Hasbro is hoping to appeal to a new generation of potential fans with a reboot of its toy line turned live action film franchise, GI Joe, that is said to be taking a “more millennial approach.”
Now, despite what it sounds like, a “more millennial approach” does not mean that the Joe team will all suddenly sprout ridiculous handle-bar mustaches and dress as if they were the second assistant fiddle technician on a Mumford & Sons world tour.
The LA Times quotes Hasbro Studios exec Simon Waters as explaining –
The world has changed, and I think you’re going to see G.I. Joe changing with it. There’s going to be a much more contemporary approach to the whole franchise, and that will allow us to develop different characters. We hope to create a head snap. It’s a different kind of ‘Joe’ — one that still resonates with ‘Joe’ fans but brings in an uninitiated audience and expands the audience internationally and domestically.
By “head snap,” Waters is referring to the company’s plans to have films based on a number of their different toy lines intersect into a giant shared cinematic universe. The newly minted studio arm of the toy manufacturer is hoping that it can integrate films featuring their ROM, Micronauts, Visionaries and M.A.S.K. toys and replicate the success that Marvel Sudios has had with their cinematic universe of superhero films.
Although they were not critically well received, the two GI Joe films – 2009’s The Rise Of Cobra and 2013’s Retaliation – did manage to turn at least a small profit. But in comparison to the money that has been made by the Michael Bay-directed Transformers films, also based on a Hasbro toy line, GI Joe‘s profits have been small potatoes.
Interest in the film franchise always struck me as something fueled by nostalgia among those who first saw the cartoon series in 1980s more so than any ongoing multi-generational appeal. Beyond that original audience, I don’t think that the show traveled to the next group of kids growing up. Sure there were occasional new lines of action figures introduced and attempts at bring the cartoon series back to television, GI Joe never seemed mainstream enough to warrant a big budget feature film treatment.
While the wording of the direction may cause old school GI Joe fans to cringe – I did and I’m not even much of a fan of the franchise – it certainly is a solid business move to make. Of course, the success of it all will lie in its execution, and for that we have nothing to judge against.