The biggest news in movies this past week surrounded the G.I. Joe movie, which is being scripted at the moment by Stuart Beattie to be directed by Stephen Sommers. Here is the reason, from a Fox News story:

Paramount has confirmed that in the movie, the name G.I. Joe will become an acronym for “Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity” — an international, coed task force charged with defeating bad guys. It will no longer stand for “government issued,” as in issued by the American government.

What this means immediately without question is money. Not politics. A movie has to appeal to an international audience to make money. If a studio is going to sink upwards of $100 million into a movie they had better do everything can to ensure those dollars make their way back and then some.

Here’s a chart of the all time worldwide box office numbers. You’ll notice that to be successful you need around 50% of the dollars to come from overseas. Maybe they’re boring financial numbers, but at least they’re factual representations behind the reason to appeal internationally.

Meaning Paramount isn’t going to sandbag their movie before it’s even been filmed by appealing only to an American crowd. Simple business really. Something conservatives and Fox News should appreciate.

The “expert task force” that is Fox News stumbled on this change and decided to position themselves in the middle of a shit storm of political outrage over G.I. Joe. Time to get some real journalism done. I guess my old pal Roger Friedman is too busy kvetching about Britney Spears to weigh in on the subject, so they brought in Catherine Donaldson-Evans and Greg Gutfeld to denounce Hollywood and all that it stands for. It wouldn’t be the news without jumping to conclusions with zero factual evidence, right? And with eloquently worded phrases like “cowardly ass-hats.”

By the way, the reason there isn’t any evidence of a political angle (just “the word is” as they put it) is because the script isn’t done. They hired a writer a week ago. Apparently knowing is half the battle.

Their argument is that this is yet another instance of a liberal Hollywood, its politicall correctness, and it is “the last spit in the face of our military.” Fox News being conservative? Wow, that is shocking. This is just another reason for Fox and ignorant Republicans to wave the American flag and shout the battle cry of “support the troops!” The toys were basically a propaganda piece, why not the movie?

Maybe because the U.S. military is not the only group fighting terrorism. What’s wrong with incorporating other countries into a group of heroes fighting against a worldwide terrorist force? Sounds like what’s actually happening overseas. Besides, it says right there in their own article that the studio had approached the military for input. Probably just to spit in their faces.

This lead to a myriad of blogs, sites, and podcasts discussing the topic in depth like they weren’t vigorously debating the minor alteration from a series of dolls for boys. (So I’m aware this is a ridiculous thing to post about. I also acknowledge that “Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity” might be the worst acronym I’ve ever heard). I even read a comment where a guy cried about his “ruined childhood.” Get a hold of yourself.

No one complained that they were switching from cartoon to live action. No one expressed their outrage when they decided to cast actors rather than stop motion animation with their beloved toys. Significant change, no doubt. But no outrage.

There are even groups forming to create an online petition (because those have worked so well in the past). Good, sign your petition. Boycott the movie. Do whatever you have to do. Because that will mean about fifty less people that will proclaim it is brilliant film making and “the best movie of the summer” like they did Transformers (which made over 50% of its gross in foreign markets).

I’ll go ahead and wrap this up with a comparison to Transformers, since I brought it up. Clearly I wasn’t a fan. But I have to acknowledge Gutfeld’s bold and false (also shocking) claim that “Hollywood will only make movies about the military if the military loses.” Maybe he didn’t see Transformers, which was produced by the exact same company that is making G.I. Joe. The military wins. Sure, they’re helped by giant f-ing robots and a teenage kid, but that’s what makes it a movie. It’s called fiction. Just like G.I. Joe.

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