Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ghostbusters The Last Word Here...I Promise

The second weekend box office numbers appear to be quite grim.

Even with worldwide distribution (minus China because "it's Communist government believes that it's witchcraft,")  it doesn't look like it's going to cross the one hundred million dollar mark.  Once again Sony Pictures proves itself to be the Branson, Missouri of Hollywood.

Steve Sailor at Takimag made some (in hind sight obvious) observations that I missed

In reality, transmuting movies across identity categories is a lot of work to do well. For example, consider one of the least politically sensitive changes: male age. Screenwriter William Goldman wrote in Adventures in the Screen Trade, his much-appreciated advice memoir:
A friend of mine is struggling now with an adaptation of a novel in which he was instructed to keep everything just the way it was, except for one small change—make the main character, who is sixty-six in the book, forty years old…. A change like that is agony. Because you can’t really keep anything in the book. The problems and tensions of the novel shift epically when you lop a quarter century from the hero’s age.
Male to female is at least as big a change, but Feig wasn’t willing to do all that much work on a property that appealed to him for its prototypical boyishness.

Ghost stories, such as Hamlet, A Christmas Carol, and Ghost, traditionally appealed to female audiences because they are so often about unresolved relationships. The innovation of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis’ 1984 Ghostbusters script, however, was to drop all that touchy-feely stuff and instead portray ghosts from the masculine perspective of science-fiction world-building.

This idea supercharged the weaponry with which the four uniformed heroes stand shoulder to shoulder to shoot ghosts while making sure to never cross the streams. Therefore, the franchise moved an ungodly amount of toy merchandise and videogames over the decades to little boys.

Not surprisingly, Target already had the new toys marked down even before the movie debuted. Little boys are extremely sexist and little girls aren’t interested in guns or vehicles.

Toys being the other big reason to restart a franchise.  This one is not yet officially a bomb.  There is a lot of whistling in the dark at Sony over how Feig's comedies have long legs.  But as Steve just pointed out, Feig has always made women's comedies.  Ghostbusters (2016) is men's comedy that has undergone sex reassignment surgery.

4 comments:

Jew613 said...

Movies with female leads can be very good even great. But the heroine must behave like an actual woman. Not a guy with boobs or a feminist fantasy. Think Ripley in alien or kirsty in Hellraiser. Though I can't think of any recent movies with a female hero who acts like a girl

Cataline Sergius said...

Agreed.

The really silly part of this whole fiasco, is that they could have done alright if they had kept the budge sane.

This thing had no business costing more than 70 million to make. And if that had been the budget they would already be in the black.

Jew613 said...

For a movie to be a considered a success a studio wants the box office take to double the budget. This can be offset by merchandise sales and product placement. With the weekend returns collapsing this quickly it is very unlikely Ghostbusters will break 300 million, which is what they need,and the toys arent selling well. What amazes me is no one at the studio watching the dailies said, we need to put the brakes on this train wreck.

Even Bridesmaids, which was Paul Feig's biggest success only took in 288 million. It was considered such a hit because budgeted at 32 million it was relatively cheap to make and the elite desperately wants to push the narrative that women can be just as funny as men. Though it's a mediocre, largely laugh free film.

luciussomesuch said...

"Ghost stories, such as Hamlet, A Christmas Carol, and Ghost, traditionally appealed to female audiences because they are so often about unresolved relationships. The innovation of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis’ 1984 Ghostbusters script, however, was to drop all that touchy-feely stuff and instead portray ghosts from the masculine perspective of science-fiction world-building."

--God bless Steve for the important work he does (and on the business side of Hollywood, he often sounds reasonably persuasive), but I am scandalized by the utterly bizarre epic fails his culture vulture-ism often betrays him into. So now in Steve's view HAMLET is chick-lit? Or for that matter even A CHRISTMAS CAROL? Since the former claim is patently absurd, I'll merely muse upon the Dickensian one for a moment and ask what evidence he has for this. Maybe it's not boy-centric like Great Expectations but neither is it Jane Eyre.

I was just thinking the other day about how Steve went on about Tom Stoppard, who did the adaptation, in his review of the latest Anna Karenina, when he admits he's never read Tolstoy. Stoppard is one of those authors, like Waugh, Wodehouse, and Wolfe he obsessively rereads, while leaving most of the Canon apparently untouched (in one of his baseball batting-to-creative-genius analyses, Steve argued Shakespeare peaked early with Hamlet but, he acknowledged, did have a late comeback with The Tempest. Ok Steve, you've never heard of Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, The Winter's Tale?) Larry Auster had harsh words for Steve Sailer, Film Critic, and he was right-- Steve's autistic fumblings after something persuasive-sounding to say about High Culture often betray him into face/palm doozers unworthy of a bookish fifteen-year old White girl.