When it comes to movies in 2016, one of the most surprising controversies has been that surrounding Ghostbusters. The decision to produce a new version of Ghostbusters starring four women has sparked a backlash, and a backlash to the backlash, and an additional backlash from those arguing that the backlash itself had been somewhat overstated.
After a couple of trailers that were less-than enthusiastically received, the new Ghostbusters arrives this week, and the early reviews have been mixed-to-positive, with the Tomatometer score at 78 percent based on the first 59 reviews posted to Rotten Tomatoes. And while audience reactions to the new movie are yet to be determined, it sounds like the makers of the movie are committed to the franchise long-term.
Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment's motion picture group, declared himself “excited as hell” by the movie, when interviewed at the premiere by THR. Meanwhile Amy Pascal, the former Sony studio head and Ghostbusters’ producer, predicted a long-running franchise:
"It's going to be endless. People are going to love this movie so much that's they're going to demand more and more."
According to tracking last month, also from THR, Ghostbusters is looking at a domestic opening weekend in the $40 or $50 million range, which is solid but not record-breaking. Whether the film has box office staying power beyond the opening weekend will likely come down to a matter of word of mouth, as will the question of whether the film performs well enough to produce sequels.
Will Ghostbusters actually be a hit? It’s important to remember that while the "Ghostbusters Wars" have been a major topic of discussion on Twitter and other such social media forums throughout much of this year, a large chunk of the people deciding whether or not to see the film in theaters aren’t part of that discussion - and likely won’t be basing their decision on whether or not to see the film on any type of political consideration or argument made by anonymous commenters.
Then again, it’s probably not that much of a ringing endorsement that the studio head and producer of the film believe in a film and are positive it will be a hit - it’s kind of their job to say that. And considering how much time and effort it took to make the third Ghostbusters movie a reality, it may be easier said than done to get more sequels made afterwards. Time will tell, of course.
Ghostbusters arrives in U.S. theaters on July 15th, 2016.