At long last, the Ghostbusters reboot is finally here (read our review). The latest from director Paul Feig did just fine from a critical perspective, earning mostly positive write-ups from pundits. Many are more interested in seeing how it performs at the box office. Sony feels that the possibilities for sequels are "endless" and followups are something key members of the creative team would like to do. However, it all depends on how the first one does commercially.
Given Ghostbusters' status as a highly controversial project, it's been difficult to get a clear reading on its box office trajectory. Some estimates say it could end up anywhere between $38 - 50 million, while others think it could top out at $56 million and win the weekend. As it turns out, the former of those may be more correct, with the film aiming for an opening weekend squarely in the middle of those initial projections.
According to a report from Variety, Ghostbusters should make about $45 million in its first three days. It's expected to bring in around $18 million for Friday, July 15, which is $3 million more than The Secret Life of Pets. This would be a decent, yet somewhat unremarkable start for the movie, particularly one that turned into a "national debate" after it became a lightning rod for controversy when it was first announced.
It was never thought Ghostbusters would break any records, but this is arguably not what Sony was hoping for when they green lit a $144 million production based on an iconic property. The film isn't going to be a bomb, but it will face stiff competition in the coming weeks. Star Trek Beyond is now riding a wave of great buzz following the publishing of the first round of reviews. Action fans are excited for Matt Damon to return in Jason Bourne. And by now, everyone knows that Suicide Squad is a force to be reckoned with. There's a chance Ghostbusters gets lost in the shuffle as the season moves along. $45 million indicates that there's some interest, but demand isn't exactly through the roof.
In all likelihood, Ghostbusters is going to have to rely on the international grosses in order to turn the kind of sizable profit required to warrant further installments. This might be easier said than done since the remake will not be released in China, the second largest film market in the world. At the same time, some massive blockbusters have been barred from the country in the past and still turned out fine. Deadpool is a notable example that comes to mind, and that film ranks as the biggest R-rated movie of all-time. It goes to show that predicting box office results is not an exact science and anything can happen.
It will be fascinating to watch how this all unfolds. Where it stands now, Ghostbusters could be stuck in a tricky no-man's land when it comes to planning the future of the franchise. Feig's redux isn't an outright flop, so it's clear that there's still passion and enthusiasm from the fan base. On the other hand, it doesn't look like it's going to become a massive hit either. A clearer picture will emerge after its second weekend, and Sony can see how strong Ghostbusters' legs are. For now, all the studio can do is wait before moving ahead in one direction or another.
Ghostbusters is now playing in theaters.
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