Some fans absolutely loathe the idea of the new Ghostbusters reboot, and for a plethora of both honest and dubious reasons. They've been very vocal and loud about it, too. So much so, many believe that this all-female version of the classic horror comedy will be one of summer's biggest bombs. But if new tracking data turns out to be true, that will be very far from the case. In all actuality, Sony Pictures is looking at a blockbuster hit in terms of a fresh franchise restarter. Especially for a series that has laid dominant for the past four decades.
Comedy director and sometimes actor Paul Feig is at the helm of this new Ghostbusters, which has been met with criticism every inch of the way. From the cast, which features mostly SNL alum, to the trailers, to the new theme song released yesterday, some fans are ready to take a bat and beat this remake black and blue. Perhaps that's why others are so darn interested. As they say, bad press is still press, and the movie has a higher awareness than some summer releases coming in the weeks ahead. And that's because it is constantly in the pop culture discussion. Despite its so-far poor reception, the movie is tracking to open north of $50 million when it hits on the July 15 weekend. And this news comes before Sony unleashes the last leg of its marketing push.
Anything above $50 million will probably seem like a small miracle for Sony. Even though that might seem low when looking at some of the $100 million openers this year, it's actually quite high for this type of release. That said, it's going to have to be one heck of a movie to recoup its costs. The film, headlined by Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy has a reported budget of $154 million. And even if it lands at number one on its opening weekend, there's a chance that it could still do a stinging bellyflop, shuttering the Ghostbusters franchise for another indeterminal amount of time.
The main problem with the new Ghostbusters right out of the gate is that it isn't Ghostbusters 3. It actually abolishes all traces of the 1984 original for a fresh storyline that takes place in a universe where the first Ghostbusters team and its characters never existed. Yet, somehow, as we've seen mentioned in the recent TV spots, the 1990 movie Ghost starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore does exist. Which doesn't quite make sense. It's some of these story flaws that are turning off hardcore fanatics of the Ghostbusters franchise, which they deem one of the smartest comedies ever made. The jokes in the trailer have been called unfunny. And perhaps the greatest sin of all, according to haters, which started a social media firestorm, is that the main cast is made up of all women, with Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones bringing up the rear of the team.
It helps that the reboot has cameos by original cast members Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson. But that hasn't been enough to dissuade the louder detractors from shouting their rants against the movie. Paul Feig is known for focusing on female-centric comedies such as Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy, all of which have been substantial hits for both the director and his muse Melissa McCarthy. Feig hasn't shied away from the derogatory comments aimed at his latest effort. And has been just as vocal about defending his movie as some of those who have decided to ban it. Yesterday, Sony's head boss Tom Rothman came out in favor of the movie, saying he doesn't mind the backlash against it. And that it probably helps more than it hurts the reboot's chances at the box office.
"[This is] the greatest thing that ever happened. Are you kidding me? We're in the national debate, thank you. Can we please get some more haters to say stupid things?"
According to pre-tracking data, Females over the age of 25 are going to be the biggest audience for this new Ghostbusters. There's still three weeks left to get even more potential audience members on board the movie, with upcoming marketing materials that will try to gain the attention of both younger males and females.
As it stands now, The Heat is Feig's biggest hit, which opened with $39.1 million at the domestic box office. That movie went onto earn $159.6 million during its domestic run, and was a worldwide smash hit with $230 million back in 2013. Bridesmaids was the sleeper hit of 2012, taking in $26.2 million in its opening weekend before ending its run with $169.1 million domestically and $288.4 million worldwide. Feig's previous movie, Spy, which opened last sumer, had a decent $29.1 million opening, but stellar word of mouth pushed it to $235.1 million worldwide. So it's not like the man doesn't know his way around a big blockbuster hit comedy.
That said, Ghostbusters is the man's most ambitious movie to date. And it will have to do considerably more than his previous movies to not be considered a flop. His previous comedies have cost considerably less than Ghostbusters, which doesn't help balance the situation. Right now, everything is pointing towards Ghostbusters having a stellar opening weekend. But will it be able to hold onto that against the rest of summer's big box office releases? We'll have to wait and see.