Melissa McCarthy Finally Addresses Ghostbusters Reboot Backlash

It’s been five years since the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters hit theaters. The film reimagined the series with an all-female cast and garnered considerable backlash—along with a good deal of defenders—upon its release. Now, one of its stars is finally opening up about the drama surrounding the film. And with the impending release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, this month is as good a time as any to reflect on the franchise’s history and its future.

In a Yahoo! Entertainment interview, Melissa McCarthy addressed a lot of the hate the movie generated, saying she doesn’t understand people’s need to dictate how a story can be told. McCarthy played Dr. Abigail Yates in the movie, alongside co-stars Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. The stars were subject to sexist backlash during the film’s release, including racial abuse in social media targeting Jones, according to the Guardian.

While not all critics loved the 2016 Ghostbusters, it still garnered a respectable 74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, making it certified fresh from almost 400 reviews. The audience score, however, is telling, as it garnered only 49 percent across over 100,000 reviews. Despite the film’s $229 million gross making more than its $144 million budget, the flick underperformed at the box office too. Marketing cost considerations made the “break even” bar set at $300 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Whatever you think of the film, McCarthy said that it’s wrong for people to slam a story like the Paul Feig-directed Ghostbusters just for taking on an alternate interpretation of a popular franchise. The film notably took on a markedly different, improvisational comedic style than the 1984 original.

“There’s no end to stories we can tell, and there’s so many reboots and relaunches and different interpretations, and to say any of them are wrong, I just don’t get it,” McCarthy said. 

McCarthy’s distaste for the vitriol that arose from the release of the film is understandable, since most people go to a movie to escape from the grimness of everyday realities. And there are definitely some fans of the 2016 film. The talent from its lead actresses is certainly self-evident, whether you liked the storytelling style or not.

“I don’t get the fight to see who can be the most negative and the most hate-filled,” McCarthy said. “Everybody should be able to tell the story they want to tell. If you don’t want to see it, you don’t have to see it.”

Regardless of your take on the 2016 comedy, fans can be rest assured that the franchise itself is still counted among the living. The newest installment, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, is set to premiere on Nov. 19, 2021. Though the film eschews with the continuity of the 2016 film, actress Sigourney Weaver has indicated this upcoming movie may be a pleasant surprise for fans. We’ll just have to see where the Ghostbusters franchise takes us next.