Before Stranger Things made it cool, 2007's Transformers and 2009's G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, were turning '80s nostalgia into box office cash. 2013's G.I. Joe: Retaliation, earned $375 million worldwide, but there hasn't been a lot of movement on a sequel. As a result, there have been a lot of questions about if and how the G.I. Joe franchise will continue. While we still await the answers to some of those questions, we at least now know that G.I. Joe will soldier on and fight the good fight on the big screen once again. Paramount has confirmed that the third G.I. Joe film will hit theaters on March 27, 2020.
The G.I. Joe franchise never received glowing critical reviews, but it did find success at the box office. While never on the level of fellow Hasbro property, Transformers, the movies made money. So it has been strange that it has taken this long for Hasbro and Paramount to return and mine that claim. For some time, the rumored reason was that Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. Franchise Viagra, was holding up movement on the film due to his insanely busy schedule. More recently, it appears that Hasbro Studios and Paramount are going to entirely reboot the G.I. Joe franchise with the hopes of a more contemporary approach that would expand the audience. Currently we don't know if the third film in the franchise will officially rework the characters or the storyline, or will pick up where the last movie left off. At least with this announcement, we won't have to wait long to find out.
For some time there has been the belief that G.I. Joe would become a part of a greater cinematic toy universe, with even Dwayne Johnson championing the idea. If this were to be the case, hopefully the studio takes more care and planning than Universal did with their Dark Universe. A reboot makes sense for the G.I. Joe franchise. The brand still has name value, but the previous films were creatively lacking. As the declining domestic receipts for the Transformers franchise have shown, spectacle is no longer enough to dominate the box office in the way it used to be; quality matters now. A clean slate for G.I. Joe could be just what it needs to give Paramount the powerful franchise it so desires.
The belief that Paramount would try a "millennial approach" for the reboot is a thorny one. Appealing to younger audiences is great, but the group that has the most fondness and nostalgia for G.I. Joe grew up in the '80s, so they are on the older end of that millennial definition. As Jem and the Holograms found out, when your brand has no name recognition among the younger demographic, and you entirely alienate older fans who love the property, you are making a movie for no one.
This confirmation of a third G.I. Joe film, as reported by Deadline, is accompanied by the announcement of three other Paramount event films. Fellow toy to film adaptation Micronauts arrives in theaters on October 16, 2020 and Paramount has also scheduled an untitled Hasbro film for October 1, 2021. Thanks to Game of Thrones, fantasy is back in vogue now and everyone is trying to find the next magical property. For some, this means just redoing what worked before, and for Paramount, it means giving it a go with an adaptation of the game the Stranger Things kids play, Dungeons & Dragons. The role-playing game probably has more cultural cachet than it has in a long time, and while fantasy is dominating television, the cinematic side of things is ripe for a great fantasy tale. Dungeons & Dragons arrives in theaters on July 23, 2021.
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