As a rule, I’m not the target audience for remakes. The Magnificent Seven? Saw it already. Ben Hur? Saw it already. Ghostbusters? Saw it already and don’t need to see it again. There’s already enough reboots and sequels and relaunches already. Doesn’t anyone want to make a few original movies to break up the monotony?
Ghostbusters 2016 is first out of the chute with an-all female cast led by Melissa McCarthy and some Saturday Night Live escapees. Good luck when you’re redoing a favorite of many (not me)but they’re off to a bad start because the first trailer was atrocious. Every joke fell flat and none of the actresses did anything to make you forget the original crew.
The negativity was so harsh it sparked a backlash where the counter-charge became the movie was getting so much hate due to four women replacing the four men in the original. Sexism and even a little racism has to considered contributing factors, and maybe it didn’t deserve all the hatred it got, but when you’re remaking an all-time favorite like Ghostbusters, you gotta come strong and that trailer was weak. How weak? It set a record as the most disliked trailer ever on You Tube.
A lousy movie trailer is not necessarily an indicator the movie is going to blow, but the purpose is to generate interest, not memes. A trailer is supposed to do one thing: generate interest in an upcoming film and on every level the Ghostbusters trailer fails. I did not laugh, did not crack a smile and if I had little interest before I have none now and it’s not sexist to say the new Ghostbusters just doesn’t look funny. It’s certainly possible misogyny is the reason behind all the scorn, but so is not delivering any laughs.
Director Kevin Smith put the blame right where it belonged:
Whoever cut this trailer needs to be sat down, and I’m not going to call for their job to be taken away from them but they need to be scolded. It could’ve been all men with the same jokes, and it still would have sucked. The trailer’s not strong, and that doesn’t mean the movie’s gonna blow, like again the fucking pedigree of this movie is undeniable. There’s no way all these people involved don’t make a fucking funny, at least watchable fun movie.
The true is the original Ghostbusters was an occasionally funny, but mostly dry comedy when Bill Murray wasn’t saying something sardonic. It’s not a classic. Blazing Saddles is a classic and I don’t remember anything about Ghostbusters 2.
The studios tried for years to get Murray to do Ghostbusters 3. He wouldn’t do it. Murray had fallen out hard with Harold Ramis, his one-time collaborator and friend during the making of Groundhog Day and they didn’t speak for 21 years though Murray reconciled with Ramis before his death. Dan Aykroyd and director Ivan Reitman tried to talk Murray into doing Ghostbusters 3, but he steadfastly refused any and all offers. There was talk of making the movie without Murray but they realized that made about as much sense as a Led Zeppelin reunion without Robert Plant.
So why do an all-female Ghostbusters? Maybe because Melissa McCarthy is the biggest name in movie comedies today and she wants to do it and is safe to say she wanted Leslie Jones for the ordinary Joe character Ernie Hudson played. Nobody suffered worse than Jones as she depicted as the Big Loud Scary Black Lady You Don’t Want Yelling At You. They could have made her one of the scientists, but that was a leap in logic too far for the screenwriters to make. If Zoe Saldana were the official Person of Color maybe she gets to be a scientist. Sisters who look like Jones get to be Big Loud Scary Black Lady. That’s a role Hollywood is comfortable giving Black actresses.
The new trailer was designed to take some of the stank off of its predecessor. Now not having a rooting interest for or against the new Ghostbusters means I don’t care if it’s a hit or a flop. I’m not a fan of McCarthy as she seems to specialize in playing variations of the same character; the overweight woman who curses, does gross stuff, screeches, and falls down a lot. It’s a little familiar.
You can say a lot about Hollywood, but you can’t say they don’t know who they make their movies for. This is a Ghostbusters that never was made with me in mind. You can’t build a 2016 franchise on a 1984 audience. You don’t make stacks of cash depending on old dogs who may see your remake once. You want young pups who’ll go back to see it multiple times.
Which means instead of casting James Franco, Seth Rogan, Joshua Hill and whatever Black guy you want to whistle up, you do a 180 turn and turn the ghostbustin’ guys into ghostbustin’ gals. Maybe the movie transcends that rotten trailer. Maybe it turns out to be good and Jones goes on to rival McCarthy as a star (doubtful, but not impossible). Maybe I’ll buy a ticket and find out.
Now which of those “maybe’s” is the least likely?