In just two more days, Paul Feig’s hotly debated reboot of Ghostbusters finally hits theaters. After months and months of endless online back and forth about the film’s merits – or lack thereof – the finished product will soon be available for moviegoers to appraise and perhaps learn that their individually held preconceptions either for or against the project were misguided.
Unfortunately, the jury is still out on just how well Ghostbusters will perform at the box office, with a projected opening weekend haul of only $50 million on a $144 million budget. Thankfully for Feig and Sony, a good financial omen may have just arrived for Ghostbusters.
Variety reports that the reboot has sold more advance tickets on the popular website Fandango than any other live-action 2016 comedy to date. According to the stats, Ghostbusters’ advance sales are outpacing prior hit 2016 comedies like Ride-Along 2 and Central Intelligence by a healthy margin. Additionally, Ghostbusters has sold more advance tickets than Feig’s three previous efforts with his arguable creative muse Melissa McCarthy – those being Bridesmaids (which also starred fellow Ghostbuster Kristen Wiig), The Heat, and Spy.
That said, despite these positive advance numbers, a $50 million opening weekend box office haul for such a high-budgeted blockbuster may not be a very desirable outcome by any means, especially with today’s news that the film won’t see theatrical release in China. The Chinese film market is one of the most lucrative out there, and has led to profits for multiple films that didn’t perform so well stateside, with two good examples being Guillermo del Toro’s monster mash Pacific Rim and last year’s poorly-reviewed Terminator: Genisys. While a fantasy comedy probably wouldn’t have as high a ceiling in China as a blast-em-up actioner like Terminator, it’s still a big loss for Ghostbusters’ potential overseas grosses.
For its part, Sony is perhaps concerned about just how well Ghostbusters will do on its opening weekend, as the studio has been publicly downplaying expectations to between $38 and $40 million, despite other sources projecting the $50 million figure cited above.
While Ghostbusters will likely make some type of profit by the time merchandise sales and home video buys are factored into the equation, the real question is whether or not Sony will opt to press forward with its long discussed Ghostbusters cinematic universe plan. After all, the general axiom is that a movie needs to double its budget to break even, and the chances of Ghostbusters doing so in theaters now seem very slim. Sony may not be afraid of no ghosts, but they might end up being afraid of Ghostbusters’ box office receipts.
Ghostbusters arrives in U.S. theaters on July 15, 2016.