G.I. Joe, Micronauts, D&D. Get ready for the Cinematic Toypocalypse of 2020 and 2021.
On Monday afternoon, Paramount Pictures made an announcement of their long-term blockbuster plans. It looks like a bunch of toy and game adaptations will make their way to the big screen in the next few years, hopefully kickstarting or continuing certain franchises for the studio.
According to the announcement, the G.I. Joe series will finally have a third installment, which is due for release on March 27, 2020. Several years passed between the release of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation, possibly due to the mixed critical and audience reception that the first film received. While Retaliation did poorly with critics, it was still a box office success. The movie adaptations of the Hasbro toy managed to land Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson as lead actors in the original and sequel films respectively, so there’s a distinct possibility that more big names would sign up for the third movie.
Micronauts, a feature film adaptation of the line of toys by Mego (based on action figures conceptualized by Takara), will be out in cinemas October 16, 2020. Paramount first expressed interest in creating a Hasbro-based cinematic universe in 2015, which would have included Micronauts interacting with characters from the G.I. Joe, Visionaries, M.A.S.K., and ROM brands. In the vein of the MCU or DCEU, it is now likely that both the third G.I. Joe film and the Micronauts feature debut will attempt to introduce the characters into an interconnected web.
Also announced is a new movie version of the popular role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, which will fly into cinemas on July 23, 2021. A D&D film was originally planned out at Warner Bros and would have apparently starred Ansel Elgort, although by now, those talks have fallen through completely. No other information about Paramount’s adaptation is available at the moment. Lastly, an untitled Hasbro film will debut on October 1, 2021.
These are some very specific dates for what feels like more tepid franchise potential. Obviously, those G.I. Joe numbers don’t lie; people enjoy the explosions and shenanigans of these action-adventure romps. Shutting off when going to the movies is fair game. But the chances of games or toys (that aren’t Transformers) making it past a first movie are getting slimmer, considering the sheer amount of competition out there.
As we head into 2018, blockbusters can’t just be overly simple two-hour wishful journeys. Quality control is extra important, given how many of these movies exist nowadays and how they have to appeal to audiences looking for a deep storyline as much as they do for those wanting escapist fare. On the flipside, forced depth in even narratives about superheroes will definitely be detrimental to certain blockbusters – just ask the people behind most of the DCEU’s movies.
These types of film are also getting increasingly lengthy, and viewers do have to pick and choose which movies to see over a weekend if they can’t afford to take more than 3 hours off in a day (if they’re even so lucky). However, at this point, there are no movies planned to compete with any of the four that Paramount has announced, which is a good sign for the studio.
Considering how far in advance Marvel and DC plan their franchises, four upcoming movies from Paramount is a rather modest offering. And that’s not a totally bad thing. With a slate at least a couple of years away, having the time to hopefully perfect these potential franchise films could be the key difference between them flopping or doing okay.