This past weekend, “Ghostbusters” opened with $46 million, which to some meant a flop and to others meant a nice showing in an otherwise slow summer box office for non-animated and non-superhero movies.

Those who lean toward the flop end of the spectrum may also be the ones who didn’t want to see the movie made in the first place, which means “Ghostbusters” hasn’t won over the people who sought to tear it down ahead of its opening.

Sony Pictures, which released the film, however, considers the movie a success. After all, the studio is right in considering that it earned a high box office take for comedies – though it also seems to forget the rather prominent action part of the movie, too.

Still, the studio was quick to release its statement even before the weekend numbers were official, and it, at the moment, appears as if the studio wants to greenlight a sequel, even though the movie has not yet recouped its $144 million budget, according to Box Office Mojo.

“Ghostbusters” neither flopped nor was the hit some had hoped. The box office pull was all right but still second to “The Secret Life of Pets,” and critics were mostly positive though in a shruggable way, saying it was OK but not quite as risky as it could have/should have been.

Because of the rather middling feedback, there may still be a question of what this means for more female-focused, big-budget movies.

The multiple teams behind “Star Wars” are already doing what they want with little consideration about who will see it (it’s almost a given that crowds will turn up), and the franchise will continue with Rey (Daisey Ridley) in the primary lead, with Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) taking on the lead role for the spin-off “Rogue One.”

It’s one of the biggest steps any major movie franchise has taken to even the playing field, especially when you consider the other big player, Marvel. It says something about Marvel that DC Comics will beat it at introducing the first female superhero as the star of her own film (“Wonder Woman”) in this “golden age” of comic book movies.

And while the success of these movies will be important in seeing if major movie roles are extended through Hollywood to movies outside of the romance genre, there is still a question about whether or not the “all-female” movies will reap any benefits.

Already greenlit is the reboot of “Ocean’s Eleven,” titled “Ocean’s Eight,” which at the moment is set to feature Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling and Elizabeth Banks – though in which of the original roles is yet to be determined.

There had been early discussion about an all-female reboot of “The Expendables,” but Sylvester Stallone last week denied ever wanting to work on such a thing. News of that reboot and Stallone’s involvement had come out two years ago, so Stallone’s comment now seems a little affected by the “Ghostbusters” backlash.

I’ve written before about the idea of “all-female” reboots, and I’m actually not encouraged by the idea despite it getting more women to the silver screen. The movement toward these kinds of movies makes it seem that women can only be cast in the lead roles if the rest of the movie is made up of women as well – a tendency that is replicated when casting minorities in movies; they are rarely leads unless the rest of the movie is non-white as well.

There’s nothing that says a woman can’t lead a group of men (with a few more women) to battle ghosts, plan a casino heist or do whatever was going on in those “Expendables” movies.

We shouldn’t need a cast of all women to make sure it has a female character with some type of dynamic, or to even offer a movie that simply passes the Bechdel test (most live action films this year barely pass by the skin of their teeth, if they do that all).

It’s early yet to see if “Ghostbusters” will be encouraging to other moviemakers who may have to deal with similar backlash against their gender-swapped films. I think I’ll settle for this getting more women into more prominent roles in movies that are not necessarily marketed toward just women.


Load comments