Sony started the fireworks Wednesday for Paul Feig’s estrogen-fueled reboot of Ghostbusters by showing off the trailer in advance before a select group to standing-ovation results. The movie is slated for a July 15 release.
Since the project was first announced and kept largely under wraps (some actors’ reps weren’t even privy to the pages their clients were reading), Ghostbusters has faced its fair share of scrutiny by the media for changing the protagonists from men to women. Feig told the crowd at the Sony mini-event that he’s “relieved for the moment, before it’s released to the world.” Producer Ivan Reitman was more certain about the crowd’s response to the trailer, saying, “I’m confident.”
To the point of the creative decision to switch the genders on Ghostbusters, Feig explained: “Ghostbusters are for everybody. The first movie worked because it had four of the funniest people and I just want the funniest people — and the funniest people are these women.”
Added screenwriter and co-producer Katie Dippold, who worked with Feig on The Heat, “This is a story, if you placed men in those characters, you could do it. It’s pretty genderless.”
The reboot was one of the last big projects pushed through by former Sony chief Amy Pascal during her tenure at the studio before The Hack took its toll on the studio. For years, Sony wanted to reboot the film with Bill Murray returning as Peter Venkman and chased him with two scripts. But it was a challenge to get him to read them. Reitman was always a part of the equation. Following the death of Ghostbusters star and scribe Harold Ramis in 2014, Reitman decided to turn over the directing reins.
Not much has been known until now about the film. Kristen Wiig playsparticle physicist Erin, Melissa McCarthy’s character is an expert in the paranormal, Kate McKinnon’s the nuclear engineer who creates the team’s inventions, and Leslie Jones is a former subway employee who knows her way around New York City.
The plot per Wiig’s character? As she described her, “Someone had created a device that has amplified paranormal activity and we might be the only ones who can stop it.” Feig mentioned that a number of the Ghostbusters staples that we’re familiar with will definitely make their way into the film, hopefully in a surprising way. Count on a cameo by the round, fat, toothy ghost Slimer, who Reitman said was initially nicknamed in early drafts of the first film as “The Belushi ghost, because he ate all the time.” Dan Ackroyd originally conceived Ghostbusters as a vehicle for him and his SNL and Blues Brothers pal.
As far as the music goes, Feig says it’s essential to have a portion of the original Ray Parker Jr. title song in the movie. There also will be a new version of that tune. As to whether they’re reusing Elmer Bernstein’s now-familiar themes, Feig said that composer Theodore Shapiro is “doing an amazing theme and we’re playing with a lot of different themes. I want this to be big, spooky and cool.” Feig worked with Shapiro on Spy.
A majority of those who showed up, and even flew into L.A. for the event at Sony’s Cary Grant Theatre, were mega-fans, guys who dress up like Ghostbusters and visit children’s hospitals around the country. After the trailer ran a first time, they shouted for it to play again.
Previously announced, Sony also has a guy counterpart Ghostbusters in the works as announced by Deadline last March with Channing Tatum producing and Joe and Anthony Russo directing.