We were really starting to get excited about GI Joe Retaliation. That’s why we were so disappointed when they dropped the hammer and pushed it back from June of this year until March of 2013. It seemed like a weird move at the time. I mean… all the toys are out and everything. Now they are pushing it back by a year to add 3D? Well.. turns out that there is a lot more to the story.

Before you continue, be warned, a big part of this involves a major spoiler from the film.

Thanks to the intrepid reporting of Deadline Hollywood, we now know that there was another big problem beyond the 3D issue. They killed off one of the biggest stars near the beginning of the film! This caused some pretty big problems in test screenings. It was Channing Tatum’s character that they killed and it turns out that the favorite part of the movie was the relationship between Tatum’s and The Rock’s characters. In the first cut of the film, this barely has any chance to develop. Also, Tatum is now a huge star compared to when the first film came out and he’s got a major film coming out this summer in “Magic Mike.”

Here’s what insiders told Deadline:
“This was a case of letting a schedule to fill a summer slot dictate the film not being in 3D even though we knew that would be the most commercial version of the film. Then in the spring there were 2 big events. First John Carter lost $200M despite the best efforts of the Pixar brain trust. But the 3D film managed to gross over $200M overseas, nearly tripling its U.S. take.

“Also Channing Tatum had a breakout spring, starring in The Vow and 21 Jump Street. In our first screening of the film the reaction from audiences was good but with 2 big concerns: 1) They didn’t like the fact that Channing and The Rock really didn’t have any time to develop a friendship before Channing died, and 2) Why wasn’t it going to be in 3D? We went back and shot another week with Channing to develop more of his story with The Rock, which made the film play much better. But we didn’t have the time to be in 3D.

“Then a week ago Battleship basically had the same performance as John Carter – $60M-$70M U.S. and just over $200M international. That was just a wake-up call that said to us we need to offer the best version of the film irrespective of summer market share to ensure the best possible performance. And not being in 3D will cost us a ton of business internationally.”

“Several 3D houses had already approached us about doing the film in 3D. This move gives us the time to do it right. We are having conversations with Stereo D and Prime Focus about doing the 3D work for a reduced fee in exchange for a piece of 3D upside. Also, interest rates are very low right now. So 9 months does not have a huge impact on budget. It should stay under $130M.”

Source: Deadline