Is Star Wars To Blame For The Failure Of 2016’s Ghostbusters?

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Image via Lucasfilm

The sad story of 2016’s Ghostbusters is one that’s often been discussed. The reboot was plagued with vicious reactions from various corners of the internet right from the beginning and, unfortunately, the film was unable to totally prove its dissenters wrong when it was released in cinemas. Despite making a relatively hefty amount at the box office and earning a cult following, the inflated budget meant that it was viewed as a failure.

So, why did Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters not have the impact it should have? Nobody actually takes the opinions of sexist Twitter trolls seriously, so why did audiences fail to flock to theaters to see Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones bust some ghosts? Well, a new look at the situation from Forbes’ movie analyst Scott Mendelson suggests that the blame can be pinned on… Star Wars.

Or, more accurately, the trend for “legacy sequels” or “rebootquels” (ugh) that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the poster child of this decade (see also: Jurassic World). TFA‘s ginormous success proved that the belated sequel option was the safest way to go, Mendelson argues, as moviegoers liked the combination of something new but also the nostalgia that comes from referencing past movies and following on from them directly.

The all-female Ghostbusters, on the other hand, was a pure remake. It even featured numerous stars of the original movies in different roles. Whether it’s true or not, there’s often the sense that a remake stamps on the memory of the first film rather than giving off the more pleasing feeling of homage and respect that comes from a legacy reboot. This could have fed into audiences’ disinterest in the production.

Forbes’ theory is supported by Sony’s new direction for the franchise, too. Ghostbusters 3 is all about the nostalgia, with Jason – son of Ivan – Reitman directing and Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson rumored to return to pass the torch – well, proton pack – to a new generation. We’ll have to see if this upcoming effort ends up performing better than Feig’s work, but if it doesn’t, it’ll seem that the real reason 2016’s Ghostbusters flopped is because people just aren’t interested in more of the franchise.