G.I. Joe (film series)

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G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe franchise logo.png
The official G.I. Joe Hasbro toy line logo, which is also used for the film releases.
Directed byStephen Sommers (1)
Jon M. Chu (2)
D.J. Caruso (3)
Robert Schwentke (Snake Eyes)
Produced byLorenzo di Bonaventura
Brian Goldner
Bob Ducsay (1)
Screenplay bySee below
Based onG.I. Joe
by Hasbro
StarringSee below
Distributed byParamount Pictures(2009-present)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (2013-2020)
Release date
CountryUnited States
Budget$305 million
Box office$678,209,722

G.I. Joe is a military science fiction action film series, based on Hasbro's G.I. Joe toy, comic and media franchises. Development for the first film began in 2003, but when the United States launched the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Hasbro suggested adapting the Transformers instead. In 2009, the first film was released under the title, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. A second film, G.I. Joe: Retaliation was released in 2013. A third film titled G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant has been confirmed to be on development, with a spin-off film centered around Snake Eyes also in early development to be released on 2020.

A crossover with the Transformers franchise is being developed,[1][2] with the G.I. Joe films intended to be connected to other Hasbro films in a shared cinematic universe.[3]


The Rise of Cobra

For the first film, in 1994, Larry Kasanoff and his production company, Threshold Entertainment, held the rights to do a live-action G.I. Joe film with Warner Bros. as the distributor. Instead they chose to concentrate their efforts on their Mortal Kombat films. As late as 1999, there had been rumors that a film from Threshold Entertainment was still a possibility, but that project never panned out.

In 2003, Lorenzo di Bonaventura was interested in making a film about advanced military technology; Hasbro's Brian Goldner called him and suggested to base the film on the G.I. Joe toy line.[4] Goldner and Bonaventura worked together before, creating toy lines for films Bonaventura produced as CEO of Warner Bros. Goldner and Bonaventura spent three months working out a story, and chose Michael B. Gordon as screenwriter, because they liked his script for 300.[5] Bonaventura wanted to depict the origin story of certain characters, and introduced the new character of Rex, to allow an exploration of Duke.[6] Rex's name came from Hasbro.[7] Beforehand, Don Murphy was interested in filming the property, but when the Iraq War broke out, he considered the subject matter inappropriate, and chose to develop Transformers (another Hasbro toy line) instead.[8] Bonaventura felt, "What [the Joes] stand for, and what Duke stands for specifically in the movie, is something that I'd like to think a worldwide audience might connect with."[6]

By February 2005, Paul Lovett and David Elliot, who wrote Bonaventura's Four Brothers, were rewriting Gordon's draft.[9] In their script, the Rex character is corrupted and mutated into the Cobra Commander, whom Destro needs to lead an army of supersoldiers.[10] Skip Woods was rewriting the script by March 2007, and he added the Alex Mann character from the British Action Man toy line. Bonaventura explained, "Unfortunately, our president has put us in a position internationally where it would be very difficult to release a movie called G.I. Joe. To add one character to the mix is sort of a fun thing to do."[11] The script was leaked online by El Mayimbe of Latino Review, who revealed Woods had dropped the Cobra Organization in favor of the Naja / Ryan, a crooked CIA agent. In this draft, Scarlett is married to Action Man but still has feelings for Duke, and is killed by the Baroness. Snake Eyes speaks, but his vocal cords are slashed during the story, rendering him mute. Mayimbe suggested Stuart Beattie rewrite the script.[12] Fan response to the film following the script review was negative. Bonaventura promised with subsequent rewrites, "I'm hoping we're going to get it right this time."[13] He admitted he had problems with Cobra, concurring with an interviewer "they were probably the stupidest evil organization out there [as depicted in the cartoon]".[11] Hasbro promised they would write Cobra back into the script.[14]

In August 2007, Paramount Pictures hired Stephen Sommers to direct the film after his presentation to CEO Brad Grey and production prexy Brad Weston was well received.[15] Sommers had been inspired to explore the G.I. Joe universe after visiting Hasbro's headquarters in Rhode Island.[16] The project had found the momentum based on the success of Transformers, which Bonaventura produced with Murphy.[15] Sommers partly signed on to direct because the concept reminded him of James Bond, and he described an underwater battle in the story as a tribute to Thunderball.[17] Stuart Beattie was hired to write a new script for Sommers' film,[18] and G.I. Joe comic and filecard writer Larry Hama was hired as creative consultant. Hama helped them change story elements that fans would have disliked and made it closer to the comics, ultimately deciding fans would enjoy the script.[19] He persuaded them to drop a comic scene at the film's end, where Snake Eyes speaks.[20] To speed up production before the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, John Lee Hancock, Brian Koppelman and David Levien also assisted in writing various scenes.[21] Goldner said their inspiration was generally Hama's comics and not the cartoon.[22] Sommers said had it not been for the rich backstory in the franchise, the film would have fallen behind schedule because of the strike.[23]

After Variety had reported that G.I. Joe became a Brussels-based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity,[24] there were reports of outrages over Paramount's alleged attempt to change the origin of G.I. Joe Team.[25] Hasbro responded in its G.I. Joe site claiming it was not changing what the G.I. Joe brand is about, and the name "G.I. Joe" will always be synonymous with bravery and heroism. Instead, it would be a modern telling of the "G.I. Joe vs. Cobra" storyline, based out of the "Pit" as they were throughout the 1980s comic book series.[26]


For the second film, after the financially successful release of The Rise of Cobra, Rob Moore, the studio vice chairman of Paramount Pictures, stated in 2009 that a sequel would be developed. In January 2011, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writers of Zombieland, were hired to write the script for the sequel.[27][28] The film was originally thought to be titled G.I. Joe: Cobra Strikes,[29] which was later denied by Reese.[30] Stephen Sommers was originally going to return as director of the sequel, but Paramount Pictures announced in February 2011 that Jon Chu would direct the sequel.[31][32] In July 2011, the sequel's name was revealed to be G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[33][34] Chu would later declare that Paramount wanted a reboot that also served as a sequel to The Rise of Cobra since "a lot of people saw the first movie so we don't want to alienate that and redo the whole thing."[35]


Film U.S. release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producer(s)
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra August 7, 2009 (2009-08-07) Stephen Sommers Stuart Beattie, David Elliot and Paul Lovett Michael B. Gordon, Stuart Beattie and Stephen Sommers Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brian Goldner and Bob Ducsay
G.I. Joe: Retaliation March 28, 2013 (2013-03-28) Jon M. Chu Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Brian Goldner
Snake Eyes March 27, 2020 (2020-03-27) Robert Schwentke Evan Spiliotopoulos Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis[36]
G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant TBA D. J. Caruso Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec Evan Daugherty, Jonathan Lemkin and Aaron Berg Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Brian Goldner

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)[edit]

The first film in the series, released on August 7, 2009. It grossed $302 million worldwide. It was directed by Stephen Sommers from a screenplay by Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, and Paul Lovett and a story by Michael B. Gordon, Beattie, and Sommers.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)[edit]

The second film in the series, released on March 28, 2013, in 3D and IMAX 3D. It grossed $375 million worldwide. It was directed by Jon M. Chu from a screenplay written by Rhett Reese, and Paul Wernick.


Snake Eyes (2020)[edit]

In May 2018, Paramount announced a film centered around Snake Eyes, with Evan Spiliotopoulos hired to write the script to the project.[37] Robert Schwentke signed on as director in December 2018 with film shooting at in Japan, Vancouver and L.A.[38][39] DiBonaventura told Slash Film in an interview that Ray Park won't be reprising his role of Snake Eyes as it will be an origin story film.[40]

G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant (TBA)[edit]

Starting in April 2013, reports surfaced that there will be a third G.I. Joe film,[41] and that it would potentially be in 3D.[42][43] The studio initially announced that Chu would return to direct the third film,[44] though the filmmaker would leave the project in favor of directing Jem and the Holograms for the studio instead. Producer, di Bonaventura, stated that he hoped Johnson and Willis would return, and that they plan to add a third important role.[45] By September of the same year, Evan Daugherty was hired to act as screenwriter on the project.[1] Chu told MTV that Tatum may return to the series, reprising his role as Duke.[46]

Originally scheduled for a 2016 release date,[47][48] the film was delayed as di Bonaventura, revealed that the studio was in search of a new director.[49] By July 2014, Variety reported that Jonathan Lemkin signed on as writer for the film, with a plot that will focus on Roadblock, while Johnson would return as star.[50] The film will reportedly feature M.A.S.K. character Matt Trakker, and the villainous twins Tomax Paoli and Xamot Paoli.[51] In April 2015, the studio reportedly hired D. J. Caruso as director, and Aaron Berg to work on the script.[52] In May 2017, Dwayne Johnson stated that if the opportunity arises he would appear in any future G.I. Joe film, and that he hopes to be a part of the franchise expansion as well.[53]

In May 2018, That Hashtag Show exclusively reported that the film will be titled G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant, with Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec signed on as co-screenwriters. The studio is reportedly pursuing Johnson to reprise his role for the third film, to lead a new team of Joes. The team is said to feature Daina Janack, Dr. Adele Burkhart, Wild Bill, Barbecue, General Flagg, Doc and Keel-Haul. The main antagonists will be Tomax and Xamot, who seek to launch a dark matter WMD that will turn their targets to dust. The movie will also feature a smaller role for Cobra Commander.[54] The film was scheduled to be released on March 27, 2020 before being replaced by the Snake Eyes film.[55]

Shared universe[edit]

In November 2015, Paramount Pictures announced that the G.I. Joe series would feature further installments in the future with Akiva Goldsman creating a writer's room.[56] On December 15, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported that both Hasbro and Paramount are creating a cinematic universe combining G.I. Joe with films based on Micronauts, Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, M.A.S.K. and Rom together.[3] In April 2016, The Hollywood Reporter stated that Michael Chabon, Brian K. Vaughan, Nicole Perlman, Lindsey Beer, Cheo Coker, John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein, Joe Robert Cole, Jeff Pinkner, Nicole Riegel and Geneva Robertson-Dworet have joined the writers room, respectively.[57] In January 2017, Caruso stated to Collider that the script for the crossover movie is now being written.[58]

In March 2013, during the release of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura announced that he is open to doing a G.I. Joe/Transformers crossover.[2] On July 26, 2013, G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu stated that he is also interested in directing a crossover film.[59] di Bonaventura stated on June 23, 2014 that a crossover was not likely to happen,[60] however he later stated that a crossover was still a possibility.[61] On October 23, 2015, Jon M. Chu confirmed his intentions to make a crossover film between Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Jem.[62]

Cast and characters[edit]

Characters Films
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra G.I. Joe: Retaliation Snake Eyes G.I. Joe: Ever Vigilant
2009 2013 2020 TBA
Snake Eyes Ray Park TBA
Conrad Hauser
Channing Tatum
Rex Lewis
Cobra Commander
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Luke Bracey
Robert Baker
Thomas Arashikage
Storm Shadow
Byung-hun Lee
Zartan Arnold Vosloo
President of the United States Jonathan Pryce
Wallace Weems
Marlon Wayans
Clayton M. Abernathy
General Hawk
Dennis Quaid
Shana O’Hara
Rachel Nichols
Hershel Dalton
Heavy Duty
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Abel Shaz
Saïd Taghmaoui
Laird James McCullen XXIV
Christopher Eccleston
Ana Lewis
The Baroness
Sienna Miller
Brian Binder
Doctor Mindbender
Kevin J. O'Connor
Courtney Krieger
Cover Girl
Karolína Kurková
Geoffrey Stone IV
Sgt. Stone
Brendan Fraser
Marvin Hinton
Dwayne Johnson TBA
Joseph Colton
G.I. Joe
Bruce Willis
Jaye Burnett
Lady Jaye
Adrianne Palicki
Dashiell Faireborn
D.J. Cotrona
Kim Arashikage
Élodie Yung
Firefly Ray Stevenson
Matt Gerald

Additional film crew[edit]

Role Films
G.I Joe:
The Rise of Cobra
G.I Joe:
Snake Eyes G.I. Joe:
Ever Vigilant
2009 2013 2020 TBA
Stephen Sommers
David Womark
Gary Barber
Roger Birnbaum
Erik Howsam
Stephen Sommers
Herbert W. Gains
Erik Howsam
Gary Barber
Roger Birnbaum
David Ellison
Dana Goldberg
Paul Schwake
Composer Alan Silvestri Henry Jackman
Editor Bob Ducsay
Kelly Matsumoto
Jim May
Roger Barton
Jim May
Cinematographer Mitchell Amundsen Stephen Windon
Spyglass Entertainment
di Bonaventura Pictures
Hasbro Studios
Sommers Company
di Bonaventura Pictures
Hasbro Studios
Skydance Productions
Spyglass Entertainment
Skydance Media
di Bonaventura Pictures
Hasbro Studios
Allspark Pictures
Distributor Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures
MGM Pictures
Running time 118 minutes 110 minutes TBD


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget Reference
United States International Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra August 7, 2009 $150,201,498 $152,267,519 $302,543,074 # # $175,000,000 [63]
G.I. Joe: Retaliation March 28, 2013 $122,523,060 $253,217,645 $375,740,705 # # $130,000,000 [64]
Total $272,724,558 $405,485,154 $678,209,722 N/A # $305,000,000 N/A
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra 34% (163 reviews)[65] 32 (25 reviews)[66] B+[67]
G.I. Joe: Retaliation 29% (172 reviews)[68] 41 (31 reviews)[69] A-[67]
Average 32% 37 A-

Tie-in media[edit]


In addition to the films, various comic books were presented by IDW Publishing:

  • G.I. Joe Movie Prequel (March – June 2009)[70]
  • G.I. Joe Movie Adaptation (July 2009)
  • Snake Eyes (October 2009 – January 2010)
  • G.I. Joe: Operation HISS (February – June 2010)
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation Movie Prequel (February – April 2012)

Video game[edit]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]