Dan Aykroyd has graciously given his blessing to the “Ghostbusters” reboot, which opens July 15, and stars Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. “As originator of the original," series co-creator Aykroyd noted in a Facebook post, "Saw test screening of new movie. Apart from brilliant, genuine performances from the cast both female and male, it has more laughs and more scares than the first 2 films plus Bill Murray is in it!"
This has not stopped the trolls, who have been dogging this project on the Internet since it was announced. “What a way to s*** on ‘Ghostbusters,’” a poster commented to Aykroyd’s endorsement. The first “Ghostbusters” trailer, unleashed last March, has more than 33 million views. At present, it has 855,139 dislikes, earning it the dubious distinction of being the most hated trailer in YouTube history. Has no one seen the trailer for the new Adam Sandler made-for-Netflix atrocity, “The Do-Over?”
After reading the comments posted against the trailer, I had to check my calendar to make sure it’s really 2016 and not 1966. “WHY? seriously why?,” posted ChrisR132. “Why not just make a normal Ghostbusters. Looks terrible.” As if casting women in the lead roles is somehow abnormal? “Female Ghostbusters my arse,” responded another. “Be ashamed if you go see this?.” And to the iconic question, “Who ya gonna call?” someone responded, “Suicide Hotline.” That one got 20 “likes.”
“Ghostbusters 3” had had a long gestation. Original cast members Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis originally conceived of the film as a reunion of the beloved characters. The concept was later reconceived as a “next-generation” story with the original team passing the torch to a new squad. Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (“The Office”) wrote a script which was later thrown out (it didn’t help that they wrote the flop, “Year One”). The project was dealt a more tragic blow with the death in 2014 of Ramis, which compelled Ivan Reitman, who directed the first two films, to pull out (he is still connected as a producer).
When it was announced in 2014 that an all-female Ghostbusters squad was being recruited, the response was fast and furious, despite director Paul Feig’s track record with such women-centric comedies as “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat.” He has since completed his McCarthy hat trick with “Spy,” which earned more than $110 million domestically last year. Mike Fleming Jr., writing on the website Deadline.com, groused, “What’s next, a Goodfellas redo with female mobsters? Animal House at a sorority?” (Both of those ideas don’t sound half bad, actually).
As I wrote here in 2014, if “Ghostbusters II” taught us anything, it’s that if the franchise was going to rise from the dead, it would need a fresh start and a fresh take. Fleming’s proposed been-there-done-that casting (Some combination of Jonah Hill, Kevin Hart, Channing Tatum, James Franco, Zach Galifiankis, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Charlie Day and Jason Sudekis.”) would not have been it.
And yet, an all-woman "Ghostbusters" has been met with unprecedented vitriol. Melissa McCarthy has been taking the high road against the beknighted who rail against the prospect of “Ghostbusters 3” for the belief that women aren’t funny. “All those comments – ‘You’re ruining my childhood!’ I mean, really,” McCarthy told The Guardian newspaper. “I have a visual of those people not having a Ben (her husband), not having friends, so they’re just sitting there and spewing hate into this fake world of the internet. I just hope they find a friend.”
To that, I would add, I just hope they get a life.