Jason Reitman, the son of the original Ghostbusters’ director, Ivan Reitman, has been tasked with directing another Ghostbusters movie, just two years after Paul Feig’s female-led version played well with critics (75 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and put up a respectable $230 million worldwide at the box office (unfortunately, it was on a $140 million budget). However, the announcement of a new Ghostbusters movie so soon after Feig’s version had already created some tension (Leslie Jones suggested that a remake that ignores the female-led version is “something Trump would do”) before Reitman went and put his foot in it again.
A few days ago on Bill Burr’s podcast, of all places (WTF, Reitman?), Reitman said that he was going to “hand the movie back to the fans” and that he’s “not making the Juno of Ghostbusters movies,” which sounded like a knock against the 2016 film. Also, against Juno, which is a fantastic movie. Those comments did not sit well on social media nor with supporters of the 2016 film and its cast, and for good reason — it was a stupid thing to say, and it was hard to interpret in any other way except as a knock against what Paul Feig accomplished.
Reitman, however, has since apologized, suggesting that his comments “came out wrong.”
Wo, that came out wrong! I have nothing but admiration for Paul and Leslie and Kate and Melissa and Kristen and the bravery with which they made Ghostbusters 2016. They expanded the universe and made an amazing movie!— Jason Reitman (@JasonReitman) February 21, 2019
Reitman also found a notable defender in Paul Feig, who directed the 2016 Ghostbusters.
Jason was a supporter of mine at a time when I couldn’t get movies made. He has always been a true gentleman to me and a supporter of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call. I can’t wait to see his take on the Ghostbusters universe. Big love and respect to you, Jason. Your fan, Paul https://t.co/2I9sqmrgTl— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) February 21, 2019
Cool, so we’re all set now, right? We’re all going to stop using Ghostbusters to fight our culture wars, right? No? Damnit!
I have a slightly different take on the Ghostbusters situation than most of my colleagues, which is this: I liked the 2016 Ghosbusters a lot. I also liked the 1984 Ghostbusters, though I do not feel any sort of obsessive attachment to it, because I tend to reserve my obsessive attachments to friends and family members.
I also felt like another Ghostbusters reboot was inevitable after the 2016 version underperformed, because I think Ghostbusters may become the new Terminator franchise: A brand that fans just aren’t as interested in as the studio thinks they are. If they had to remake it (and the potential for money exists, so obviously they would), Reitman seemed like a decent choice, because he is the original’s son, but more important, he’s a good director, and Sony probably thought that hiring him was a safe choice (jokes on you, Sony, because there was no “safe” choice).
I also love most of Jason Reitman’s movies (particularly those written by Diablo Cody), and I welcome giving him an opportunity to direct another inevitably underperforming Ghostbusters film (hopefully, the studio learns enough at least not to give him a $140 million budget). But also: Shut the f*ck up, Jason Reitman. The Ghostbusters franchise has a lot of toxic fans, and Reitman does no favors to anyone by playing into their hands, inadvertently or not. Just shut up and let the movie speak for itself. It’s not a film that needs two years of press to promote it. Make the movie. Release the movie, and get the hell out of the way. You do not need to tell us what you’re going to do with the franchise every step of the way. Show us. And shut up.
Honestly, the same is true for most directors, especially white dudes who are either oblivious to what’s going on around them or don’t care enough to understand the cultural dynamics of their own movie. Also, if you had any sense at all, you’d bring in Cody to help out on the script, because we’ve seen the recent Reitman movies without Cody’s screenplays (Labor Day, The Frontrunner) and they kind of suck. Know your strengths, dude, and your strengths are Diablo Cody and Charlize Theron.
Header Image Source: Sony