No go on ‘G.I. Joe’: Paramount won’t screen action flick for critics


It’s the biggest movie of the summer that practically no one has seen.

“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” opens Friday, but Paramount Pictures isn’t screening the blockbuster for critics beforehand.

Only a select few writers from blogs and movie Web sites have seen it for review — such as Harry Knowles, the self-professed “Head Geek” from Ain’t It Cool News — and their opinions have been mostly positive.

Instead, the studio says it’s intentionally aiming the movie at the heartland, at cities and audiences outside the entertainment vortexes of New York and Los Angeles.

Paramount held a screening Friday for 1,000 military service members and their families at Andrews Air Force Base; it’s also focusing marketing efforts in places like Kansas City, Charlotte, N.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

While appealing to a sense of patriotism nationwide, the plan also is inspired by the disparity that existed between the critical trashing “Transformers: Rise of the Fallen” received and the massive crowds it drew at the box office.

“‘G.I. Joe’ is a big, fun, summer event movie — one that we’ve seen audiences enjoy everywhere from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to Phoenix, Ariz.,” said Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures. “After the chasm we experienced with ‘Transformers 2’ between the response of audiences and critics, we chose to forgo opening-day print and broadcast reviews as a strategy to promote ‘G.I. Joe.’

“We want audiences to define this film.”

With a reported production budget of $175 million and a cast that includes Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, Marlon Wayans and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “G.I. Joe” follows the adventures of an elite team using high-tech spy and military equipment to take down a corrupt arms dealer. It comes from director Stephen Sommers, whose previous films include “The Mummy” and “Van Helsing.”

Long before anyone saw the completed product, though, “G.I. Joe” drew mixed buzz at best for its trailer, which premiered during the Super Bowl. Now it’s the final action picture of the summer — and it has a lot in common with the highest-grossing film so far this year, the “Transformers” sequel.

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