Sony had hoped to launch a whole new Ghostbusters universe with their Paul Feig-directed reboot. There have long been murmurs of a male-centric spinoff, and a sequel to Feig’s Ghostbusters seemed inevitable. However, fears of a tepid box office have become reality, and now another outing with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, et al. appears unlikely after all.
According to Box Office Mojo, the film has earned just north of $180 million worldwide, with $117 million of that coming from domestic theaters. On a production budget of $144 million, that doesn’t seem too shabby, but Sony has already said that it would have to hit $300 million to break even after factoring in advertising costs. The Hollywood Reporter reports that box office experts believe the movie will struggle to reach even $225 million, leading to a $70 million-plus loss on the project.
Sony contends that those numbers are misleading because they don’t include revenue from merchandising and attractions like those at Madam Tussauds and a theme park in Dubai. “This loss calculation is way off,” a Sony rep told THR. “With multiple revenue streams, including consumer products, gaming, location-based entertainment, continued international rollout, and huge third-party promotional partnerships that mitigated costs, the bottom line, even before co-financing, is not remotely close to that number.” The movie also has yet to open in a handful of markets, including France, Japan, and Mexico. (Not being allowed into China will no doubt hurt the overall gross significantly.)
Still, even if the box office doesn’t warrant another film right away, it doesn’t mean the studio is out of the ghostbusting game. Original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman is using his new subsidiary Ghost Corps. to launch animated versions of the franchise, with a TV series, Ghostbusters: Ecto Force, looking to debut in early 2018 and an animated feature being eyed for 2019.
A Ghostbusters 2 may never materialize, but the Ghostbusters brand is far from dead. Though Feig’s version may have fallen short of expectations, they weren’t the expectations of anyone currently in control of the franchise; former Sony film chief Amy Pascal was the one that okayed Feig’s reboot, not current chief Tom Rothman and Reitman. “We’re very proud of the bold movie Paul Feig made, which critics and audiences loved,” the studio rep added. “It has enlivened a 30-year-old brand and put it into the modern zeitgeist. As a result, we have many ideas in the works to further exploit the Ghostbusters universe.”
Below, watch Gerber & Gerber review Ghostbusters: