Let me start this article by stating that I'm a Paul Feig fan. So please feel free to grab your torches and pitchforks now and head straight to the comments section without further reading. Actually, please don't, I'm pretty sensitive.
In my opinion, Feig's long career of hilarious films and his pioneering of strong, dynamic female characters positions him in the upper echelon of comedic auteurs. With a filmography that boasts critically acclaimed titles like Freaks and Geeks, Arrested Development, The Office, Bridesmaids, The Heat and Spy, his work in the comedy genre has been nothing short of outstanding. That being said, brilliant man that he is, he also has a history of releasing pretty crappy trailers.
Of its 32 million views on YouTube, the first Ghostbusters trailer is currently tallying at over 238,000 likes, but is far outweighed by its 804,000 dislikes, quickly making the trailer the No. 12 most disliked video on YouTube and the most disliked movie trailer of all time.
In the midst of the firestorm surrounding the first trailer, even Melissa McCarthy reached out and expressed her confusion over the footage used in the initial Ghostbuster sneak peek, telling the Johnjay & Rich show (via Rolling Stone):
"It's a reboot, not a remake. I know it's weird that they say [in the trailer] ‘30 years ago,’ but in this movie it's like the first one didn't happen. It's a great story but told totally differently. It's the same thing of four unlikely heroes, it's in New York City, ghosts are taking over. It's the same classic story, but it's not a '30 years later.’ … Believe me, the question was asked. I think it's very confusing."
Today, the second official trailer for Feig and Sony's Ghostbusters movie dropped and, unsurprisingly, it was met with far more backlash than praise.
Having already amassed 20,000 dislikes and only 4,000 likes, it's clear Sony is going to have one hell of a time getting the masses to support the female-driven Ghostbusters.
While I didn't hate the trailers — and found the second to be a big improvement on the first — I can see where some of the nonsexist criticisms stemmed from. And, true, neither trailers have been a barrel of laughs. But isn't it better to have a comedy that keeps some of the jokes for the movie instead of whoring all of them out for the trailer?
As my Movie Pilot colleague Alisha Grauso had astutely pointed out, Feig doesn't have a problem releasing funny comedies; rather, he has an issue releasing funny trailers. Feig even addressed this issue with Famous Monsters of Filmland (via ScreenRant) magazine stating:
“My movies, for some reason, are really hard to do trailers for, because my comedy all comes from context, really. I’m not the guy who’s like joke-joke-joke, and here’s a one-liner one-liner one-liner. I do have those, but you have to get to know the characters, you have to settle in with them to get to know their personalities, saying, ‘Oh, that’s funny because that character doesn’t normally do this.’ … That said, I liked what the first trailer was, and we’re going to have the new trailer that we’re putting together now that I’m really excited about, too, which shows a little more of the scope. … But people are always going to react the way they’re going to react, and that’s the joy and the terribleness of the Internet.”
For example, take a look at this one for his 2011 hit Bridesmaids:
It's not an abomination by any means, but it had plenty of audiences doubting Feig's comedy finesse. But after earning $288.4 million at the box office and polling at 90 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes, it's clear that the trailer doesn't do the film justice.
For yet another example of bafflingly unfunny Feig trailers, see the one below for his movie Spy, released last year:
As much as I love Feig, I hated this damn trailer with a passion, and all of the movie's marketing. For the first time, I was convinced by the number of eye rolls they elicited that I would have to sit this one out.
But when the overwhelmingly positive reviews started rolling in and it earned a Rotten Tomatoes score of 94 percent fresh, I just had to check Spy out. What resulted from my initially reluctant viewing became another testament to the partnership between McCarthy and Feig.
There are few comedic directors who have been met with the level of critical and commercial success that Feig has. With his team comprised of McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, I have a difficult time seeing why alleged "fans" of the Ghostbusters franchise are meeting these trailers with such unbridled hatred.
I guess one could argue that they're "ruining our childhoods," but I'm also hard-pressed to see how a new movie could tarnish the memory of the 1984 classic. Are our memories so fragile that simply abstaining from seeing the movie isn't enough?
In the interview with Famous Monsters of Filmland (via Collider), Feig addressed the vitriolic internet response to the trailers, and simply asked that we either give Ghostbusters a chance, or don't see it at all:
"All I can ask is, people, either give us a chance, or you don’t have to see it. I’m really proud of it. … I think it’s fun. I’m so proud of my cast. I think the cast is so good, and they can stand in the footsteps of who came before, because they’re such funny people but they’re different. That’s all you really want out of a comedy at the end of the day, is something different and new, and to just see great people do it.”
Hate it, love it, see it or don't, it's all a case of personal opinion. But let's not let those opinions ruin the good time for people who want to see Feig's take on a comedy classic.
In the end, I'm not here to try to change anyone's mind. If you're already dead set on hating this new Ghostbusters, then I don't think my opinion can or should sway yours. But — as ass backwards as it may seem — I think that Feig's history of poorly marketed films indicates that there's plenty of hope for the new Ghostbusters reboot.
Ghostbusters will premiere on July 15.