So, leading up to the arrival of Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters remake fans were enraged by the decision to cast a female-exclusive group of ‘busters. Naturally, the world jumped to label anyone turned off by the idea of female Ghostbusters as sexist buffoons and misogynistic pigs, neglecting to mention the fact that, maybe, just maybe, some of us didn’t like the idea of anyone other than Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson portraying the iconic characters.
All the negative press led many to believe the film may actually surprise with some big numbers, as all eyes were firmly affixed to the production. And, what is it they say? Any press is good press?
The film didn’t make much of a splash upon arrival. Rather, it fizzled before the proverbial belly flop, taking in a fair-for-a-small-film-but-wretched-for-a-big-film $46 million at the domestic box office. One glance and $46 million doesn’t seem too shabby, until you take a gander at the $144 million budget it required to make the film. Then it starts to set in: this film isn’t doing well, and sometimes “any” press is certainly bad press.
But, let’s all be honest with ourselves for a moment. It doesn’t matter if they’d cast a group of young, up and coming males for this film, or even a group of established 30-something males for this film; it’s a Ghostbusters remake, and damn it, we’re sick as all hell with remakes and reboots (even my 14-year old daughter – an unwavering McCarthy fan – was disgusted with the idea of remaking Ghostbusters). Especially remakes or reboots of films that can’t be improved upon. And Ghostbusters, a perfect whirlwind of loveable characters, natural comedy, excellent storytelling, superb performances and killer special effects, isn’t a movie you’re going to improve now that CGI dominates the market and Melissa McCarthy’s professional stock is in the clouds.
You can’t make a better Ghostbusters film than the prize Ivan Reitman gave us 32 years ago. You just can’t. There’s a reason it’s universally loved, and there’s a reason people weren’t clamoring for a remake.
We’re tired of all these nauseating remakes. If Hollywood insists on making them, then maybe they should contemplate a trek back in time so that they might place a little focus on the films that had a wealth of potential and a sunken ship worth of terrible technical maneuvers. Give us good renditions of technically bad movies. That’s something that most of us can buy into.
But when you start tampering with films like Ghostbusters, you’re asking for heaps of trouble.
I’m a firm believer that this remake was destined to fail. It has nothing to do with Melissa McCarthy or Kristen Wiig. It has nothing to do with Paul Feig. They’re solid and seasoned professionals. The problems Ghostbusters is facing is the fact that it exists. Period.
So now that the film’s been in theaters for roughly a week, and it’s earned an unimpressive worldwide total (as of the 19th, according to Box Office Mojo) of $75 million, where does Sony go? Do they let this franchise rest, as they always should have? Do they look to erase the memory of this current film by putting together another, with a different cast?
Can they do anything from this point forward that will actually enhance the franchise?
I think the simple answer is to let the Ghostbusters rest. Producer Dan Aykroyd’s co-signature did nothing to fool consumers. Neither did Bill Murray’s word on this one being amazing. Those were absurdly transparent plugs, and frankly, it’s insulting to think that either man would patronize consumers, clearly making the assumption that we’re all absolute morons. Those plugs were tricks that didn’t work out. Another Ghostbusters film won’t work out, either.
The dust is beginning to settle, and that means we’ll soon have forgotten that this movie exists. We should be okay with that, and it has zilch to do with the leading ladies or the man behind the cameras. It has to do with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, legends that put a stamp that cannot be altered, improved or modified upon, on a franchise that still remains sacred to the masses, even if Hollywood doesn’t give a damn about anything beyond a dead president.
On a related side note, it absolutely broke my heart to hear Bill Murray (an idol of mine) tell us that this is an amazing film that might actually be better than the original. I just caught it myself, and it isn’t remotely near amazing. It’s big, and it’s got plenty of flashy visual effects, but it’s a severely neglected stepchild of a story when compared to the original.