Dan Aykroyd has slammed director Paul Feig for his overspending on the Ghostbusters reboot, which he believes is the main factor for the lack of a sequel. 2016’s remake of the comedy classic was a controversial prospect pre-release online for its gender-swapped casting and decision to completely ignore the 1984 original, although it did at least get that first film’s stars back for cameos and to endorse the project.
In the end, while reviews were more positive than the pre-release word, the film failed to connect at the box office, with finishing its theatrical run on $229 million. With a production budget of $144 million, that meant the film failed to make a profit (movies conventionally need to make back double that number to account for marketing and other costs) and has thus put plans for a sequel on hold. While the backlash can take some of the blame, an original star has his crosshairs set on the director.
Speaking on Sunday Brunch, Dan Aykroyd discussed the film and after praising its stars made some damning comments about Paul Feig; he claims the director didn’t listen to suggestions from the film’s producers and thus the project went vastly over-budget, with reshoots costing around a third of the whole total. You can read the full quote and see a recording of the statement below.
“The girls are great in it. Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig – what a 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 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.”
The statement was reportedly edited down severely when the show was rebroadcast on the Channel 4 +1 service, suggesting someone wasn’t too happy with the actor’s comments. Aykroyd of course starred in the film with a brief cameo as a taxi driver who “ain’t afraid of no ghosts” and was very supportive of the project during its promotion, so his sudden outburst seems to be a result of annoyance at Hollywood politics getting in the way of there being more movies. Indeed, his positivity about the actual quality seems to have been maintained.
Interestingly, this is the first time someone involved with the film has come out and spoken directly against Feig’s direction; he’s been mostly upbeat about the experience (bar the backlash), even initially expressing an interest in returning for a sequel. However, it’s not the first time recently that Sony’s bottom line has been raised; the studio lost $719 million in 2016 (in part due to Ghostbusters) so strong reactions to an under-performing film are expected. It’s likewise not the only recent release to have a modest box office ruined by inflated budget, with the same problem hurting Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword.
The big reveal here, though, is the cost of the film’s reshoots. Extensive additional shooting was reported in the months leading up to release, suggesting a response to the criticisms (including a joke directly reacting to the online hate), and now it appears they were much bigger and impactful than previously though. What exactly they are is unclear, but based on the cost it likely relates to the CGI-heavy final act (which already had a dance number obviously shifted to the end credits) and had a significant impact on the overall story.
The future of the Ghostbusters at this point is unclear, with progress quiet on the animated film expected to replace a conventional sequel. One thing’s seeming certain, however – Paul Feig won’t be back if Aykroyd has any say in it.
Source: Sunday Brunch [via Ross MacLean]