I would say it’s a pleasure to talk to you again so soon, but it really isn’t. These are intervention letters and, typically, it’s not good to get even one of them. But two in a week? Your problem might be more serious than I initially feared.
To be fair, you didn’t directly broach the topic of doing another Ghostbusters film: that was actually producer Ivan Reitman, who told io9 that he was still developing both live-action and animated projects within the Ghostbusters Cinematic Universe (such a silly, silly sentence.) At this point we have to trust Reitman though and believe that work is still being done within the Ghostbusters franchise…and since you oversee said franchise, responsibility for this ultimately rests on your shoulders.
But even more so than with Venom, I’m at a complete loss at what I can tell you that would make you move on. I mean, have you SEEN the box office receipts from the last one? The rebooted Ghostbusters only made $229 million worldwide upon its release last year — $229 million! That’s not even close to double its $160 million budget, and pretty much everyone agreed that it was one of the biggest bombs of last year. But now you want to…keep trying?
Look, I appreciate the pro-activeness — I really do. But can’t you see that no one wants more Ghostbusters movie? Can’t you see that you have tainted the brand and that, if you keep going down the path you are going in, you’ll just be left with an even bigger dumpster fire? Can’t you see that Ghostbusters is not the answer to your blockbuster woes? No, I suppose you can’t. Because you, studio, are being blinded. Blinded by your franchise addiction.
And look, I understand: EVERYONE in Hollywood has franchise addiction. All your friends, peers, and family are doing it — so why shouldn’t you? Well, the real issue stems from the franchises that you are choosing to use: it’s not the good shit, Sony. It’s not that clean, healthy, organic type of franchise that can gross you a billion dollars and improve your yearly overhead ten-fold. It’s the dirty, cheap franchises like The Da Vinci Code, Bad Boys, Underworld, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and many, many more. More often than not I condemn franchise use to begin with but, if you HAVE to use them, you at least need to be safe about it. But if 2016’s reboot proved anything, it’s that Ghostbusters is far from safe. It’s actively damaging, and you have to divorce yourself from it as soon as possible.
Could you restore the quality of the Ghostbusters franchise? Maybe — it’s a pretty open world, and there’s no reason you can’t make a great movie about a bunch of goofballs hunting ghosts. Hell, they did once! But, granted, you’ve also tried to do it again twice, and it hasn’t quite worked out. I know in baseball there’s a “three strikes and you’re out” thing, but this isn’t baseball. This is Hollywood. This is financial. And, clearly, this is addiction. And until you clear yourself from it, the brand is just going to haunt your behavior, attitude, and stock portfolio for years to come.
I know moving away from your bevy of tainted franchises might be hard, Sony, but it is the only answer you got left. The good news is that there’s still time. You still have a chance to recover as a studio if you just move away from making sequels and spin-offs that audiences aren’t asking for. If you can do that, well — the sky is the limit.
Also published on Medium.