Though there was much talk — and even a few assurances — of a sequel to Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones’ Ghostbusters, the box-office results for the film are unlikely to support it, according to THR. Unfortunately, the film only mustered $117 million stateside, and its global box-office returns are not any better. The film is likely to top out at around $225 million globally, and it needed $300 million to break even (more on that later today).
The MRA folks will almost certainly take credit for the box-office failures of the film, or at least shout “I told you so” from the rafters of their basement apartments. The reality is that Ghostbusters suffered not because of MRA-backlash, or because it was a bad movie (it was not), but because of scheduling.
Over on Forbes, the best box-office pundit in the business, Scott Mendelson, wrote about this summer’s tentpole oversaturation problem. Three movies, essentially, suffered from it in July alone: Ghostbusters, Star Trek and the fifth Bourne film. Each followed solid opening weekends with huge box-office drops, as the next shiny movie came along. Ghostbusters dropped 54 percent after Star Trek opened, Star Trek dropped 58 percent after Bourne opened, and Bourne dropped 61 percent after Suicide Squad opened.
Suicide Squad may suffer a similar sized drop this weekend, but with no tentpoles left on the horizon, it’s more likely to continue putting up decent-sized numbers through August, although of the four tentpoles released since Ghostbusters, it was the less well received among critics.
The problem is not dissimilar to what we’re seeing with Peak TV. There’s too many options, and not enough viewers to sustain them all. The End of Peak TV is likely on the horizon (FX President John Landgraf puts an end date at 2019, at the latest), while the box-office results of July may hasten the end of tentpole oversaturation. If sure things like Ghostbusters, Star Trek, and Bourne can’t amass huge profits despite huge opening weekends, then Hollywood is in trouble.
Meanwhile, though a Ghostbusters sequel remains unlikely (for now), don’t downplay its legacy. As Riley wrote last month, Kate McKinnon is almost certainly going to “unlock a lot of queer feelings” for women coming of age right now.