Not many films of late have been met with as much controversy as the 2016 all-female remake of ‘Ghostbusters.’ The reboot of the iconic 80’s franchise was met with anger and vitriol for its all-female lineup because we can’t have nice things. The film did a pretty good job at the box office, but for a reboot of a franchise property, especially one with such a large following, it underperformed and a direct sequel at this point seems unlikely. The director of the film, Paul Feig, spoke about what prevented the film from becoming the hit it was intended to be, saying:
“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 fuck? We don’t wanna go to a cause. We just wanna watch a fuckin’ movie.’ … 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.”
The film did become politicized, as many did not understand the need to remake the film with an all female cast. Other complaints centered around the film being set in a storyline completely separate from the original. The film also became somewhat of a battle cry for those who value feminism and equal opportunity.
Given the success of light and humorous films, Feig’s sentiments regarding the polarization of his film are probably correct. For the most part, audiences don’t want to go to a cause; they just want to watch a movie. So while the film garnered passionate advocates both for and against, the majority of film-going audiences aware of the controversy perhaps felt it better to just avoid the film altogether. This is an unfortunate but perhaps unavoidable consequence of the times. In such a heated political climate, even something as innocent as a ‘Ghostbusters’ movie can become a lightning rod for debate.
Putting political debates aside, the film also fell short of critical expectations. Many reviewers were not blown away by it and the receptions were lukewarm. So, while some of us think they may deserve a chance to make ‘Ghostbusters 2’ with this amazing new cast, for now, it seems that the franchise is in the re-evaluation phase.