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JUL
27
3 YEARS

'G.I. Joe 2' Moving Release Date Up to June 29, 2012

Paramount has shifted the action sequel into the summer slot once set aside for the next "Star Trek" film.

Jon M. Chu
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures
Director Jon M. Chu

J.J. Abrams is a very busy guy. And it's been obvious for a while now that if he chooses to direct Paramount's Star Trek sequel, it would be foolhardy to try and have it ready by its scheduled June 29, 2012 release date. Iron Man 2, also from Paramount (and Marvel), was rushed into its early May 2010 opening and its quality suffered as a result (if not its box office) because the script was still being written during filming.

As the likelihood of the Trek sequel not being ready has increased, studio execs have been considering the idea of moving the G.I. Joe sequel up into its slot. It looks like that is now happening, though it means that director Jon M. Chu and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura will have to crunch post-production. The Joe sequel was originally scheduled for August 10, 2012, essentially the same weekend that the first film opened in 2009. It ultimately grossed just $301 million worldwide, not nearly as bountiful a haul as its budget and marketing required. The earlier summer slot could raise the sequel's profile in a way that would beef up its gross and extend the franchise.

STORY: 'Justin Bieber' Director Jon Chu Lands 'G.I. Joe 2' Gig

But that June 29 weekend -- essentially the kick-off to the Independence Day window -- includes major competition in the form of Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man. Fans are very curious about director Marc Webb's reboot of the franchise, which got a hefty push this past weekend at Comic-Con, and that appeal will undoubtedly cut into Joe's audience. Especially since the high school-set Spidey story will skew younger.

Meanwhile, Abrams remains uncommitted to directing the Trek film, though he is diving into screenplay development in his producer capacity now that his Super 8 has run its course ($175 million worldwide). The tentative plan now is to have the script, which is being written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof, in strong shape to begin shooting by the end of the year at the earliest. This extra time also allows Abrams, who tends to be very deliberate in his feature-helming decisions, to live with the material in a focused enough way to convince him to direct.

Or so the studio surely hopes.