Sony Pictures has revealed to us that the cost of reshoots for 2016’s Ghostbusters reboot were $3-4 million and not the $30-40 million that actor Dan Aykroyd had previously claimed. Aykroyd recently laid into Paul Feig on the UK’s Sunday Brunch chat show, saying that the Ghostbusters director “spent too much on it”, thereby severely limiting the film’s ability to recoup its massive budget.
The Ghostbusters reboot, which starred Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Kristen Wiig, was bombarded with controversy before, during and after its release, ultimately taking in $229 million worldwide. With a budget of $140 million, the film failed to reach the sort of box office numbers that constitute a hit, though it did fare well with critics and audiences alike. Unfortunately, without sufficiently recouping its budget, the odds of Sony backing a sequel now appear quite slim.
“Sony has a strong relationship with Paul Feig, and we have incredible respect for his work. The cost of reshoots were 3-4 million.” Confirmed by the studio.
The official update highlights a huge difference in cost estimates. Aykroyd, who co-wrote the original Ghostbusters movie, was also given an executive producer credit on the remake, meaning he should have had a solid understanding of what was being spent on the film and why. That being said, Sony financed the movie and would have had to okay any extra spending that took place, including reshoots.
At this point, it is hard to say exactly how Ghostbusters’ somewhat weak box office numbers will effect the franchise but a big part of the business also includes TV and home video revenues that we don't have numbers on. Upon its release, Sony was already expecting to roll out a sequel and much time/energy was spent defending the film, in addition to promoting it. It’s likely that there isn’t one singular reason why Ghostbusters failed to gross as much as expected; nevertheless, Sony is reported to be continuing the franchise by way of an animated Ghostbusters TV series and animated Ghostbusters film, rather than a live-action sequel. It will indeed be interesting to see whether these efforts manage to maintain interest in the Ghostbusters brand or whether the concept simply has limited appeal in the 21st Century.
One thing is for certain – as of this writing, Paul Feig has yet to weigh in on Aykroyd’s accusations of overspending. It’s particularly disheartening however, that a mere day before Aykroyd’s spot on Sunday Brunch, Feig had retweeted a fan’s photo of the two men together, adding the caption “I love this too. What a great man Dan Aykroyd is. It’s an honor to know him.” For Aykroyd to publicly rake Feig over the coals in this manner seems more than a little unprofessional. At the very least, it certainly isn’t something one would do to a dear friend.
No one likes to see their film not perform well, especially someone like Aykroyd, who coined the idea for Ghostbusters back in the '80s and likely has a strong personal attachment to it. Should Sony decide at some later date that Ghostbusters deserves a sequel, it’s hard to see Feig returning – though he has expressed a willingness to do so – but anything can happen in Hollywood and if the two upcoming animated Ghostbusters projects connect with viewers, the future just might bring us another Ghostbusters live-action movie.