When it comes to blockbuster films from major studios, there's a science to projecting their opening weekends. And that science has gotten pretty darn good over the years. Based on pre-sales, buzz on sites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, trailer hits, and all kinds of other factors, outlets like The Hollywood Reporter can create a likely range where a film is going to end up. The wizards at THR have worked their magic on Paul Feig's upcoming reboot of GHOSTBUSTERS.
All eyes are on GHOSTBUSTERS these days, since the production has been plagued with a kind of negative buzz that is truly noteworthy. There have been remakes and reboots of beloved properties before that have gotten negative responses from fans at their inception, but nothing quite like GHOSTBUSTERS. For a multitude of reasons- some understandable, some questionable- people have loved to hate this project.
The response has led to standoffish remarks from Feig, and from star Melissa McCarthy, aimed at eviscerating fans that refuse to give the film a shot. Pretty wild stuff, when you consider that most filmmakers and performers usually make it their priority to encourage excitement and offer reasons to believe in a project, not tell them off over their perception of the ignorance on display.
So now that the numbers are in, how is GHOSTBUSTERS tracking? After all has been said and done here, does Sony have a hit on its hands? Or will the negative nay-sayers have the last laugh as the film goes belly up when it comes out in July?
According to THR, GHOSTBUSTERS is looking to do better than any Paul Feig movie ever! It's looking at a $40-$50 million dollar opening weekend, which means it would top other Feig hits like SPY, THE HEAT, and BRIDESMAIDS. That sounds pretty rosy, no? But there is a downside: While it would be Feig's biggest opening, it would also be for his most expensive movie ever, which means it will have to do much better than any of his previous films in order to get in the black over the course of its run, and that will depend almost entirely on word-of-mouth.
If it comes in at the low end of that projection, it will basically edge out THE HEAT's $39.1 million opening. But THE HEAT only cost $42 million to make. GHOSTBUSTERS is rumored to have cost Sony $154 million, without factoring in marketing costs.
If BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE or DEADPOOL have taught us anything this year, it's that word-of-mouth can make or break a film after a commanding opening weekend. The former basically went off a cliff after its strong opening, while the latter continued to dominate the box office- and the industry's attention- for weeks to come. All thanks to word-of-mouth.
So what will the reviews look like for GHOSTBUSTERS? How will fans ultimately react? Will the movie come out, surprise everyone, and lead to "Hey! You've gotta give this thing a chance. It was great!"? Or will it be "We knew it would suck. And guess what? It sucked."?
Based on everything we've seen so far, it looks like GHOSTBUSTERS will only receive extreme opinions. People will either love it, or loathe it. The only thing that will be middling, it appears, could be the box office returns.
For now, based on these projections, one thing is clear: If it falls into that $40-$50 million range, you can probably forget about Sony's ambitious plans for the GHOSTBUSTERS franchise.