A quick look at box office reports from the past few years shows there’s a few tried and true tickets for achieving box office success: shared universes, crossovers, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The ex-World Wrestling Federation star’s stock has been on the rise, and now it seems like everyone wants a piece of the action; although, not everything he touches turns to gold. One franchise he’s already involved in that hasn’t seen its potential is G.I. Joe. While the first two films in the franchise have been far from a bust, The Rock has seen even success with most of the films that he’s done since 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
One of the most common suggestions to give G.I. Joe a boost is to cross it over with Transformers, a fellow Paramount Pictures franchise that has yet to struggle at the box office in live-action form. xXx: Return of Xander Cage director, D.J. Caruso, was at one point in talks to direct G.I. Joe 3, so we asked him about it during our interview with him at the xXx junket.
Here is what Caruso offered us, with regard to a potential G.I. Joe/Transformers crossover:
It has been rumored that you’ve been attached—or wanting to do—G.I. Joe 3. You want to incorporate the Transformers. Is that gonna happen?
D.J. Caruso: I would like for it to happen. Paramount and I—right before I started this—were kind of working on that, and met with Dwayne [“The Rock” Johnson], and were discussing it. And that was where I would like to see—if I was gonna be involved in G.I. Joe—that franchise go. And I think there might be a chance, so we’ll see what happens.
So that’s like a subtle yes.
D.J. Caruso: [laughs] A subtle yes.
The future of the Transformers franchise isn’t clear. Every single film has been a complete box office smash, despite a lack of widespread critical reception. As Paramount seeks a way to turn audiences around, there’s a proven remedy on the market: Dwayne Johnson. Johnson’s rising star was a massive lift to the Fast & Furious movies when he joined the cast during the franchise’s turning point. Since then, he’s been tapped to bring back several franchises, like Baywatch and Jumanji.
After his meeting with DC last week, it’s clear that they hope Johnson can be an influence on their attempts to turn around critics with a tonal shift in the DC Extended Universe. The Rock’s involvement in the long pending Shazam! movie has now given rise to his own stand-alone project as Black Adam, and Johnson is promising to “usher in a new era” of the DCEU, along with it.
Bringing The Rock into the Transformers universe through a G.I. Joe crossover is more than sensible. The writers groups for both G.I. Joe and Transformers are lead by Akiva Goldsman, and Dwayne Johnson showed an excellent rapport with current Transformers star Mark Wahlberg in Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain. The synergy is already there, Paramount just needs to get the crossover off the ground; because The Rock and Marky Mark leading the Joes and the Autobots against a global threat just might be the ticket to box office (and maybe critical) gold.