Paramount and Hasbro want to do something with the G.I. Joe franchise, they just can’t seem to figure out what it is. The initial thought was that the studio and the toy company teaming up to create action-packed blockbusters would replicate the massive box office success of Michael Bay’s Transformers, but it hasn’t exactly gone to plan.
Stephen Sommers’ The Rise of Cobra was essentially a live-action Team America without a hint of the irony, one that was largely panned by critics and just about scraped past the $300 million mark in theaters, which isn’t great when you consider the $175 million budget. Recruiting self-proclaimed Franchise Viagra Dwayne Johnson was a smart move, though, with Jon M. Chu’s Retaliation making almost $75 million more and costing less for good measure.
Reviews were just as lukewarm, though, and the profit margins still weren’t anywhere close to what the studio was hoping to see, with many labelling it a flop. It is a big, loud, dumb action movie, however, so there’s at least some late night or weekend entertainment to be found, which probably explains why Retaliation has rocketed up the Netflix most-watched list, having recently cracked the Top 20.
A sequel was floated as a possibility, and the nonsensically-titled Ever Vigilant is still technically in development, but prequel spinoff Snake Eyes arrives later this year, while a streaming series focusing on Lady Jaye was announced last week. Whether audiences asked for it or not, there’s plenty more G.I. Joe content on the horizon, then, and maybe one of the two upcoming projects will finally turn the property into the money-spinner that the higher-ups are desperate to see it become. But one more flop and it could be the end of the line for the elite military unit.