It’s safe to say that Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a box office success. The latest reboot had solid critical reviews, but a stronger fan reaction than the 2016 female-led version. Thus far, Ghostbusters: Afterlife has made nearly $177 million worldwide, and though that isn’t a huge number like Spider-Man: No Way Home, it’s still considered a success because the coronavirus is still hitting hard across the country. Sony & Columbia Pictures will put out a special box set called the Ghostbusters: Ultimate Collection, which includes the original 1984 film and the sequel, Ghostbusters II, along with the 2021 film. However, the 2016 reboot with Kirsten Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon is notably missing from the set. The box set has eight and comes with a special features disc, making Ghostbusters disc, a photobook and special packaging replica of the Ghost Trap to hold all the Blu-ray cases. The set will be released on February 1, 2022. Now, Sony has decided to add the 2016 version into the Ghostbusters: Ultimate Collection afterall, but here’s what Paul Feig said after the studio purposely omitted the 2016 feature:
“Um…@SonyPicture, I know this must be a mistake. We do have a lot of fans and Bill, Dan and Ernie were in it, and it won the Kids Choice Award for Best Feature Film the year it came out. So, I guess this was just an oversight? #weareallghostbusters. As the title of this article asks, should Sony pretend that the female-led Ghostbusters never existed?
Here’s the thing, Hollywood currently has this favorite trend of pretending that movies don’t exist. Everything after the first Halloween is no longer canon because the executives understand the negative feedback that the sequels have received. It’s the same thing with the latest Texas Chainsaw Massacre. However, I have to agree with Feig here, it’s not particularly fair that Sony wants to pretend that Ghostbusters 2016 didn’t exist. Let’s be honest, the 2016 reboot didn’t get a fair shake because fans weren’t happy with the all-female cast reboot. The negative backlash came before the first reviews were released! However, the Paul Feig vehicle made some crucial mistakes are as well. One of them is actually trying to pretend that the original films didn’t exist! Yeah, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts made an appearance, but it’s not as their original Ghostbusters characters. The female-led version is non-canon to the first two Ghostbusters films and Afterlife. The biggest crime Sony tried to commit was trying to erase a rich history with a feminist twist. In some ways, I can understand why the 2016 Ghostbusters sequel wasn’t included in the Ultimate Collection. It’s pretty much on an island on its own right now. It doesn’t particularly make sense to include all four movies because you don’t need the Paul Feig vehicle to understand Afterlife’s easter eggs.
However, the main reason I’m actually against Sony pretending that the 2016 version didn’t happen is due to the fact that the film does have fans. The notion that studios pretending that sequels/reboots erasing history makes sense business wise. Halloween was in a dire state before the reboot. The sequels did diminish its legacy. However, by trying to be pretend that these movies don’t exist, it muddles the waters and can often be very confusing. Audiences aren’t stupid. They haven’t forgotten about the Halloween sequels. There are plenty of people who enjoyed the sequels. This marketing tactic can come back and bite executives in the ass. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is being given the same treatment for the second time. By pulling this stunt, you’re essentially saying that audiences wasted their time and money investing in these movies that are no longer canon. Eventually, audiences are going to stop trusting this re-branding tactic and figure what’s the point investing in films when they’re likely going to be “erased” from history. Sony was wrong for trying to completely restart the franchise without acknowledging the history behind it. However, there could’ve been a way to incorporate the 2016 version into Afterlife. There could’ve been an explanation on why Wiig, McCarthy, Jones, McKinnon weren’t present in the latest chapter by stating that the four women tragically died while they were trying to carry on the legacy. That way, the 2016 feature would still be canon in the Ghostbusters world, thus meaning that the people who did shell out money for the female-led version didn’t waste their time investing in the film. To be clear, I don’t think Sony intently meant to disrespect Paul Feig and the cast and crew of the 2016 version. Most likely, they figured that the female-led feature didn’t have any ties to the other films, so they opted not to add it. Plus, the film is mostly hated, so business wise it just didn’t make sense. Sony shouldn’t pretend the 2016 feature didn’t exist and if there’s a way that they could address the women’s absence in the next film then that would be a great way of respecting the fans would do care about the Paul Feig version.
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