“Ghostbusters” Tracking $40-50 Million Opening – Should Sony Be Worried?

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We are three weeks away from the theatrical debut of the reboot after months of internet battles between those boycotting the film, others excited for its release, and people behind the project releasing promotional media that (in theory) are supposed to get people excited for the film. We now have a general idea of how the film will do at the box office on its opening weekend, as the reboot is at $40 to $50 million. 

It’s not a great number when you consider that the movie cost $154 million, however $40 million is still more than each of director Paul Feig’s three most recent films. Bridesmaids, which launched Feig into the forefront of female-driven comedies, opened with $26 million, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy-starrer The Heat opened at $39 million, and last year’s action-comedy Spy opened with $29 million. 

Some are worried about how the press from those upset about an all-female cast will impact its debut and others have noted that this year’s audience may have severe “sequelitis”. The latter may play a larger role, but part of the issue may be how the release of information that is supposed to be fun and excited leading up to the premiere. This week, Sony revealed the new theme song from Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliot, two popular artists that have been around for years but maybe do not have the ability to tap into the next generation as they once did. The reaction online to the song has been fairly polarizing.

There has also been a growing conversation about trailers giving away too much plot to the film or too many jokes if it’s a comedy. In the case of this film, if you watch the US trailer and the overseas trailer, you’ve seen several major set pieces as well as which character winds up possessed and helping the film’s villain. 

Then there’s that price tag. The original film cost around $30 million (which today would be roughly $70 million) and made less than half of that in its opening weekend before taking in $229 million worldwide. Once the film releases and word of mouth takes hold, the new movie could follow a similar pattern. At $154 million and acting as the launch of a new film and television world, Sony obviously has much higher hopes for this movie. 

Feig has also proven he can make an action movie for less, with Spy’s budget being around $65 million. That movie didn’t rely on Ghostbusters‘ CGI but the worry is that Sony has fallen into a tried-and-true trap of overspending to make things bigger, forgetting what makes the original successful, which in this case is the friendship and chemistry of the group. We have seen one-liners from the characters, but it’s hard to see the chemistry of them together from the trailers alone and this will be the clincher that gets people to tell their friends about the film.

As we enter the next few weeks, Sony will have to walk a fine line between garnering excitement and giving away what’s left of the film as they make their big push towards the premiere and the beginning of a tentpole franchise for the studio. 

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 | Staff Writer
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