Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Could Ghostbusters be rebooted with female leads?

There are rumours abroad that Paul Feig is planning a distaff follow-up to the 1980s romp. This makes all kinds of sense.

Mon, Aug 4, 2014, 22:24

   

Well, the simple answer to the question above is “yes”. Obviously, anything is possible. After the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, we could end up with a Ghostbusters movie cast with racoons and talking trees. There have, however, been specific suggestions that Paul Feig, director of hit comedy Bridesmaids, is planning to replace Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray with women people. Lord knows where this stuff is coming from, but it’s being reported with some authority by the people at Variety.

Aaaaaa! It’s PC gone mad! It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, you know. There’ll be lady bishops and lady soldiers next. Where will these pinko Hollyweird types stop? Won’t somebody think of the children! I assume that there is some such whinging out there online (life really is too short to check), but, before the right-wing geek-clique blows a gasket, they might like to ponder the financial realities. True, Hollywood has been backwards in putting women at the head of mainstream pictures and some sort of purposeful correction would be welcome. But no such special pleading is (or should) currently be necessary. The fact is that female-led movies have performed increasingly robustly at box offices throughout the world. Bridesmaids was huge. The Hunger Games is enormous. One Young Adult adaptation after another failed and then, eventually, Lionsgate had a hit with Divergent (though not as big a hit as they might pretend). It has proved increasingly hard to flog unfamiliar product to moviegoers, but, a few weeks ago, Luc Besson’s Lucy — starring Scarlett Johansson as a pharmaceutically enhanced superwoman — became a substantial hit across the Atlantic.

None of this should be a surprise to the studios. Women make up over 50 percent of the audience and they, not unreasonably, expect to see protagonists who look like themselves. And let us not be naive. Young men have their own reasons for seeking out films starring the likes of Jennifer L and Scarlett J. This is no longer an argument about equality alone (though it’s that too). This is ice-cold economics.

All that said, who really knows the truth of these rumours? The Ghostbusters sequel (now reboot) has been lurking in the undergrowth for what seems like centuries. A script was written. Ivan Reitman, director of the original, was on board, and then, suddenly, he was somewhere else. Mind you, we thought the new Mad Max film — dormant for a similar amount of time — might never appear and Mad Max: Fury Road really will be with us next year. We can party like it’s 1986 or so! Oh, yeah.

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