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Paul Feig is bringing a new Ghostbusters to movie theaters this summer. A remake, rather than a reboot, the updated comedy will tell a similar story to the original 1984 classic, only bringing it into a modern era. Oh yeah, and women will be wearing the proton packs instead of men this time around… a fact that has a small portion of the Internet in a bind. Some argue that they don’t care it’s a female cast, they just don’t want Ghostbusters remade. Others argue that relegating the original cast members to glorified cameos is an insult. Either way, arguments are raging – and Sony is listening.
The studio understands that it has a bit of an uphill battle to climb when it comes to selling the movie-going community on Ghostbusters. And Sony Marketing President Dwight Caines notes that passionate fans of beloved franchises often question why a movie needs to be remade in the first place. But in a THR story, Caines also says that he believes the detractors – while vocal – are a smaller group than one would believe, saying:
The people talking are such a tiny percentage of the people viewing. The first trailer got 70 million views. The number of people talking: less than 100,000, and they are trying to define the experience.
I’m not sure if those numbers back up that claim. The first trailer for Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters received an unprecedented wave of negative support on YouTube, which prompted the studio to try a different approach with the second official trailer. That clip was released on opposing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and the results (initially, at least) were far more positive. Released on May 18, the second Ghostbusters trailer got more than 8,200 retweets and 15,000 likes on Twitter. On Facebook, it tallied 9 million views, with 95,972 shares to date.
There’s interesting data in the THR story. Noting how Sony likely was prepared for some Internet backlash against Ghostbusters, simply because it’s a reboot, the trade reports that early screenings of footage for such films as Sami Raimi’s Spider-Man, Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man and Daniel Craig’s first James Bond outing, Casino Royale, drew negative ratings of 65%, 60% and 55%, respectively. Once those films eventually reached theaters, they earned strong reviews (largely), and posted impressive global box office numbers.
Why? Because all that matters is the film. If Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters is great, no one will dwell on the marketing campaign. We won’t discuss whether a trailer worked, or what Twitter thought of certain jokes in certain scenes. A good movie could (and should) wipe away the sins of pre-release publicity – be it positive or negative.
There’s hope. THR notes that Sony pre-screened the film on May 21 for two "recruited screenings," and both screenings "played through the roof," according to the trade. But we won’t know for sure how Ghostbusters will play until Ghostbusters ACTUALLY plays, and that will happen on July 15.