G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra rumours
Wow, after writing about the anonymous comments made on the Transformers Producers board about Stephen Sommers leaving the film and the alleged "worst test screening performance ever" there's been a rash of differing stories about what's really going on, all claiming that their source or their insider is the one with the right information.
Well I don't have a friend who makes the coffee for the boardroom, or cleans the floors in the corridors outside the key offices, so I'm just reading the stories like you. However let's pull them together and see what the pattern is, if there is any.
Before we get into this, if you haven't caught up to speed then the answer is to quickly head to the original story and read through that. It's worth it because I look at the claims logically and spell out the fact that an anonymous source posts on the fan boards of the Transformers producer claiming that another major U.S. franchise film due out soon is falling apart. Hmmm.
The first comeback story comes from Hollywood Elsewhere who has their source saying that Stephen Sommers was given total freedom to make the film and that he "melted down" and made "the biggest bomb in many a moon". In fact the story goes as far to say that some people are looking to jump ship from the project as we type and read because they're seriously scared that they could be made scapegoats and this project will really harm their careers.
Sounds all nice and dramatic doesn't it? Just what the internet needs.
Movieline comes in with another from one of their sources, it seems that they are saying Stephen Sommers is not off the project, he's still there and working on it. Test screenings were poor but not terrible and the studio wasn't as manically angry as the other stories suggest, "dissatisfied" is the word that is used.
There's tension between the studio and the director, but a lot of it has been resolved and they are working on a better cut as we speak. Executives don't think it's going to be the best film, but think it will do much better than everyone is currently expecting. Or maybe that's damage control.
Another G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra story appears over at FirstShowing and has their source (how many are there?!) telling them something a little different. Paramount called them after the story ran on their site and told them it was all untrue, no, really?
Finally there's an update on Latino Review who actually managed to get a source with a name, and one of them from the story itself, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, the producer that the story claims had been sacked along with Stephen Sommers. He doesn't quite have the same story either.
"It's very unfair to Steve, it's completely untrue he was never asked to leave or been fired or any of that. That's ridiculous. The movie tested very well...
...He did a very good job the movie tested well and it couldn't be more false that the studio in anyway did anything negatively to Steve."
They then asked him, rather pointedly and well done to them, what actually happened in that editing room, and he came back with:
"Nothing that doesn't happen on every other movie, which is that you constantly work and work and work and you make it better and better. We had a delay on visual effects so we waited a long time to finish the movie but that's the only thing. I don't really know why that would be interpreting it negatively but I guess it was."
Okay, so what about the test screening, or rather screenings, how did they go? Well get a couple of roses and tie them in front of your eyes with a big elastic band.
"Everybody was happy, the studio was happy, the filmmakers were happy, the audience was happy with the movie. We had three test screenings, three different times and tested it and each time it just got better and better. We started off in a good place and we ended up in even in a better place, which is what you hope on a film from testing it."
Okay, while I can't claim to know either side of the story this is a polar opposite from the rest of the stories and sources, but at least this is one of the guys in the know.
What the studio should do to counter these issues is get a community manager on the payroll and get them building a social media presence for the company so that as soon as something like this comes out they can go to Sommers and Di Boaventura and get their side of the story out there (if it's untrue), or even spin it a little. Get some footage from the test screening audience, get comments and interviews from them online, there's so much could be done to counter this kind of publicity.
However maybe they don't want to, or maybe they can't, or maybe they don't want to give me a job doing it!
Seriously though, it's really hard to believe anyone right now on this G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra story, especially when everyone has a source. Latino Review have come the closest so far, and I'm still rather sceptical when it comes to that original unnamed Transformers fan source.
Until the man speaks or the film speaks for itself, I don't think this rumour is going anywhere. I still stick to my guns though, in America the G.I. Joe adaptation needs to be literal and outside of America I just don't know if it's going to work anyway, problems or not. Now it seems that everyone will have their explanation if the film fails, truth or not, and it won't be down to world politics and perception of America, or the saturation of G.I. Joe outside of his homeland.