I have some thoughts on this development…but I think I’ll save those for after the news part here. The word comes from Deadline, who reports that Sony is actively developing a larger Ghostbusters franchise that will be a counter-part to Paul Feig’s upcoming reboot. This new Ghostbusters film will be more along the lines of the Ghostbusters 3 that Dan Akroyd was wanting, and will star Channing Tatum, because Sony can’t get enough of him.
Sony Pictures is broadening the Ghostbusters franchise and the first order of business will be an action-centric comedy that is a counterpart to the Paul Feig-directed film that will start production in June. The studio is simultaneously forming Ghostcorps, a new production company whose principals include original Ghostbusters architects Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd; they will have offices at Sony with the mission to scare up branding opportunities based on the 1984 comedy classic.
Reitman confirmed these early plans to Deadline, and said that this was something he and Aykroyd had long discussed. In fact, it is remarkably close to the branding prospects included in a cosmic Bible for the possibilities that they hatched 30 years ago, ideas which were used to form the original film. They were rolling around ideas for Ghostcorps with top Sony execs Amy Pascal and Belgrad last fall at the Toronto Film Festival at Montecito. That’s the 12,000-square-foot restaurant that Reitman opened near the TIFF Bell Lightbox building, and which played host to several major festival premieres. Now, after Pascal left to become a producer on Feig’s Ghostbusters, they are ready to move on the branding effort.
“We want to expand the Ghostbusters universe in ways that will include different films, TV shows, merchandise, all things that are part of modern filmed entertainment,” Reitman told me. “This is a branded entertainment, a scary supernatural premise mixed with comedy. Paul Feig’s film will be the first version of that, shooting in June to come out in July 2016. He’s got four of the funniest women in the world, and there will be other surprises to come. The second film has a wonderful idea that builds on that. Drew will start writing and the hope is to be ready for the Russo Brothers’ next window next summer to shoot, with the movie coming out the following year. It’s just the beginning of what I hope will be a lot of wonderful movies.”
A few things spring to mind at reading this. For one, I never envisioned Ghostbusters as some sort of larger universe. That’s not at all how the first couple of films play out, nor do I feel that’s how it was intended. Secondly, this is putting the cart before the horse in a big way. Sony feels left behind, and they’ve been that way for a while. Their properties don’t work in a shared universe the same way other studios (like Warner Bros and Disney/Marvel) do, and they’ve been doing everything they can to cash in on the latest trend.
They did the same thing with Amazing Spider-Man, and look where that got them: a flop of a movie and having absolutely no idea what to do next. I don’t like this idea of developing a universe multi-project endeavor withing having seen if the first film (a reboot no less) is going to work. It seems way too early to begin this, and frankly doesn’t give me much confidence. It’s almost as if they’re presenting this secondary film as a backup plan. Like they’re saying “if you don’t like the female one, you can have this instead”.
Regardless, it seems to be happening. Hopefully it’ll pay off and we get a few GOOD films out of it, but right now, I’m more wary than anything. What do you guys make of it?