I thought we were finally free. The 2016 Ghostbusters movie was released, it exists. Now, there’s going to be another Ghostbusters movie. Sure, it’s not going to connect to the 2016 movie, which kind of blows, but it’s not a big deal. Really, it’s fine. Everything’s fine. Or at least it was. For some reason, or no reason at all, this is all becoming a thing again. And I hate it.
Earlier this week, Ghostbusters 3 director Jason Reitman earned a bit of an eye roll when he told The Playlist that his upcoming movie would be handing Ghostbusters “back to the fans,” also noting that he’s “not making the Juno of Ghostbusters movies” (he also directed Juno).
“This is going to be a love letter to Ghostbusters,” said Reitman, son of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman. “I love this franchise. I grew up watching it. I consider myself the first Ghostbusters fan. I was like seven years old when that movie came out and I love it. I want to make a movie for my fellow Ghostbusters fans.”
This might sound innocuous enough — if you weren’t aware of the months upon months of backlash against the 2016 Ghostbusters movie, which reinterpreted the franchise with an all-female cast. Certain groups, largely consisting of male fans of the original Ghostbusters, contributed to an online campaign against the film and those who supported it.
This included down-voting trailers, tanking review sites, and harassing director Paul Feig and the film’s stars online — notably Leslie Jones, who faced a huge amount of racist and sexist trolls.
Given the climate surrounding this franchise, saying you’re giving the movie “back to the fans” after everything those so-called “fans” did, is bad PR at best and dog-whistling at worst. Reitman seemed to realise this and made a statement.
Wo, that came out wrong! I have nothing but admiration for Paul and Leslie and Kate and Melissa and Kristen and the bravery with which they made Ghostbusters 2016. They expanded the universe and made an amazing movie!
— Jason Reitman (@JasonReitman) February 21, 2019
Director of the 2016 film, Paul Feig, stepped in to defend Reitman writing, “Jason was a supporter of mine at a time when I couldn’t get movies made. He has always been a true gentleman to me and a supporter of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call. I can’t wait to see his take on the Ghostbusters universe. Big love and respect to you, Jason. Your fan, Paul.”
Reitman’s follow up was all well and good, but in some ways, it feels a little too late. The online conversation has already started, and it’s already terrible.
I fully believe that both movies can exist — one already does. They don’t have to connect or validate each other, nor does one have to insult or negate the existence of the other. They’re movies. Who cares?
The next Ghostbusters movie isn’t coming out for another year, but it’s clear that this is going to be the conversation the entire time we’re waiting for the damn thing. I thought we were free of this, and I’m annoyed as hell that we’re not. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to mute the word Ghostbusters from my Twitter feed. Y’all can yell about it amongst yourselves. I’m done.