The most controversial movie of the year hits theaters this week.
It doesn’t involve politics, abortion or other white-hot issues. It’s about four women who fight ghosts to save the world.
How did we get here?
It started when the reboot of the beloved 1984 comedy cast four women, not men, as the Ghostbusting quartet. That isn’t bad on the surface. Heck, it’s a clever way to distinguish the reboot from the source material.
It still rankled some hardcore fans. Yet that’s far from the film’s only trouble spot.
Here are five reasons why audiences may take a pass on the film when it opens July 15. This has nothing to do with the film’s quality, mind you. The reboot is now a part of the culture wars, plain and simple. It’s also a movie with some serious red flags.
1. That Trailer
The first “Ghostbusters” trailer became the most disliked movie preview in YouTube history? That’s not fair, since we’ve already suffered through many movie trailers that were clearly worse. Yet given the expectations attached to the film, that awful trailer deserved that chilly reception. Plus, in 2016 movie trailers matter. We eagerly await them, pore over every detail and share them with friends via social media. When the “Ghostbusters” trailer landed with a thud, everyone heard it.
2. Who Needs to Be Lectured?
The media has been rallying around the movie ever since the casting news hit the web. It’s Hollywood’s attempt to balance the gender scales at long last. There’s some truth to that. Hollywood remains a male-dominated industry. Yet movie lovers who approached “Ghostbusters” with skepticism were instantly labeled as “haters” or even “misogynists.” Movies should be a fun experience, the ultimate in escapism. Getting lectured at for hating a trailer is the exact opposite.
3. It Was a Bad Idea in the First Place
Hollywood has been working on a “Ghostbusters” project for some time. The original film’s cast toyed with a number of scripts, although co-star Bill Murray appeared consistently reluctant to revisit the property. Years passed with no resolution, despite the potential riches tied to the brand. Finally, the all-female “Ghostbusters” plans came forward. Maybe there’s a reason Hollywood hemmed and hawed over the idea. It was a great concept at the time, but the culture has moved on.
4. We Don’t Even Want the Toys
The New York Post recently reported that Target is discounting “Ghostbusters” toys days before the film even opens. This reporter confirmed that account. If consumers aren’t gobbling up “Ghostbusters”-related merchandise, it could mean they don’t have an appetite for the actual film.
@Lesdoggg @melissamccarthy Why in the hell are Ghostbuster toys on clearance before the freaking movie comes out! pic.twitter.com/OWKe7h3qoi
— boo_blair (@cooke_blair) July 5, 2016
5. Reboot Fatigue
Audiences are fickle when it comes to Hollywood reboots. We apparently were overjoyed to return to Jurassic Park, given the sizable box office haul for last summer’s “Jurassic World.” Yet not all reboots get a similar welcome. We still love the original “Ghostbusters,” but perhaps we prefer it was left alone and not recast as a commercial franchise.