Jason Reitman, son of original “Ghosbusters” director Ivan Reitman, just dropped a cultural bomb on us.
The “Up in the Air” director will be overseeing “Ghostbusters 3,” coming to theaters in 2020. Some of us were happier than others about the news.
Among those less thrilled was Leslie Jones, one of the stars of the 2016 Sony reboot with an all-woman Ghostbusting team. Jones was particularly ticked off that the sequel will skip her film in the Ghostbusters storyline.
She took to her favorite medium, Twitter, with a bitter, profanity-laden tweet attacking the new film as a Trump-worthy sexist “d— move” that betrayed everything her film had allegedly accomplished.
Naturally, the Hollywood press has been at pains to portray the reboot as a triumph of gender equality. Reporters also cheered on Jones’s nasty Twitter wars in 2019, as they did in 2016.
The popular media line is that ignoring the reboot nullifies its great accomplishment. But there’s a reason that Reitman and crew are treating her movie as though it were Nickelback covering the Beatles.
It was terrible.
It lost the studio the ungodly sum of $70 million, grossing about a quarter of the original, adjusted for inflation.
The fact is, neither sex-swapping nor remakes draw a crowd in and of themselves. They need to succeed on their merits, just like any other film. “His Girl Friday,” one of the earliest of the genre, worked because it had Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Howard Hawks and Charles Lederer, not because of the novelty of a woman reporter.
“The Incredible Shrinking Woman” and “The Next Karate Kid” are forgotten because they had nothing new to say, and said it poorly.
Jones’s reaction reeks of ingratitude, and would even had the 2016 “Ghostbusters” succeeded. Reboots, remakes and even sequels inevitably feed off of the original source material. Sony was clearly banking on the goodwill of the original when it green-lit the project.
Jones and her team bought the right to remake the 1984 classic, but it was theirs to score with or fumble. The franchise owners don’t owe her anything else, up to and including any acknowledgement that her characters exist.
For her to pretend otherwise, and for the Hollywood press to cheerlead, does a disservice to actresses and women directors who actually have broken new ground with their work.