The upcoming “Ghostbusters” reboot should be one of the summer’s sure-fire blockbusters.
The brand still rules. The film has been in development for some time, meaning the minds behind the project persevered knowing its commercial clout.
So what’s the problem?
The new “Ghostbusters” has some pretty large shoes to fill, no questions asked. The 1984 original is beloved for all the right reasons. And it solidified Bill Murray’s status as a comedy deity. That insanely catchy theme song did the rest.
The song just got lodged in your head again, didn’t it?
So remaking the film could seem like yet another Hollywood cash grab if not executed properly. No one wants their memories of Dr. Venkman and Co. spoiled by a lousy remake. Get it wrong, and you’ve got a group of surly “Ghostbusters” fans ready to vent on social media.
And then there’s the Gender War Factor.
The new “Ghostbusters” features four female heroes, a flip from the original casting choices. That led to some grumbling from “Ghostbusters” purists who found the gimmick unwelcome. Some said as much on Twitter, using social media’s crudest language possible.
The all-female cast isn’t a bad idea, if only to blaze a fresh path unencumbered by comparisons to Murray and crew.
That initial blowback set ablaze another, more infuriating culture war skirmish. The new film is now a cause celebre among feminists. Yes, girls can open movies just like boys can. So anyone critiquing the film on any level gets the Gender Card flicked in their faces.
Next page: the proof
The first “Ghostbusters” trailer dropped last month. The reaction was instantaneous … and underwhelming. The jokes fizzled. The gags seemed stale. Frankly, the trailer’s editing was second-rate, too.
And yet simply stating that opinion earned you a slap from select circles. Like the Washington Post.
Here’s the headline it gave to the stark reaction to the trailer: “People hate the ‘Ghostbusters’ trailer, and yes, it’s because it stars women.”
That kind of reaction does “Ghostbusters” no favors. The film must thrive on its own merit and ability to keep the brand alive. No one wants to be lectured about what they should, or shouldn’t, find amusing.
And then there’s the Microscope Factor. Some folks raged after seeing Leslie Jones, who is black, cast as a former subway worker turned Ghostbuster. Why didn’t the film cast Jones as a scientist, like her co-stars (Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy)?
That’s what happens when the PC Police start putting yellow tape around a film project.
Plenty can change between now and July 15, the film’s release date. A second trailer could pack more quality laughs. The gender-war rhetoric could slowly fade. And the hunger to reboot a franchise many parents grew up with could overwhelm everything else.
If not, this “surefire” blockbuster could be one of the summer’s biggest duds.
Christian Toto is a freelance writer and editor of HollywoodInToto.com