Whenever we are discussing racial issues that are facing in society, there is always a certainty that some sort of backlash is expected to surface, and sometimes the sort of vitriolic doctrines have literally poisoned the original intent of civil rights movement. As for Hollywood, the perception of men’s-exclusive club may have seemed to be a reality, and while it has been the case for the longest time, the progress of gender equality has been inching towards relevancy as of late. Having said that, not everything is a rosy as one might think, and a certain section of movie fandom at-large have taken actions via spreading less than stellar comments towards anyone and everyone who don’t agree with them, and some comments were so vile that the backlash against those who made backlash toward progressiveness have utterly torn the movie fandom apart. As we have witnessed the sorts of backlash against the new Star Wars movies and a few others, the ugly side has reared once again with the announcement of “Ghostbusters 3” by locking away the 2016 “re-boot” of Ghostbusters while returning towards the original timeline that Ghostbusters 2 left off. The reaction was, to say the least, not at the kindest while the likes of the cast of 2016 version, particularly by Leslie Jones, made below comments, in which an indy film producer like Andrew Todd agreed with:
- So insulting. Like fuck us. We dint count. It’s like something trump would do. (Trump voice)”Gonna redo ghostbusteeeeers, better with men, will be huge. Those women ain’t ghostbusteeeeers” ugh so annoying. Such a dick move. And I don’t give fuck I’m saying something!!
- Leslie Jones tells the truth.
- Boy, I would’ve thought the Ghostbros got all their hate out of their system three years ago, but nope, comments suggest there’s more bullshit where that came fromhttps://t.co/oqDvl44ieo
— Andrew Todd (@mistertodd) January 20, 2019
At the same token, despite I was reminded by former WCW Executive/WWE performer Eric Bischoff on this quote (something to the sort):
- Liar uses number to justify their excuses for failures
— Eric Bischoff
Yet, numbers don’t lie as much as those who have their own perspective when using number/statistics, and in the case of the 2016 Ghostbusters, as much as I appreciated the efforts of the entire cast working on a project that, frankly, most fans (myself included) would rather have the next sequel on the original timeline, whether it’s in a direct sequel that had been rumored for the last two decades before the reboot, or a “passing of the torch” with the new generation of the team, instead of what we have. While I totally understand why the decision of rebooting this belove franchise was made, the execution of the movie (though I felt the visual effect is an “upgrade” to the original) was rather poor, and the box office showed how disappointing the movie was. So why has the decision of reverting back to the original timeline become as controversial as the backlash got instead? What really happened that led to the initial decision that ended up in such a failure? Let’s take a look.
First, we must understand this important terminology with regards to any sorts of entertainment and hospitality industry which includes sports and movies: it’s a “RESULT-ORIENTED BUSINESS“, which means it runs by meritocracy in how much revenues being generated by how good your products are. For instance, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly with Avengers: Infinity Wars, Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War, and the first Avengers movie, have generated, at least in my estimation, approximately $1.2 billion in gross box office worldwide, whereas the above-mentioned movie generated in a whopping $229 million worldwide. Some of those who made backlash against the reversion maintained the argument of such movie was a success; sadly, there’s this other number known as production budget that they seemed to forget, in which the reboot cost $140 million to produce it. You may call me a liar about using this statistic to justify my views, but the average didn’t add up at all if you divide the two numbers (approximate 1.6 in average, at best). Whereas the 1984 Ghostbusters movie, it made $295 million worldwide with a budget of $30 million, would you like to care about the average amount of money? The answer is 9.83, which means the 1984 movie made more money and everyone included the studio executives and movie theaters chain were ecstastic, whereas the 2016 movie cost the studio more than half of its share with the theaters, and the executives, one can imagine in the worst way, were livid, livid, L-I-V-I-D, to say th least, as the production staff and every actresses and actors (including the original cast who had made cameo appearances throughout the movie) barely made, perhaps $0.15 per dollar, at best. Therefore, Sony had no choice BUT to pull the plug and shelved this alternate time line story until further notice, and I don’t blame them at all.
Second, while I am all for female inclusion in movie franchises or entertainment in general, how we measure success on our favorite movies always have been and always will be related to the scripts along with the deliverance of our emotions, only then the visual affects can be added into the equation. Unfortunately, the message that was presented into the 2016 movie was so deliberate that even I can smell rotten eggs from afar by intentionally presenting men as simpleton, bumblefingers, and incompetent when dealing with crisis that the final part of the movie presented. Honestly, though, such emotional inepititudes aren’t limited just to men. Once again, if anyone thinks that movies studios are doing all-female casts as a charity, the box office performance, ironically, once again becomes the deciding factor to whether they have a draw, a dud (or bust), or broken even in their hands. In this particular movie, if I have a camera pointing at my face and filming my rections right now, you won’t believe what I felt about half of the movie, and it wasn’t as optimistic as I once had prior to the initial reactions when the trailer comes on. Here’s the kicker that I left off from my point above: the final box office earnings are determined how much money once they have received from box office after a 30% cut taken by theater chains, the the studios take a cut for the production costs that including the salaries, incentives, and bonuses of the filming crews, actors and actresses, and the visual effect houses that the production subcontracted to, before the studios finally got what was left. For the 1984 film, for instance, $176 millions (not including film taxes at location) was earned by the studios while the 2016 counterpart took approximately $20.3 millions (not including film taxes at location). If you are part of Sony executives who oversee its film division, which number would you want to see?
Third, while I don’t mind about remaking a very good film, there’s an expectation of the remake being more of an enhancement than detriment to the original. However, not all of the original materials can be redone as they have gained a level of familiarity with the audience, as the most recent example aside this topic would be the remake of Charles Bronson’s “Death Wish” only made $48.6 millions with a budget of $30 million, whereas the 2018 remake of “Halloween” made an astonishing $253.7 million with a budget between $10–15 million. If you think there’s a peculiar pattern into how box office behaves, you’re not wrong as this trend has often occurs with many of the summer and winter blockbusters, if not all the movies since its invention, and if a movie start alienating the audience throughout, that movie won’t draw as well as other ones because the word of mouth would spread like wildfires, the cascading effects will echo throughout the movie fandom and the end product will definitely receive a huge backlash against anyone and everyone associated with that particular production, I KID YOU NOT. Therefore, it’s not a matter of “they don’t count, they don’t matter” as Leslie Jones accused what the announcement of the revertion is attempted to do, it’s more like how the movie industry often finds themselves into when an “experiment” failed. Had the movie was as successful as DC’s “Wonder Woman” that debuted a year later and made $821.8 million with the budget in average of $120–150 million, would we be hearing this much backlash or backlash against backlash as often, if at all? Obviously not.
Last but not least, unlike other movie franchises that allow side stories or multiverses to exist, “Ghostbusters” doesn’t really have too many human characters to create a multiverse unless there’s a story being told from the perspectives of either captured or soon-to-be-captured ghost. In addition, other than a couple of recognizable side characters such as the pesky EPA agent, or the mayor who often found himself had a heated argument with either the pesky anti-‘busters government officials, the Ghostbusters themselves, or both, the focuses had always been with the team (Peter Venkman [Bill Murray, who was a replacement for John Belushi after the latter’s death from a drug overdose], Raymond Stantz [Dan Aykroyd, the “mastermind” behind the entire franchise as his fascination towards paranormal led to the creation], Egon Spengler [the late Harold Ramis] – the mad scientist who created the equipments with Stantz and Winston Zeddemore [Ernie Hudson], Dana Barrett, the secretary Janine Melnitz (played by Annie Potts), and the bumbling neighbor/nerdy accountant Louis Tully (played by Rick Moranis). That’s all the characters ever existed in the franchise histrory; as such, creating an alternate universe, much lessing having all-female casts, posted quite a challenge for director Paul Feig, and the lack of familiarity, along with the shoe-horned cameos by the original casts, setting off “buyers’ remorse” towards the film. Why would any studio executive be willing to take another gamble on a sequel on a no-win situation with the titular fandom?
Now that I have posted as much of a background as possible, here’s my opinion towards this backlash for or against, particularly with comments that has dragged in the “Trump supporter” accusation: Comparing “Trump supporters” to Jason Reitman/Sony’s decision to revert the storyline back to the original version is way off base, in spite of having no love lost (or if I really ever have one to begin with) towards Donald Trump and his supporters. This isn’t “whitewashing” the film history, it’s a business decision. Had the movie made more than $500 millions, if not more, like “Wonder Woman” in 2017, Sony or any studios would have directed to authorize a sequel being made without hesitation; but that’s not what happened. In addition, we have no idea on how far with the development & pre-production stages have gone, much less who got casted by Aykroyd/Jason Reitman, or whether the movie would not be ending up in the “infamous” development hell once more. Can’t we not jump the shark and troll at a level of utter intolerance and instead be letting the process moving forward, so that everyone will enjoy the end product if and when it comes out?
I have my say, the forum’s yours, but please do so with civility and not cruelity. Thank you.