Quite impressively, three months before its release, movie watchers have obstinately determined the Ghostbusters remake to be a failure.
Yes, if you haven’t heard, for reasons beyond my understanding (*cough money cough*), Sony is remaking the adored and iconic 1980s hit, Ghostbusters.
Scheduled for release on July 15th this year, the remake features a twist: Bill Murray and his crew of dudes are no longer Bill Murray and a crew of dudes at all. In fact, they are quite the opposite. The new ghostbusters are – and hold on to your hats- all women.
I have to say, I’m impressed. This is an innovative and clever way to ensure this version isn’t simply a carbon copy of its predecessor. Hollywood, for once, has made a bold move, changing an overworked and outdated formula for something modern and open-minded.
So is the addition of women such a bad thing?
Apparently yes. Apparently very really definitely yes. Apparently this is a sin so great even Satan doesn’t want to get involved. By the sounds of it, Sony has just committed some violent form of cinematic genocide.
One only needs to shuffle through the trailer’s YouTube comment section (always a polite and friendly forum) to gauge public opinion. Already boasting over half a million dislikes, here is a list of some of my favourite informed online critiques:
“Daddy, are the bad feminist people gone?”
“Jesus, at least make them attractive.”
“Why is the franchise that played a huge part in my 80s childhood taken over by a 2016 Hollywood feminist cult?”
“This is why we should kill all women.”
And a personal favourite from a man I can only assume is a professor of cinema studies:
“They should cast men not this bitches fuckem this will be disaster.”
If these opinions were in isolation, perhaps I would let them slide, acknowledging that responses are embroiled in the anger that comes with the remake of a classic.
Yet I am certain that had this exact trailer been released with an all-star male cast, reactions would differ entirely. Sadly, this is a reflection of a wider problem.
Of the top 100 grossing films of 2014, women held only 30 per cent of the speaking roles. Within those 100 films, a measly 12 per cent had female protagonists.
These are obviously shocking statistics.
However, it would be foolish to expect anything different when the majority of Hollywood’s creators are men. Women make up 11 per cent of the industry’s writers and just seven per cent of its directors. And of the people hiring these creators, the executive producers, only 19 per cent are female. This is an institutional problem.
We have been unexposed to women in film forever. Today, active female appearances are still treated with distrust, almost like we are being asked to eat a foreign delicacy that, although is probably very tasty, looks somewhat like a hand. We feel uncomfortable when a female takes the role we are so used to being played by a man.
For the most part, us men leave films with female protagonists to the females. Regardless of content, these are immediately categorised as women’s films and are not given a chance. I think of films like The Dressmaker, or even Brooklyn from this year’s Oscars, which I elected not to view because something inside me judged their trailers and their female protagonists and left me believing they are better suited for women.
Yet the status quo is changing.
This, for a lot of people, is very difficult to deal with. Perhaps women shouldn’t break out of their confined roles, but remain as what they always have been: mesmerisingly sexy, confident in a non-threatening way, and really good at waving their hair seductively in the wind.
There is every possibility this new Ghostbusters will be a load of garbage.
In fact, I’m almost certain it will be. The majority of the jokes in the trailer appear cheap, the visual effects are peculiar, and in general, I think remaking a classic like Ghostbusters is wrong. But a bad movie will be the result of it being a bad movie. The female cast, unless they have poor acting performances, should have nothing to do with it.
If polls are anything to go by, Americans seem set to elect their first female president later this year. This should send a massive message to Hollywood: the time has come to give women a fair go at the top jobs in the film industry. If female writers, producers, directors and actors are allowed a just share of the industry, then the industry will change dramatically.
It is 2016. Problems like we have seen with the Ghostbusters trailer should and can, finally, be outgrown.