Paul Feig has some regrets about the Ghostbusters reboot

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Will you folks just give one more minute? I just need to don some flame-retardent clothing as things are probably about to get fiery up in here thanks to a couple of very hot takes. You see, I actually had fun watching Paul Feig’s all female Ghostbusters reboot last year. Yes, the film had its issues, like uneven scripting and some jokes falling flat, but it also had a funny charm to it as well as Chris Hemsworth’s lovable doofus Kevin. And I’m not some weird, freak of nature outlier in this opinion as the film boasts a 74% rating on RottenTomatoes with mostly favourable reviews averaging 6.5/10. Heck, even the average user review score is around the same mark with 3.1/5. Yes, those aren’t great numbers, but they’re a far cry from terrible as well.

Terrible, though, is exactly the word that would be used to describe Ghostbusters’ box office fortunes though. It opened in July last year to an okay $46 million on the first weekend in the US, which was actually the biggest opening of Feig’s career. There was just the slight problem of that not being big enough for a movie that cost a reported $144 million to make. Add in the costs of a massive marketing campaign and apparently $30-40 million worth of reshoots, and Ghostbusters would have needed to clear at least $300 million to break even. As the film plummeted down the US charts in later weeks and failed to ignite the international box office, it would end its run well short of the mark on $229 million. It’s been estimated that Sony had to write off at least $70 million on the film.

So what happened? If the movie was actually not too bad, why did people just not go see it? Well, that may have had something to do with how it became the poster child for the “all-female reboot” phase that Hollywood was going through at the time. A phase that many fans really didn’t appreciate, as they believed their beloved franchises were being revived purely just to make what some decried as a politicized gender equality statement. And oh boy, did they make their voices heard online. Unfortunately, for the film’s fortunes, Feig and his cast also didn’t back down from this negative reaction, defending their film’s cause vociferously. And that’s the problem, according to what the director told Vulture earlier this week.

I think it kind of hampered us a little bit because the movie became so much of a cause. I think for some of our audience, they were like, ‘What the f-ck? We don’t wanna go to a cause. We just wanna watch a f-ckin’ movie.’

Personally, I had no intrinsic problem with the idead of making a new generation of Ghostbusters that appealed to a portion of the market that has generally been sidelined (maybe better served with a sequel instead of a reboot though?). Girls need action heroine role models that they can identify with – they yearn for it, as Wonder Woman made so abundantly clear with its success earlier this year. And Ghostbusters definitely succeeded in some regard here, as tons of fans immediately fell in love with Kate McKinnon’s oddball Ghostbuster Holtzmann. Alas though, this would be the last they see of her as Feig’s plans for a franchise were shot down by it’s poor box office.

It was a great regret in my life that the movie didn’t do better, ’cause I really loved it… It’s not a perfect movie. None of my movies are perfect. I liked what we were doing with it. It was only supposed to be there to entertain people.

Hey, consider me entertained at least!

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And now, a slight diversion, but something that I feel I need to address. You may have noticed that earlier I said that I had “a couple of very hot takes” but only presented one so far. You see about a month ago, I rewatched Ivan Reitman’s original two Ghostbusters films for the first time in decades. Now, it’s a widely regarded fact that Ghostbusters 2 is not a great film, but – and here’s where the temperature starts to rise again – neither is the first Ghostbusters!

Yes, the 1984 classic certainly has its breezy goofy charms but the plotting is also haphazard at best, several of the jokes fall painfully flat, and Ernie Hudson’s Winston serves no purpose with his late entry (this was the result of last-minute script changes to give Bill Murray’s character more screentime). The only people who seem to really be making it work are Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis and Annie Potts. Even Murray appears to be sleepwalking through a lot of his material. Yes, I know some of you folks are reaching for the gasoline and matches right about now, but remove childhood nostalgia from the picture and review it objectively and the film’s faults are glaring as hell.

And on that bombshell last note: COME AT ME, BRO!

Last Updated: November 24, 2017

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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