In a Summer filled with underwhelming reboots, sequels and remakes, Paul Feig’s all-female reboot of 1984’s Ghostbusters has easily been the most discussed and the most talked-about.
However, despite the positive critical response, the dreadful marketing campaign and the (literal) organised campaigns to damage this movie seem to have taken their toll as Ghostbusters‘ time at the box-office is starting to wrap up. While the movie opened in France and Belgium today and will see a release in Japan, Mexico and Spain over the next week, the movie looks set to finish at around the $190-200M mark on a $144M budget.
But, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that budget does not account for marketing and distribution and as a result, Sony could see a potential loss of $70M. Despite Sony’s optimism, a sequel is looking less likely by the day. THR spoke to a Sony rep who stated:
“We’re very proud of the bold movie Paul Feig made, which critics and audiences loved. It has enlivened a 30-year-old brand and put it into the modern zeitgeist. As a result, we have many ideas in the works to further exploit the Ghostbusters universe.”
Oh, I wish he hadn’t said the word “exploit.”
Those ideas that the rep is referring to apparently include an animated Ghostbusters feature that could hit theatres in 2019 and an animated TV series, Ghostbusters: Ecto Force, which is eyeing an early 2018 broadcast. Both of those projects are being spear-headed creatively by original Ghostbusters director and producer Ivan Reitman, who is in charge of the Ghostbusters canon via the subsidiary company Ghost Corps.
When pressed about the potential $70M loss, the Sony rep responded by saying:
“This loss calculation is way off. With multiple revenue streams, including consumer products, gaming, location-based entertainment, continued international rollout, and huge third-party promotional partnerships that mitigated costs, the bottom line, even before co-financing, is not remotely close to that number.”
This is where the movie business gets complicated. While Ghostbusters may not have been profitable on its own, the merchandise, promotions, sponsorships, home-media sales, TV broadcasts and more may have pushed Sony into the green, profit-wise when all is said and done. Joe Lawandus, senior VP of design at Mattel who were in charge of much of the Ghostbusters merchandise spoke to Variety last month. He noted that the sales of merchandise such as action figures, mini-figures, the Ecto vehicle and the Proton pack “exceeded expectations,” so there may be some truth to this.
It’s probably not worth buying stock in Ghostbusters sequels anytime soon. However, it’s not outside the realm of possibility this film becomes a “loss-leader” (a first instalment to put all the pieces in place in order to save money with later instalments by re-using assets, sets, props, renegotiating contracts etc.). If Sony can get the budget of a hypothetical Ghostbusters 2 under $100M, then there could be hope yet for fans of the reboot. Though, don’t hold your breath.
IMAGES: Sony Pictures, Mattel