The problem about remakes is that they, almost by definition, offer little new. Take the new ‘Ghostbusters.’ It was fine. Just…fine. It had a cast that could have probably put out something funnier and more interesting if unencumbered by the ‘Ghostbusters’ mythos, but the producers played it safe. Studios know that going with public name recognition has built-in advertising. If Columbia Pictures didn’t put a cent into their marketing budget, this site would have still covered its release because, well, it’s ‘Ghostbusters.’ This isn’t going to change, so I say double down.
The only thing better than resurrecting one old property is resurrecting two! (I suppose three would be better still, but let’s not go crazy.) There exists a perfect pairing for ‘Ghostbusters’ in another beloved action/comedy ghost story: ‘Beetlejuice.’ Tim Burton has been in talks to bring back the dead for years now and he is no stranger to the remake. Some might say this makes him uniquely qualified, but I fear it disqualifies him. Burton’s track record of repurposing old stories is as follows: ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’, ‘Planet of the Apes’, ‘Dark Shadows’, and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. The only critical success among them is, debatably, his Willy Wonka joint. It is also the most hated among fans of the original. ‘Beetlejuice’ was Burton’s to begin with, but his secret sauce isn’t what it used to be. The ‘Ghostbusters’ have changed and so must ‘Beetlejuice.’
It’s time for a ‘Ghostbusters vs ‘Beetlejuice’ film!
‘Ghostbusters’ underperformed making a direct sequel questionable. It also had a lackluster villain and (spoiler) the sequel is slated to rehash the original Ghostbuster baddie Zuul. When the after credit scene set this up, there was no reaction in my theater because no one cares about Zuul. Zuul isn’t what made the first Ghosterbusters great. If Zuul added anything at all, it was a function of the possession of Dana Barrett, a character that doesn’t exist anymore. Injecting another known quantity would get audiences into theaters and Beetlejuice could be just the conflict they need. Besides, versus movies are a thing. ‘Batman v Superman’, ‘Alien vs Predator’, ‘The People vs. Larry Flint’–people like mash-ups (or at least studios think people like mash-ups.) Hell, they are even making a ‘Men in Black’/’21 Jump Street‘ flick. ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Beetlejuice’ are like peanut butter and chocolate compared to some of the crap they try to mash together.
I know this probably isn’t going to happen. Warner Bros. owns ‘Beetlejuice’ and Columbia Pictures has the rights to ‘Ghostbusters.’ We could maybe get a petition going, but there is less public outcry for these studios to cooperate than, say, Sony with Marvel when it comes to Spiderman. I’ll just find solace in the fact that we will run out of old characters to dust off and repurpose. Frankensteining plots will be our only means to avoid creativity and, when that day comes, I’ll be first in line to watch ‘Ghostbusters vs Beetlejuice: Dawn of the Sandworm.’