Sandra Bullock is back on the big screen this weekend, heading up the all-star mostly-female cast of ‘Ocean’s 8’, which is, of course, an extension of the ‘Ocean’s’ brand which kicked off in 2001 with Stephen Soderbergh’s ‘Ocean’s 11’ starring an all-star mostly-male cast which included George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Matt Damon, Elliot Gould, and Bernie Mac. Soderbergh’s movie was a huge hit and spawned two sequels. Now the franchise is being revisited, with a female twist. Sound familiar?
In 2015, ‘Ghostbusters’ was rebooted from scratch, with a cast that featured Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Paul Feig, who directed Bullock and McCarthy in the comedy ‘The Heat’ also helmed ‘Ghostbusters’, a movie that was damned before it even got a shot.
Is Bullock worried that potential movie audiences may once again snub a female-centric reboot of a male comedy/action franchise? While walking the red carpet for the ‘Ocean’s 8’ premiere, sponsored by Variety, she responded:
“That was unfair on a level that I can’t even not be mad about talking about. They literally walked into a firing squad.
“You had five of the most gifted comedian actresses on the planet — I’m just gonna leave it at that. And it doesn’t just take five people to make a movie. It takes about 300, so, you know what? Let’s back off the meanness. Let’s have a year of kindness. The women are here — we’re not going anywhere. But this isn’t about just women. We like sitting at the table with men. We just want to be invited to their table as well because we like them at our table.”
Bullock doesn’t seem to have much to worry about. The ‘Ocean’s’ property has been successful but isn’t old enough to have become an indelible (and untouchable) classic the way ‘Ghostbusters’ has. Plus, the ‘Ocean’s’ movies mainly appeal to an adult audience so it’s not a part of anyone’s childhood the way ‘Ghostbusters’ was. ‘Ocean’s 8’ was predicted to open to $30+ million in its first weekend, with some particularly optimistic predictions going so high as $50 million. Also, working in its favor, it’s an extension, not a reboot– Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, the sister of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean. So if people don’t like it, there is less at stake.
Despite the fact that Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd had spent years trying to get a revival made, using the original cast, it never came together, largely because Bill Murray didn’t want to do it. (He actually didn’t want to make the first movie and only did so because Columbia Pictures agreed to finance his drama ‘The Razor’s Edge’ in exchange.) Sony, which now owns the property, was hell-bent on getting a new ‘Ghostbusters’ franchise into theaters, but fans simply said no when it arrived.
Bullock just hopes anyone who may harbor resentment just check out the movie for themselves and then decide whether they liked it or hated it. “My advice for those people is just watch the movie [‘Ocean’s 8’] first and then go on Reddit,” she said. “It’s as simple as that. Watch it first.”
‘Ocean’s 8’ was directed by Gary Ross and also stars Richard Armitage, Awkwafina, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, James Corden, Dakota Fanning, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, and Rihanna. Also, look for appearances by Matt Damon, Elliott Gould and Carl Reiner, who reprise their roles from the earlier installments of this franchise.
‘Oceans 9’ is playing now in theaters.