Sony tried to breathe new life into the Ghostbusters franchise with the 2016 Ghostbusters, starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. The film was expected to kickstart a brand new era for the mythology and open the door for numerous sequels and spinoffs.
The film, however, was a disappointment for the studio. While it had quite a positive reception, Ghostbusters earned a mere $229 million globally on a $144 million budget. That return caused #Sony to shelve its plans for a Ghostbusters universe, and the franchise has been in limbo. Now original Ghostbuster #DanAykroyd lays the blame for that failure squarely on the movie's director, Paul Feig.
The actor talked about Feig and Ghostbuster on the UK talk show Sunday Brunch. Aykroyd said he loved the film and its cast, then blasted director Paul Feig. The actor said Feig's unwillingness to include scenes that were suggested to him led to costly reshoots, which inflated the movie's budget:
"[Ghostbusters] made a lot of money around the world but just cost too much, making it economically not feasible to do another one. So that’s too bad. The director, he spent too much on it. He didn’t shoot scenes we suggested to him and several scenes that were going to be needed and he said, ‘Nah, we don’t need them.’ Then we tested the movie and they needed them and he had to go back. About $30 to $40-million in reshoots. So he will not be back on the Sony lot any time soon."
Harsh words. That budget figure for the cost of reshoots seems insanely high, and in fact The Hollywood Reporter has a source saying the cost was only one-tenth of what Akyroyd claims, with the cost in the $3-4m range.
Interestingly enough, that segment was edited out from rebroadcasts of the show. Here's the clip.
Things didn't end there, though. Following those comments, Aykroyd took to Facebook to backtrack (just a little) on what he said. The actor clarified Paul Feig was a good director, but he wasn't "inclusive enough" to the originators of the franchise, something that, according to him, ultimately carried a big cost for everyone:
Now, while he made things a little harsher by calling Fieg a good director, he's still quite clearly blaming the director for Ghostbusters' failure. That begs the question...
Was 'Ghostbusters' Failure Really Paul Feig's Fault?
Feig shouldn't take all the blame for Ghostbusters performance. There's an innate difficulty in revitalizing a beloved franchise; there will always be some of criticism directed at a new take. Case in point, a lot of people rejected the idea of the reboot simply because of its all-female cast. That complaint was ridiculous, but it nonetheless played its part in the movie's performance. Sadly there's little a filmmaker can do to make those complaints go away.
Secondly –– and perhaps more important –– there wasn't much interest in a new #Ghostbusters universe in the first place. In fact, one of the few people looking to make it happen was Dan Aykroyd. During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2014, for example, he expressed his intention to make an MCU-Ghostbusters franchise:
"It’s beyond just another sequel, a prequel, another TV show [...] The whole mythology from the beginning of their lives, the end of their lives. Ghostbusters at nine years old, Ghostbusters in high school [...] That’s the ambitious thinking that’s going on now. Taking on the model of Marvel where we take all of the elements that are in this movie and we put them out there as different ideas."
The truth is, there wasn't enough interest from the start to allow one movie to carry the entire weight of rebuilding the franchise.
So, no, Ghostbusters' failure is not on completely on Paul Feig. Perhaps the Ghostbusters will get their shot at the spotlight at some point in the future, but that time was clearly not now.
What do you think about Dan Aykroyd's comments about Paul Feig? Let me know in the comments.