Unpacking the Sexist Box Office Narrative of Ghostbusters

Mckenna Grace in

This weekend, Jason Reitman Ghostbusters: Another Life hit theaters, claiming first place at the box office with a $ 44 million national debut. It’s a solid opening weekend given the pandemic of it all, and I’ll probably make more money next holiday weekend. And despite a lukewarm 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, fans love the follow-up movie, earning it a 96% viewership score.

I saw Future life Thursday night, and as a lifelong Ghostbusters fan, I had a blast – the movie was fun, heartfelt, and conveyed all the warm, fuzzy nostalgia fans want from the series. But I can’t help but feel frustrated at how different he is. Future life narrative is from 2016 directed by women Answer the call.

Answer the call was inundated with bad press and toxic fandom that began during the film’s production. Once fans learned that the film would focus on four female Ghostbusters, played by Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon, angry men from the internet mobilized to slow down the film, from rejecting YouTube trailers to flooding Rotten Tomatoes. with bad reviews. There were also some virulently racist online attacks targeting Leslie Jones, which the study did little to address.

Thanks to the relentless negative press, Answer the call he was deemed dead upon arrival, despite earning $ 46 million in his opening weekend. The box office narrative described the film as a flop, and plans for a sequel were quickly scrapped. The Hollywood Reporter featured a headline that read: “‘Ghostbusters’ Heading to Loss of Over $ 70 Million, Sequel unlikely,” despite Sony saying nothing about a sequel.

Rather, the THR holder for Future life Read “‘Ghostbusters: Beyond’ Opens To Heavenly $ 44 Million”. And while it’s a good opening weekend (during a pandemic no less), it’s only half what other blockbusters like. Black widow, Shang-chi, and F9: The Quick Saga have raked.

Answer the call made $ 2 million more than Future life did the opening weekend. And it received a fresh 74% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes (the audience score is a lousy 49%, given the online movement to destroy the film’s scores).

There is something strange in the neighborhood, and surprise surprise, it is sexism. From the online hate campaign to the male-dominated world of entertainment journalism, it seems that men in general unilaterally decided that Answer the call it would be a failure, and that narrative got stuck. Fueling this narrative were the respective budgets of the films: Answer the call It cost a hefty $ 144 million to produce and made $ 229 million worldwide. In contrast (and probably due to Answer the callprofit margin), Future life it was made on a more modest budget of $ 75 million, which is easier to recoup.

Paul Feig’s movie Answer the call was criticized by angry misogynists who were furious that the original Ghostbusters, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson, weren’t reprising their roles (the fourth Ghostbusters, Harold Ramis, sadly passed away in 2014).

And the “ruined my childhood” speech continued until it was announced that Jason Reitman (son of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman) would take the reins of Future life. With Reitman on board, the film was hailed as a return to the roots of the beloved franchise. It is impossible to quantify how the different response of the press and the public to the two films changed the box office result, but it certainly affected the release of each film.

Reitman himself fanned the flames of the fandom, promising “We are, in every way, trying to go back to the original technique and return the film to the fans.” Reitman hinted that fans of Answer the call they weren’t “real” Ghostbusters fans, which is an insult to both the fans and Feig’s movie.

Both of them Future life and Answer the call are solid movies and welcome entries in the Ghostbusters canon, and should be treated as such. Future life She even has her own iconic female lead in Mckenna Grace’s phenomenal Phoebe. After leaving the cinema, I couldn’t help but imagine what a crossover sequel would look like, with McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzmann guiding young Phoebe in science and ghostbusters.

It would be nice to see Answer the call folded in Future lifemythology, rather than being treated like the franchise’s red-haired stepson. There should be room for fans to love both movies.

(image: Sony)

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