In an effort to get a head start on sales, Hasbro gave retailers the green light to start putting G.I. Joe: Retaliation branded movie product on shelves in time for the U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend. That all changed with this week's announcement that the release date of Retaliation was being delayed from June 29, 2012 to March 29, 2013, causing a flurry of rumors and speculation on how this would impact the toy line.
We've learned that Retaliation's date changed was as much of a surprise to some of the team at Hasbro as it was to the movie-going and collecting communities. With Retaliation toys in production, shipping and already showing up in stores, Hasbro issued the following statement regarding immediate and future availability of the line:
"G.I. Joe is an ongoing consumer franchise and therefore there is merchandise available to consumers. There is a limited amount of G.I. Joe Retaliation product at retail now, but in light of the movie moving out to March 29, 2013, the majority of the movie line will be made available early next year in time for the film's release."
While Hasbro's statement makes is clear that the intent is to offer Retaliation merchandise in conjunction with the film's release, what isn't clear is what will happen to the product that's already been sent out? According to Marc Graser of Variety, "retailers are being asked to send back the line of Hasbro toys that were starting to appear on shelves" and that space allotted for Retaliation toys "will now go to The Amazing Spider-Man toys and The Avengers" -- both Hasbro licenses.
With the remaining G.I. Joe inventory in many stores being clearanced off to make room for Retaliation toys and the only new G.I. Joe product actively shipping being to discount retailer Dollar General, there may not be any new G.I. Joe product on-shelf for a long time. If you were able to pick up some of the rogue Retaliation items that made their way onto toy shelves, consider yourself lucky.