The bottom line, of course, is that all the attention given yesterday to the problems of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Paramount, 8,7) will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. The film is what it is and there are millions who will pay to see it no matter what, but among the fence-sitters two things are incontestable: (a) barring an unimagined catastrophe of some kind the worst is over in terms of bad buzz, and (b) the film’s rep has nowhere to go but up.

Once the sneak previews and media screenings start in July it’s entirely possible that the G.I. Joe word will be “wow, surprise…a lot less awful than I expected!” If G.I. Joe had accumulated nothing but positive buzz going into August it would have to meet those expectations, God forbid. Now the pressure is off. If it turns to be even half-tolerable the word will reflect that in a mostly positive way — “doesn’t suck that badly!,” “harmless!” “I got through it and finished my popcorn!” and so on.

Paramount owes guys like myself a debt of gratitude. Seriously — they’re better off for it. And they have eight weeks to put across the old counterspin — a snap.