The profitability of the mutated quartet has all-but guaranteed another big cinematic adventure for years. Presumably because he delivered the incomprehensible but commercially successful and merch-friendly Transformers movies as director, Paramount handed the property of Michael Bay, who is producing with his Platinum Dunes partners Brad Fuller and Andrew Form. Battle Los Angeles and Wrath of the Titans director Jonathan Liebesman, who previously worked with Platinum Dunes on remake prequel Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, is directing Ninja Turtles.
Liebesman was supervising pre-production in Vancouver, British Columbia, but the studio has reportedly put a stop to that, temporarily laying off pre-production staff. Though employees are to have been told that the delay is indefinite, anonymous sources have informed The Hollywood Reporter that production has been pushed back ten weeks. The Christmas 2013 release date is apparently being abandoned in favor of a May 2014 date.
The Paramount-Nickelodeon production is taking some time off of getting ready for principal photography in order to sort out some problems with the screenplay. Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum, Alias veterans and the duo behind the Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol screenplay, were working on Ninja Turtles, with input from Kevin Eastman, who co-created the characters with Peter Laird. It's unknown whether they'll be ironing out whatever issues are causing the delay or if a new writer has been hired to take over.
Many a headline has been made recently over Paramount's decisions to delay two big tentpole features. First, it was G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which the studio abruptly delayed by nine months, just weeks before its release and after a large-scale marketing effort. Officially, that call was made in order to facilitate a 3D conversion, but the length of the delay has been unofficially explained by a need for extensive reshoots which would incorporate more of Channing Tatum's Duke character. Then it was World War Z. In March, the studio delayed that epic zombie movie starring Brad Pitt from December 2012 to June 2013, and last week, we learned that this delay was caused by the need for seven weeks of major reshoots. Prometheus co-writer Damon Lindelof has been brought aboard to write new material for this additional photography, which will focus on the film's last act.
The G.I. Joe sequel in particular was an instance of a studio chasing a release date. Having originally wanted the next Star Trek movie from J.J. Abrams to bow on June 29th of this year, Paramount eventually assigned that date to Retaliation when it was clear that Star Trek 2 wouldn't be happening so soon. It's possible to read the Ninja Turtles move as an attempt to avoid getting into yet another costly and public situation, forfeiting a release date in exchange for a worthier product.