You might be waiting a while for a second call from “Ghostbusters.”
After middling international box office and a fast-approaching animation launch, it seems a reunion for Kristen Wiig & Co. at Sony Pictures is precarious.
“While nothing has been officially announced yet, there’s no doubt in my mind it will happen,” President of Worldwide distribution at Sony Rory Bruer declared to TheWrap last month.
But the studio is now being more cautious, telling TheWrap on Wednesday, “Nothing has been decided on the next live action movie.”
In fairness, the second phase of the Ghostbusters brand was always meant to be the animated effort “Ghostbusters: Ecto Force,” a TV series about teams of paranormal scientists around the world, an individual close to the brand told TheWrap.
But viable franchises waste no time dating sequels and fast tracking filmmakers these days — what changed?
Blame it on box office, perhaps.
“Ghostbusters” was made for a whopping $144 million in production costs. That doesn’t count ancillary outlays or marketing expenditures — which typically add 50 percent to the overall spend.
After four weeks in theaters, the female-led reboot has made only $117.2 million domestically — a low number that’s nearly impossible to recover from at this stage. Even worse, the horror comedy didn’t play internationally, netting only $62.8 million overseas so far for a worldwide total of $180 million. It has yet to open in France, Japan and Mexico, but those markets aren’t positioned to push “Ghostbusters” into the black.
Sony has not yet finished the international rollout in certain territories, after which The Hollywood Reporter said the studio is preparing to take a $70 million loss on an all-in spend of $300 million. Not true, Sony says — both to the loss and the total break-even number, including marketing.
“The $70 million loss calculation is way off,” a Sony Pictures spokesperson told TheWrap. “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.”