Don’t expect to see the Ghostbuster women suiting up anytime soon for another round of busting. With only $180 million in worldwide box office receipts, Sony Pictures, the studio behind the film, is unlikely to greenlight a sequel.
The movie generated a 73 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has grossed $118 million in North America, but with a $150 million budget and extensive marketing costs, the appetite for a sequel isn’t nearly as great as when Sony’s head of distribution Rory Bruer declared, after opening weekend, he had “no doubt” a sequel would happen. The Hollywood Reporter reported Wednesday morning that the studio is headed to lose $70 million on the film. Sony Pictures disputes that number, saying the movie has yet to finish its worldwide rollout and is proud of the global brand awareness they’ve created overseas with a title that was previously unknown.
Said a corporate spokesperson, “There’s huge equity in brand awareness — the future is wide open. We’re incredibly proud of the movie Paul Feig made with this outstanding cast.”
Still, with Japan, France, and South Korea among the countries left in the global roll-out, an incremental box office boost is looking unlikely.
Sources around Sony say the studio is devastated by the results of the feature. All involved were hoping the film would both shut up the online trolls who decried that rebooting the film with women ruined their childhood and reinvigorate a studio that has needed a franchise to get them back in black.
The fact that Ghostbusters did neither makes the sting extra painful.
Another wrinkle in the struggling franchise is the fact that Sony only has options on two of the four women. According to two sources with knowledge of the deals, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig are not contractually obligated for another round of busting. And that could make contemplation of a sequel even more complicated, considering the actresses would likely want raises, especially after dealing with the online brutality sent their way.
Sony has not yet given up all hope on the Ghostbusters franchise, recently announcing plans for an animated film that could debut in 2019 in addition to an animated television show called Ghostbusters: Ecto Force. Another source floated the idea of returning to a live-action version but not with all four women — and definitely at a lower budget.
But McCarthy, Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones returning to the jump suits? Chances of that are as low as Slimer going on a diet.