There’s always plenty of blame to go around when a big-budget film doesn’t live up to expectations, but the buck tends to stop with the guy or gal in the director’s chair. While last year’s Ghostbusters reboot was relatively well-received by critics, moviegoers weren’t as keen on the film judging by its box-office take. As a result, plans for an updated franchise were waylaid and the blame game was off to the races.
Though the pot had been relatively stagnant in recent months, OG (original Ghostbuster) Dan Aykroyd stirred it — appropriately enough — on Sunday Brunch, a British morning show that features culinary creations and celebrity guests. When the hosts brought up the future of Sony’s prized franchise on yesterday’s show, the actor was careful to praise the performances of the new generation of paranormal exterminators, and instead focused his criticism on director Paul Feig. Still, what he had to say may just have PR-conscious studio execs asking: “What did you do, Ray?”
— Ross Maclean (@ross_maclean) June 4, 2017
Here’s the full text:
“The girls are great in it. Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig — what wonderful, wonderful players they are — and Leslie Jones. I was really happy with the movie, but it cost too much. And Sony does not like to lose money. It made a lot of money around the world but it just cost too much, making it economically not feasible to do another one. So it’s too bad. You know, the director, he spent too much on it. And 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, yea. So he will not be back on the Sony lot any time soon.”
If you’re looking for a one-line postmortem on the reboot, it’s “Sony does not like to lose money.” Ultimately, this franchise was derailed not because of the quality of film, but because the numbers just didn’t add up. That isn’t because nobody went to see the film, but because it didn’t attract a wide enough audience to justify its substantial production/marketing budgets.
If you believe Aykroyd’s version of events, Feig was more than a little bit cavalier with the allocated dollars and cents. According to Deadline, however, Sony is disputing his math, claiming that the reshoots he referenced actually cost between $3 and $4 million.
As it stands, the future of big-screen ghostbusting is in doubt, but Sony is still heavily invested in the property, with an animated TV series in the works and a separate division of its studio (Ghost Corps) working on churning out a variety of projects. Stay tuned.