By and large, no one liked G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra very much, and so you can’t blame Paramount for thinking it was a good idea to craft a sequel with as few faces as possible from the original movie. And when that sequel was set in motion last year, no one would have known that thanks to Haywire, 21 Jump Street and The Vow, audiences would warm to and quickly want a lot more of Channing Tatum. The actor could have just as easily hit summer 2012 as the new Ryan Reynolds.

But things worked out so that Tatum’s popularity is at an all-time high, and Paramount has G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which… well, he’s not in the movie very much. Oops.

So while the reports of a release date delay for Retaliation were oriented around the fact that the film would be converted to 3D, the real factor may be that those reshoots we mentioned recently will actually be done to keep Tatum in the movie a lot longer.

Deadline says that test screenings for G.I. Joe: Retaliation didn’t go well, and that “the only bright spot for audiences as a result of the G.I. Joe 2 testing was the aborted relationship between Tatum and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.” The relationship is aborted (spoiler that everyone should have known already) because the sequel kills him off in the first act. Why do you think he’s not on the poster, or in the trailer after the opening moments?

And so expect those reported reshoots to involve Tatum in a big way. Thank Cthulu for contracts, one has to figure Paramount execs are thinking, as the movie is restructured somewhat to bring him back into the fold. Reportedly director Jon M. Chu has been kept only partially involved in this decision-making process, so it will be interesting to see if he directs the reshoots.

The March 2013 release date will still probably be better for Paramount, especially as the original date had Retaliation competing with Steven Soderbergh’s ‘male stripper movie’ Magic Mike. That also stars Tatum, but it has him in a role that a big segment of the new Tatum fanbase is going to be much more interested in seeing than whatever he’ll end up doing in Retaliation.

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