'John Carter' flop scares studios

MICHAEL RECHTSHAFFEN, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:35 PM ET

Thanks a heap, John Carter!

Damn you and your torpedoes, Battleship!

That grumbling you hear is coming from production offices all over town that are being affected by the fallout from several underperforming big budget releases.

Here in risk-averse Hollywood, all it takes are a couple of pricey misfires to have movie studio chiefs running scared.

In some cases, that means playing hopscotch with your release schedule; in others it means scrapping green-lit productions altogether.

Where G.I. Joe: Retaliation was concerned, the original plan was for the sequel to 2009's $302 million-grossing Rise of the Cobra to land in theatres June 29.

But late last month, when Paramount abruptly announced that it was bumping the movie (with an estimated $125 million budget) back to the spring of 2013, many an eyebrow was raised.

The studio's official explanation for the last-minute switcheroo was that it needed more time to convert the movie to 3D, but the town skeptics contend it's more about the fear factor -- as in the fear of spiders and the fear of water.

With the arrival of the eagerly-anticipated The Amazing Spider-Man reboot taking place a mere four days after G.I. Joe, there would be understandable concern that Retaliation would be unable to retaliate.

As for that 3D conversion, the extra sprucing-up time would appear to be addressing the disappointing North American results for Battleship, another sizable action movie based on a Hasbro game, for which the competition (Universal) took a big hit.

At least G.I. Joe is still on the roster, unlike Order of the Seven, a big-budget period action movie set in Asia that was to star Saoirse (Hanna, The Lovely Bones) Ronan.

Originally envisioned as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with kung-fu, the storyline ultimately moved further away from those fairytale trappings, no doubt to distance itself from Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman.

Plans were to start production later this summer, until Disney suddenly pulled the plug, evidently still smarting over John Carter's costly Mars misadventure.

Party poopers.

 


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