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‘Frozen Empire’ Falls for Lady Ghostbusters’ Box-Office Curse

Bloated sequel stumbles in week two, fails to heed lesson from woke reboot

$70 million. Maybe more.

That’s how much the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot reportedly cost Sony.

The woke comedy cast four female Ghostbusters to replace the four male characters. The film’s first trailer got slimed by fans, and its $128 million US haul proved no match for its shockingly large $144 million budget.

The 2021 franchise do-over learned that hard lesson.


Not only did it ditch the reboot’s woke elements, it shrank the budget to a more manageable $75 million. That meant its $129 million stateside numbers (plus international receipts) were good enough to power another sequel. Those numbers were more impressive considering the film opened mid-pandemic.

So what did Sony do?

The mega studio increased the budget for “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” to $100 million. Of course.

That decision will haunt the studio given what happened over the weekend. “Frozen Empire” collapsed in its second weekend, falling 65 percent for a $15.7 million takeaway. 

The nostalgia-soaked sequel stands at $73 million with diminishing box office returns. It will be lucky to cross the $100 million mark domestically. So far, the international receipts are tepid – just $35 million to date. It won’t be saved by China, which refuses to import movies with supernatural themes.

The CCP is afraid of ghosts.

Is this any way to run a franchise?

The new “Ghostbusters” films can’t deliver new characters that trump the original cast. Co-star Paul Rudd looks lost in the sequels, unable to summon his signature spark.

Mckenna Grace’s Phoebe is better, but her teen angst is a far cry from OG star Bill Murray’s wisecrackery.

Ghostbusters (1984) - Venkman's ESP Test Scene | Movieclips

We still get the old guard in the last two “Ghostbusters” films, but Murray’s appearances are glorified cameos. You get the sense he’s there out of an obligation, not for the love of storytelling.

Where does this leave the franchise?

Like most studios, Sony may try to squeeze one more sequel out of the saga. Remember how it took not one but two “Terminator” flops to finally end that franchise?

Studios love established IPs, even if they don’t always know how to properly honor them. Consider how well the “Road House” reboot is doing with audiences. 

Don’t be surprised if we see one more “Ghostbusters” film before all is said and done. And when that film flops at the box office, no one should be the least bit surprised.


  1. “Hey! Remember this!” Is not a story that can support any movie, much less a $100million movie.

    Also, the queer coding in the movie got around REAL FAST and did it in.

  2. This movie spent all of it’s efforts on creating nods to the original GB film and very little on story development and continuity. While watching this I was baffled by story lines that went nowhere and the random appearances of Bill Murry. There was one scene where they were actually cutting the fire pole in the station to thwart the malevolent entity, but in the following scenes, it is in perfect shape and never mentioned again. Same for Mr. Murry; he’s in random scenes and, other than offering smarmy comments, he contributes very little to the story. This could have been much better…

    1. I agree with you. This film had all the ingredients for a good film except a good story. I was disappointed in the ending where all the ghost busters past and present, the supposed heroes of the movie, couldn’t beat the ghost, but the wacky Paki could. (Great character though. He had some of the best laugh lines). Paul Rudds character could have been cut from the film and not effected the outcome at all. This movie looked like it was written by committee. If they do make a 3rd film, I hope they can find a writer who can take this entire cast and do better with it.

  3. formulaic glitzy garbaggio.

    the first one was meh. Harold Ramis had no idea what to do, he was just being in a movie. Aykroyd’s writing is typically junk (see: Dr. Detroit).

    “That’s a big twinkie.” this is the big laugh of the movie? it isn’t funny. nor is the big dough monster or the sandbox writing about a ‘gatekeeper’ and a ‘key master…” goodness, even kindergarteners will thrill to that little item.

    Bill Murray, oh my beating heart! sour little quips…nobody ever won so much fame for barely getting out of bed (see: the Life Aquatic).

    sheer monkey sputum.

  4. The CCP refuses to import movies with supernatural themes?
    Odd, considering how Asian cinema is renowned for ghost stories.

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