Now you know Joe – the case against 3D and why GI Joe Retaliation’s delay doesn’t matter

That headline probably works best if said while imitating The Rock…

G.I. Joe — Hasbro’s Real American Hero — is switching its red, white and blue motif for the sake of a little more green.

Looking to cash in on the latest trend, Paramount Pictures decided to delay the film’s planned release date of June 29 to March 29, 2013 in order to add in 3D post-production. I’ve suffered through many films trying to kill the golden goose James Cameron unleashed in 2009 when Avatar became the highest grossing film and very few of them are worth the costs to see in 3D.

While Cameron actually took the time to film the movie for 3D and investing in making a engrossing experience for audiences, most studios prefer the less involved approach of tacking on 3D after the fact and hoping audiences will be suckered out of their money thinking they’ll get an Avatar-like presentation. But clearly, not all 3D films are created equal.

I loved Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor and Marvel’s The Avengers. All three films added 3D post-production. You could argue that it worked for Marvel Studios as the films are#167, #120 and #4 respectively on the worldwide highest grossing list. I’d simply contend that if you make a good movie, the format doesn’t matter.

One Paramount exec said 3D ‘can better box office internationally,’ going as far as to cite Cameron’s success with the 3D-post production of Titanic. Cameron spent $18 million on the 3D post-production, but it really wasn’t that risky a gamble since the movie was already the second highest grossing movie so far.

A better comparison would be the 2010 Clash of the Titans and its 2012 sequel Wrath of the Titans. Clash featured awful post-production 3D, yet earned $491 million worldwide and the #98 spot on the highest grossing list. While a better movie and much better post production 3D work, the sequel only managed $298 million worldwide and the #259 spot on the highest grossing list.

Paramount’s original foray into the G.I. Joe movie-verse was the immensely disappointing 2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, which grossed $300 million worldwide off a $175 million budget. Like Wrath, it seemed like the sequel would be a marked improvement over its predecessor, backed by having Dwayne The Rock Johnson and Bruce Willis headline this new update. In case you somehow missed Paramount’s massive advertising campaign, here’s the full-lenth trailer, which actually looked like a live-action version of G.I. Joe and not the vague action movie that was ROC.

Simply making a better movie would have been far more effective than adding on 3D if you look at the worldwide highest grossing list. Of the Top 50, only 11 were in 3D. That includes Titanic, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and The Lion King, which were already on the list in their original non-3D incarnations.

Seven of those [Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows, part 2, Marvel’s The Avengers, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Toy Story 3, Phantom Menace, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Kung Fu Panda 2] were sequels or continuations to already popular franchises that were in the top 150. For every Toy Story 3, there’s dozens more Mega Mind, Yogi Bear and Smurfs that failed to make a real box office impact despite being able to charge more for 3D.

So in these next nine months, since they have some time to kill, don’t be too surprised to hear Johnson, Willis and the rest of the Cobra-stomping gang doing some re-shoots in order to make this G.I. Joe a real box office hero.

More Like This