Things sure do move quickly in the world of Hollywood studios and, as the old saying goes, “you snooze, you lose.” Such is the case for Joe and Anthony Russo’s long-rumoured involvement with the Ghostbusters franchise at Sony. Clearly, the Russo Brothers haven’t lost much, as it is their hiring for Avengers: Infinity War that has taken them out of the ghostbusting equation. Rather, it is a loss for all those complaining about the concept of an all-woman ghostbusting team, as will be depicted in the forthcoming Paul Feig movie.
Speaking to Forbes about the impending release of Captain America: Civil War, Joe and Anthony Russo explained that, in reality, Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters was simply first across the finish line.
“There was a period there when Paul Feig was engaging Sony in talks about Ghostbusters and we were also engaging them. He was further along with his process than we were and he closed his deal so that’s the only Ghostbusters world that’s being explored right now over at Sony. Once we took Avengers: Infinity War it took us off the table for any kind of any potential work on a Ghostbusters project.”
The anti-female Ghostbusters camp had long held the prospect of an all-male version as reason for optimism regarding the rebooting of the classic franchise. The version discussed here was being written by Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3), and had Channing Tatum attached to star. Producer of the original Ghostbusters movies, Ivan Reitman, had even referred to this competing project in interviews – suggesting to Deadline just a year ago that it would be part of an expanding cinematic universe.
“We want to expand the Ghostbusters universe in ways that will include different films, TV shows, merchandise, all things that are part of modern filmed entertainment. This is a branded entertainment, a scary supernatural premise mixed with comedy. Paul Feig’s film will be the first version of that, shooting in June to come out in July, 2016. He’s got four of the funniest women in the world, and there will be other surprises to come. The second film has a wonderful idea that builds on that. Drew will start writing and the hope is to be ready for the Russo Brothers’ next window next summer to shoot, with the movie coming out the following year. It’s just the beginning of what I hope will be a lot of wonderful movies”.
Presumably, a Drew Pearce Ghostbusters script still exists somewhere, so we may well see this version at some point in the future – but it won’t be any time soon, and it won’t be directed by the Russo Brothers.
Those opposed to any kind of reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise at all are predictably suggesting that this perceived pull-back on the part of Sony indicates concern about the success of Feig’s movie – that the studio is, perhaps, waiting to see how it is received before forging ahead with further plans. It seems far more likely, however, that the creative forces behind this other Ghostbusters project just couldn’t pull it together in time.
Notice, specifically, how nobody embroiled in this ongoing speculative Ghostbusters franchise commentary has suggested that, maybe, the script by Katie Dippold was just better than that delivered by Drew Pearce (if he has delivered one at all) – and that’s why Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters project got the greenlight first. Stranger things have happened than a female screenwriter with a proven track record writing a great movie, after all.