This is perhaps the most surprising news I have seen in some time: Ivan Reitman is producing a male-driven Ghostbusters movie that could be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and will be written by Drew Pearce and that could star Channing Tatum. What's more, it's the beginning of a planned Ghostbustersverse, which would include more spin-offs and TV shows and merch.
And yes, the Paul Feig movie is still happening. No, I'm not quite sure what this all means.
Reitman talked to Deadline and explained, sort of:
“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 Deadline. “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.”
So the Feig version is setting up a universe where the boy version can come out? This is so absolutely bizarre to me, like Sony is already kicking the female Ghostbusters to the curb before they even start production. It's as if they heard all the moaning from the manchildren on the internet and decided to have a boy Ghostbusters as a backup plan and because they're worried lady toys won't sell to the 35 year old men who make up the collector market now.
Here's the thing: Reitman (and Dan Aykroyd, who is joining as a producing partner in the new shingle Ghostcorp) has assembled a killer fucking team. The Russos working from a Drew Pearce script with Tatum in one of the lead roles? This is a strong scenario for a movie, period, let alone a Ghostbusters movie. Of course I still stand by my long-held belief that nobody should make more Ghostbusters and that this should just be a new franchise, but I also think everybody should be able to have a home and enough food to eat, so I'm clearly living in fantasy land.
And how can you not feel a touch of glee and love of the movies when Reitman calls this 'branded entertainment?' Who didn't grow up hoping to get into branded entertainment?
As is the hot thing these days, it's a universe in the making. Says Reitman:
“My primary focus will be to build the Ghostbusters into the universe it always promised it might become. The original film is beloved, as is the cast, and we hope to create films we will continue to love.”
Here's what I'm getting from this: the Feig movie is the Iron Man of this new universe, with other things spinning out - one of those other things specifically being an all-male Ghostbusters. So now we get separate but equal franchises, and maybe we can have Ghostbusters franchises for every race and ethnicity, as opposed to just casting a nice mix of humans in one team.
The tone of this piece is probably schizophrenic, but that's because I'm so torn by what we've learned. The Russos, Pearce and Tatum are awesome and I love them all working together. More Ghostbusters is something I'm generally against, although a teen I played the Ghostbusters roleplaying game (pen and paper, kids) and wondered why no one ever explored this boundless universe more. At the same time as that, I feel like having a boy team waiting in the wings is a cheap and shitty way of undercutting what Feig is doing. I wish the Deadline piece made it clearer how these films are related - will the male version feel like a spin-off, or is it being calculated as the fallback in case the lady version (which, frankly, is supposed to have a shit script) fails?
Finally - what does this mean for the Russos? My sources - and the sources at the trades - have said that they're in line to direct Avengers: Infinity War Parts i and II. But Reitman sees them shooting his movie next summer - does that take them off that project? Or is this the sort of in-the-press negotiating we've seen so many people do with Marvel over the years? Perhaps it's a case of the Russos waiting to commit to one or the other until they know for sure which will move forward. I really, really, really want them to do Avengers, so I have my fingers crossed for that.