On a day when a fake Thundercats trailer is being warmly accepted by seemingly all of the Internet, the suits over at Paramount have a considerable problem on their hands with a very real trailer for a very expensive nostalgia trip. And just like most problems these days, it all began with a meddling blogger. You see, a few weeks back, a blogger over at Nuke the Fridge happened to see a “test screening” for the first teaser trailer for Paramount’s big summer tent pole, G.I. Joe (yes, you read that right, studios most definitely conduct focus groups to see how their trailers are going to play). And like any other enterprising blogger, he posted the largely negative review of the teaser including specific details and shots on his site. As you might expect, that’s when the legal eagles at Paramount issued Nuke the Fridge with a cease-and-desist.
After Nuke the Fridge briefly tucked its tail between its legs by pulling the post down, the site received some legal advice regarding their rights and put the offending post back online. While this is neither the first nor the last time that studios have taken to bullying bloggers in attempt to stifle bad buzz, this incident does speak volumes about the studio’s confidence in this potential franchise. Helmed by the renowned hack Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, Van Helsing), Paramount already worked to temper expectations on the reported $170 million film by deciding to launch it in August (rather than the more fertile grounds of May or July). This led respected film blog the Playlist to ask if it is “safe to certify ‘GI Joe’ as the first flop of the summer.”
While we don’t have the answer to that question at the moment, by the time the Super Bowl rolls around on February 1, we’ll know for sure what the studio really thinks. If they pony up the $3 million or so it costs for a :30 spot, that’ll be a good indication that they have some confidence in the film. However, if they decide to go the route that Fox did last year when they didn’t run a trailer for The Happening during the Super Bowl, we’ll know that Viacom was hesitant to throw good money after bad.