Sadly, Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters remake was not a big hit at the U.S. box office. It made a decent amount of money ($229 million worldwide), but not enough to warrant a sequel, especially when you look at how much it cost. That being said, it’s still a good movie, and it’s a shame that the economics didn’t work out so that a follow-up could break free of celebrating the original and finally tell its own story.
While it looked like the book was closed on Feig’s Ghostbusters, Dan Aykroyd, who for years campaigned for a third Ghostbusters that never happened, has seen fit to reopen it and take a shot at Feig. Speaking on Britain’s Sunday Brunch [via EW], Aykroyd said:
“The girls are great in it. Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig – what a wonderful, wonderful players they are – and Leslie Jones. I was really happy with the movie, but it cost too much. And Sony does not like to lose money. It made a lot of money around the world but it just cost too much, making it economically not feasible to do another one. So that’s too bad – the director, he spent too much on it. He didn’t shoot scenes we suggested to him, several scenes that were going to be needed, and he said, ‘No, we don’t need them,’ and then we tested the movie and they needed them and he had to go back — about $30 to $40 million in reshoots. So, yeah, he will not be back on the Sony lot anytime soon.”
On the one hand, I agree with Aykroyd—the movie cost too much, but that’s a problem multiple films last year encountered. Star Trek Beyond grossed $343 million worldwide, which isn’t too bad until you consider that the movie cost $185 million to make. But at least that has the defense of being a sci-fi action movie. It looked like Feig was trying to thread the needle between making a solid comedy and the demands of making a summer blockbuster—a blockbuster, it should be noted, that Sony wanted. They signed off on that budget, and assumed that the film should be a VFX-packed action-comedy.
That being said, the number Aykroyd’s quoting for reshoots—$30-40 million—seems unlikely. Sony says it cost $3-4 million to take care of reshoots, which, for a film that cost $144 million, sounds more reasonable, especially since there wasn’t any word of a major overhaul that required vast amounts of fine-tuning.
Ultimately, this sounds a bit like sour grapes on Aykroyd’s part. The movie he campaigned for—a sequel that would function as a soft reboot where the older ghostbusters hand off the job to a younger crew—didn’t get made, and now he’s doing a bit of “I told you so,” even though there’s no guarantee that story would have been any more profitable if it had the same price tag as Feig’s version.
As for Feig, maybe he’s persona non grata at Sony, but his career is just going to be fine. Ghostbusters may not have been a franchise starter, but Feig’s other films—Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy—have all been massive hits. As for Aykroyd, he has yet to direct a movie since his only directorial effort, 1991’s Nothing but Trouble.