Filmmaker Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy will be back working together on the Ghostbusters reboot, not long after their new film Spy (which is generating positive early buzz) arrives in theaters. The duo's latest collaboration represents the biggest challenge they've tackled to date - not just in terms of the reported budget, but also the expectations surrounding this revival/reset of the beloved Ghostbusters property on the big screen.
Sony is hoping that Ghostbusters (2016) will prove popular enough to kick-off a new set of movies (or, if you prefer, a Ghostbusters Cinematic Universe), with a Channing Tatum-headlined spinoff already in development. Thus, the movie will need to be able to compete with other studio tentpoles that blend action/comedy with big special effects (like Marvel Studios' productions) - which is why ex-Sony head Amy Pascal green-lit the project with a $167 million price tag.
THR is reporting that the Ghostbusters budget has been lowered to $150-154 million - by way of some tweaks made to the screenplay by Katie Dippold (The Heat) - per the wishes of Sony's new film studio chief, Tom Rothman. Part of the budget will cover the salaries for Feig and McCarthy, who are now able to command $10 million and $14 million paydays, as a result of them each having accumulated multiple commercial hits under their belts (Bridesmaids, The Heat, etc.) - with Spy already gearing up to become another hit for the duo.
That still leaves plenty of funding to cover the salaries of McCarthy's costars - Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon - as well as the CGI necessary to bring the film's nasty ghosts, specters, and related poltergeists to life on the big screen. For comparison's sake, the original Ghostbusters movie (released in 1984) cost $30 million to produce. Just goes to show how much the game in Hollywood has changed since then, doesn't it?
Feig has said he and Dippold are working on a Ghostbusters movie that's not only a hard reboot of the franchise, but also one that aims to be a proper horror (read: scary) comedy too. The filmmaker and his collaborators have progressively stepped up their game over the past few years, moving from banter-heavy comedy material to the more visually-sophisticated espionage parody Spy, and now Ghostbusters - meaning, fingers crossed, Feig's filmmaking skills have grown sharp enough that he's now up for this new challenge.
Much of the discussion about the Ghostbusters reboot thus far has been focused on the controversial "gender-swapping" casting, but hopefully now the conversation will shift to topics like the film's technical qualities - and just what a 21st century-made Ghostbusters should be like. There's no guarantee that Feig's new movie will join the list of successful reboots (and, in turn, kick off a Shared Universe), but the strong talent involved here gives fair reason to be (cautiously) optimistic.
Ghostbusters opens in U.S. theaters on July 22nd, 2016.