Paul Feig says Trump and 'anti-Hillary movement' helped fuel Ghostbusters reboot backlash
Paul Feig's 2016 Ghostbusters reboot boasted a stellar cast featuring the likes of Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, but it petered out at the box office and was embroiled in controversy before it even premiered.
Now, nearly four years later, the director is reflecting on why his Ghostbusters failed to impress, pointing the finger at the cultural and political upheaval surrounding the contentious 2016 presidential election.
“I think some really brilliant author … needs to write a book about 2016 and how intertwined we were with Hillary [Clinton] and the anti-Hillary movement,” Feig said on Jess Cagle's SiriusXM show Friday in reference to the film's release. “Everyone was at a boiling point. I don’t know if it was having an African American president for eight years that teed them up, they were just ready to explode.”
The filmmaker also referenced Donald Trump's 2015 tirade against Ghostbusters on Instagram, during which the now-president slammed the movie for having "only women."
"By the time I announced I was going to do it, it started," Feig explained, referring to the internet backlash. The first trailer became one of the most hated film trailers in YouTube history, with dislikes overwhelmingly outnumbering the likes.
Some fans of Ivan Reitman's original Ghostbusters film series, including the director himself, attributed the backlash to nostalgia, while others pointed to sexism. "The fact there was so much controversy because we were women was surprising to me," Wiig later told the Los Angeles Times.
Feig referenced the sexist critiques in his interview with SiriusXM, saying, "It’s crazy how people got nuts about women trying to be in power or be in positions they weren’t normally in." He added of the film's release, "It was an ugly, ugly year."
The reboot won't be the last of Ghostbusters, however, as Reitman is updating the franchise with another film. The upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife debuted its first trailer in December and has received mostly positive reactions.