make it clear that they're not buying into this crap.

Update 3: for all who'd like to lodge their complaints with Hasbro, go to this page and look for the "email us" tab at the top. They should be told we disapprove of their approval of tampering with grand franchises like this. More on this at Wizbang.

Trackposted to: Dumb Ox Daily News, Inside the Northwest Territory, Nuke's News & Views, Rosemary's Thoughts, Stuck on Stupid.

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