1984 was a good year for oddball science professors everywhere, the year it became socially acceptable to yell, “Who you gonna call?” to complete strangers, the year Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Bill Murray dropped a highly anticipated and classic American film.
Flash forward to 2016 when the remake of this American classic is not so highly anticipated. The news of an all-female Ghostbusters remake has been met with an onslaught of heated fans of the original. People have brought up many reasons why this film will be a flop including: movie reboots are mostly awful, it’s exploiting the Ghostbusters legacy, and simply ‘Melissa McCarthy.’
Critics are also worried about the deliberate gender-bending in this film. Fans of the 1984 classic got to ogle at a stunning Sigourney Weaver. However, not only are the main four protagonists gender adverse, we have recently seen a release of Chris Hemsworth, rumored to be playing our nerdy, sexy secretary.
There are two ways to gender-bend an existing franchise. You can change the gender of the characters but fundamentally nothing else about the film, arguing that men and women are fundamentally similar. Or you can use a gender change to nudge other elements of the story, exploring the fact that maybe men and women are fundamentally different while retaining equally useful strengths and insights.
It is incredibly interesting to look at the marketing for this film. It has a set release date of July 15, 2016 and there still hasn’t been a trailer released. The simple fact that it has so much controversy behind it has catapulted it to the front of everyone’s mind when they think of the summer 2016 box office.
Data has been released comparing the box-office success of movies about women versus movies about men revealing female-led movies not only make money, but make more money than male-driven ones.
A common misconception about female driven movies is that men can’t relate to a female protagonist so they won’t pay money to see the movie. However, Mic looked at the top 25 highest-earning films each year from 2006 to mid-October 2015 and concluded that hits with female protagonists grossed an average of $126.1 million, whereas hits with male protagonists made an average of $80.6 million.
With the release of the movie being more than 6 months away, it will be interesting to see how the franchise deals with the release of children’s toys. In 1984, action figures of the protagonists as well as toy proton packs were very popular.
This year, Lego released LEGO minifigures for the all-new, all-female Ghostbusters. The new Ghostbusters set recreates all the main characters and their gear in glorious detail, including the signature ECTO-1 car and an ECTO-2 motorbike.
It is ironic that recent years have shared such contradictory themes as political correctness and blatant sexism. Is female Thor really necessary? Is Amy Schumer hot enough to have her own tv show? Every male-driven comedy is met with acceptance while female-driven comedy needs an active defense in their marketing in order to become successful.