In what’s likely being celebrated as a victory by franchise purists and internet misogynists, director Paul Feig’s controversial Ghostbusters reboot is now reported to be headed for a net loss of around $70 million at the box office, making the likelihood of a sequel less certain.
Although the studio announced after the film’s premiere that a sequel would indeed happen, Ghostbusters was never able to gain traction at the box office despite positive reviews from critics and general audiences. According to The Hollywood Reporter, projections now indicate that the movie will likely end up earning just shy of $225 million worldwide, almost $70 million short of what the studio previously indicated was the break-even point on the movie, which cost $144 million to make, a figure that doesn’t include large expenditures on marketing and distribution.
The report indicates that the studio will likely turn its focus to animated spinoffs on both the big screen and television, and shelve plans for a sequel to Feig’s live-action reboot of the franchise. Ever since it was first announced that Feig intended to feature a cast of four female leads in his spin on Ghostbusters, the project was beset by aggressive online campaigns to sink the film before cameras even began rolling. Purists angered by the decision to reboot the franchise instead of produce a sequel mounted a similarly aggressive, public campaign to derail the film well before it hit theaters, creating a perfect storm of negative buzz.
That doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for the sequel and the rebooted Ghostbusters universe, however.
In a response to the initial report on the film’s expected losses and the uncertainty of a sequel, Sony Pictures disputed the report’s numbers and conclusion. According to the studio, the additional revenue generated by the film outside of the box office — including new theme park attractions, toy lines, and even interest in the 1984 original movie — go a long way toward covering any box-office deficit the film will incur.
“This loss calculation is way off,” a representative of Sony told The Hollywood Reporter. “With multiple revenue streams, including consumer products, gaming, location-based entertainment, continued international rollout, and huge third-party promotional partnerships that mitigated costs, the bottom line, even before co-financing, is not remotely close to that number.”
As of this date, Ghostbusters has earned $117.2 million domestically and $62.8 million overseas for a grand total of $180 million worldwide. The film has yet to open in France, Japan, and Mexico.
Beyond the live-action universe, the Ghostbusters: Ecto Force animated series is targeting a 2018 premiere, and a Ghostbusters animated feature is expected to hit theaters in 2019.
“We’re very proud of the bold movie Paul Feig made, which critics and audiences loved,” a studio representative told THR. “It has enlivened a 30-year-old brand and put it into the modern zeitgeist. As a result, we have many ideas in the works to further exploit the Ghostbusters universe.”