The boy who was 6 when he first visited the original Ghostbusters set is getting a chance to make a new Ghostbusters movie. The world of Ghostbusters has been in Jason Reitman’s blood since before his father, Ivan Reitman, finished directing the original movie, and he’s going to bring that world to life in time for the Summer of 2020. This is a good sign, right? Why am I so conflicted?
I’m not here to do an autopsy report on the 2016 Feig-directed Ghostbusters movie starring Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kristen Wiig, but I am rather disappointed how the initial news of Reitman’s Ghostbusters is blatantly distancing itself from the 2016 iteration that 1000% took place in its own universe, absolutely unconnected from everything before it, basically implying it can take a long walk and no one will miss it. This is my major sticking point: the studio drama behind the franchise, and how easy it is to casually sidestep sexism.
I should be excited that Jason Reitman is taking his internalized love of the material and putting it through the paces of his now-seasoned directorial skill set. I should be excited by how we’re getting a new take on Ghostbusters set in the same continuity as the original. On its own merits, I bet this movie is going to be fantastic, and worth having as many eyeballs watch it as possible.
But the same can be said for the 2016 version. I mean, come on. How many casts are half as funny as those four actresses? I feel like Sony put that movie in its own universe (and hampered how far it could stray from the original concept) to hedge its bets. If that movie did well, they’d be seen as the most progressive company in the known world. If it didn’t do well, they could do exactly what they’re doing.
I’m going to make myself be as optimistic about this as possible; Studio meddling is a fact of life with giant franchises. Just ask Edgar Wright about his Ant Man experience. It’s how the people actively making their tent-pole movies transcend their situation. I am willing to give this new Ghostbusters a chance. The Summer of 2020 may have a new classic in its midst.
I am also willing, however much a long shot, to leave the door open to the possibility that Sony hasn’t completely written off the 2016 Ghostbusters. After all, there’s also an animated Ghostbusters movie currently in production that is set in its own self-contained universe. I know Sony is hedging its bets on this as well —If it flops I can see them saying “Animated movies just don’t do well anymore, but look, we tried” —, but if the animated movie does well enough Sony will have three iterations of Ghostbusters they can create new stories from, and they’d be smart to pull all of it together in a Spider-Verse way. If the animated movie does well, it might make it easier to have even crazier concepts in the future. An Odd Squad-style kids-as-Ghostbusters show would make for an amazing afternoon program, for one thing. We may be seeing same-as-it-ever-was, but if we embrace Ghostbusters no matter what it looks like, we can convince the studio there’s money in it for them to embrace its limitless possibilities.
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