Please Hollywood, don't blame the women!
From the moment the Ghostbusters remake was announced, the trouble started.
As fans of the original, we had heard time and time again there was going to be a 3rd one, a sequel, but with Harold Ramis' tragic passing and Bill Murray wanting nothing to do with it, we all assumed, "Well, I guess that's put all this sequel talk to rest! Let's get on with our lives."
Then, instead, the word came down that we were getting a remake.
Now the media has focused on, time and time again, the hurtful, idiotic, despicable and irrational actions of a few misogynistic bigots. It was hard, among the din, to figure it all out. As "Trump's America" collides with the, sometimes, admittedly, overly sensitive PC crowd, the real voices get lost under the din.
The studio, or the media, or both, at this point decided to play a game of "you're either with us or a misogynist, sad, fat, fan bro who thinks remakes rape his childhood and women shouldn't be Ghostbusters." Everything nowadays is horrendously black and white and it becomes tiresome to try and untangle the spin.
There is no denying that some people are complete fucking idiots and the anonymity of social media gives them carte blanche to say whatever they please. However, as Red Letter Media showed so well in their video on this subject, there is also no denying that the people against this film for negative, hateful, misguided and ignorant reasons were a relative minority.
Most of the people I spoke to about it, when that first, infamous, most down-voted, trailer on YouTube dropped, simply said the CGI looked crap and the trailer wasn't funny. My opinion, if anyone cares at this point, is that any Ghostbusters remake is pointless, I generally hate remakes and yeah, that CGI looked really fucking bad and that trailer was not funny.
Let me be clear that I love the cast and would happily watch them all in anything other than a remake. I even like Paul Feig's films, The Heat and Spy etc. were great. Let's also say that nobody in the cast needed to be in a remake to have a hit either. They were all having hits in their careers, in some way or other, without this.
Now, the film has come out and, like most remakes of beloved properties, the response is a resounding 'meh'. Some people liked it, laughed, didn't care it was a remake and thought "hey, it's a family, summer comedy that everyone can enjoy and it took me away from my troubles for 2 hours" and other people didn't like it because the CGI was crap and it wasn't funny. Go figure.
The 'Ghostbusters being women' thing never came up as a negative. Nor should it. EVER.
Let's be clear, just for a moment, this could've been a sequel. You could've basically made the same film but called it Ghostbusters Return or Ghostbusters 3 or whatever. You have the remaining, original cast handing over to the new group of women or the new group of women being in a different city, the ghosts going national instead of New York based, and the GBs start franchising or something. While I bet, ultimately, the reaction would've largely been the same, more people would've gone to see it and the supposed furor over gender and race, which was really a furor over it being a REMAKE, need never have come up.
We are now seeing, as the dust settles, articles like this one in iHorror.com or this one in the Hollywood Reporter that are saying the film is heading for a substantial loss and no sequel will be coming. Considering the film just came out, Hollywood must, misguidedly and ignorantly, still think all a film's money has to be made in the first week but whatever...
The 'inside-studio source' that's being quoted in the iHorror.com article says this about why the film may have failed:
What's being said there is very interesting and very telling. The fact that it was 'hard to get filmmakers to become involved' indicates that individual creatives are far more savvy than the companies they have to work for but there's two lines especially that stick out to me:
"I guess there are some films that just shouldn't be touched" and "there's a feeling that casting women in the role may have been a mistake".
"There's a feeling" is the same as Trump's "They say things" or "People tell me". It's vague bullshit. People HATED the idea of a new Ghostbusters when the original plan was to have Seth Rogen, Bill Hader et al. taking on the roles. You could've cast Doug the Pug and sodding Grumpy Cat in it and it wouldn't have made a difference! The remake bubble is bursting. I hope.
Action and genre film fans in general know that the word around Hollywood is that you can't cast females in a lead role in action or genre films. This is the reason there was no Black Widow movie made at Marvel, or so we are told. The Hunger Games franchise, Melissa McCarthy & Paul Feig's The Heat and Luc Besson's Lucy would all say otherwise of course.
There's also suddenly a rash of films (Oceans 8, The Expendabelles) that are remakes or spin offs being made with female-centric casts, which in the wake of Ghostbusters might probably be re-thought. The trend should not be to try and redo what men have done before with women but instead develop new and interesting films for females and diverse casts. The trend should not be towards remakes and reboots but rather to original content. (Accepting of course that nothing is really ever original but please, pedants, you know what I mean.)
Remakes are such a cul-de-sac anyway. They are a product of this, 'I want to make money now and screw the future' generation. Not one single remake in recent times has or will stand the test of time. Even the ones that were praised as 'not being completely shit' on their first release.
As a horror fan I have seen everything from A Nightmare on Elm Street to I Spit On Your Grave remade and as a horror fan I don't see one social media group or website or forum or reddit thread that is talking about these remakes and thus solidifying their place in history. Kids who don't know any better go see them because horror plays and sells, always has and fans go see them on the hope that they're 'not completely shit'.
When they are 'not completely shit' like the general consensus is on the Dawn of the Dead remake that got Hack Snyder his start or, more recently, the Evil Dead remake (I personally hated DOTD remake and refuse to see ED but whatever), they're maybe discussed momentarily but then, as the producers of Ash Vs Evil Dead have attested to, the fans want the real thing eventually. Close lads, but no cigar.
This is a trend we are seeing time and time again and will probably continue to see as Hollywood most definitely looks down their nose on the horror/genre crowd BUT when it comes to Ghostbusters you're talking about a film that everyone for 3 generations adores. An undisputed classic, a film still quoted repeatedly, the film that still gives Bill Murray his fame and fandom, a film still playing on midnight screenings and theatrical re-releases all the time, a film whose toys and merchandise still sell through the roof and a film that because it came out after the advent of video, has been readily available for the last 30 years since it came out on all recorded media. You can see some money man looking at that and saying "why aren't we still in the Ghostbusters business?! make a new one someone!" without a) realising they're still in the Ghostbusters business and b) maybe there'll be some backlash if we don't get this right.
It was doomed, as I said at the beginning, from the start and now, Hollywood maths being what it is, it won't even start to make money unless it breaks $400 million.
So if Hollywood is at all smart then they will take that first line by the 'inside source' to be true: "I guess there are some films that just shouldn't be touched" (I would say most- all films shouldn't be touched but one step at a time) and if Hollywood is stupid and listens to a tiny, vocal, moronic minority they'll blame the women.
Please Hollywood, don't blame the women.