Summary

  • Backlash towards “Ghostbusters 2016” was intense, but there were unnecessary negative comments against all-female cast members.
  • Melissa McCarthy defended the film and her fellow cast members against misogynistic and racist attacks.
  • The negative reception of the 2016 remake led to a shift from reboots to sequels, such as “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” which received a more positive reaction.



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Five years after the release of Ghostbusters 2016, Melissa McCarthy responded to the backlash the reboot received. The third film in the franchise, Ghostbusters was a basically remake of the 1984 film of the same name but with an all-female cast taking over as the members of the titular squad. Starring McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, the all-female reboot received mixed reviews from plenty of fans and critics. That contributed to a box-office bomb, with the film grossing only $222.9 million, marking a $70 million loss (via Box Office Mojo).


The film’s failures led many to believe the franchise was officially dead but it has come back in strong fashion. 2021 saw the release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, 2024 saw the arrival of yet another sequel, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, and there might even be a Ghostbusters 6. Still, even with the franchise returning to some of its former glory, there is a sting that remains from 2016. Though that’s true for some fans who weren’t pleased with the release, it’s also true of the cast, including McCarthy, who had to endure the negative feedback which wasn’t always warranted.

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Ghostbusters 2016 Was Criticized Before It Even Was Released

The Film Was Hated By Some Upon First Sight


When an all-female Ghostbusters was announced in 2015, the backlash was immediate. The official trailer on Sony’s YouTube channel has 1.1 million dislikes, and subsequent trailers received similar levels of hate. Comments mostly took issue with the casting, complaining about “double standards” and “unoriginal reboots.” The hate towards the film became so intense that it received several negative IMDb ratings even before its release. Similar tactics have been used for other female-led projects like Barbie and The Little Mermaid but it most notably happened in the MCU with Captain Marvel and She-Hulk. The creative team behind Ghostbusters even addressed the negative reception, adding a scene in the film where the crew reads hateful comments on YouTube.


This is the kind of thing that can render members of a fanbase as toxic. It’s completely fair to criticize Ghostbusters for any real issues it has. Critics who actually gave the film a chance called out aspects like cheesy special effects, a lack of laughs, and the runtime being too long. However, taking the time to give negative reviews to a film before it releases purely because of the female cast is unfair to the talent involved, especially since these were funny women with long careers in comedy and on Saturday Night Live. Even more, reviews were actually rather positive as Ghostbusters (2016) holds a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Melissa McCarthy’s Feelings On Ghostbusters’ Negative Response

The Actor Defended The Film In 2021

Melissa McCarthy has come to Ghostbusters‘ defense (via ET Canada), expressing her confusion as to why it received such intense backlash. McCarthy has previously defended the film and the casting in several interviews, emphasizing the “group” of people who feel it necessary to hate the reboot. The comments were not only misogynistic, but Jones was also accused of promoting racial stereotypes, while simultaneously being the target of racist attacks on social media. In a sentiment echoed by both the cast and director, McCarthy explained her feelings on the “hate-filled” backlash, saying,


“There’s no end to stories we can tell, and there’s so many reboots and relaunches and different interpretations, and to say any of them are wrong, I just don’t get it, I don’t get the fight to see who can be the most negative and the most hate-filled. Everybody should be able to tell the story they want to tell. If you don’t want to see it, you don’t have to see it.”

Ghostbusters Went Away From Reboots After 2016

The New Films Act As Sequels


Reboots can be a hit or miss, often struggling to win over the established fanbase and attract new audiences. Some fail by being too different from the source material, while others suffer because they’re not different enough. While Ghostbusters tried to tell a new story within this world, the sexist backlash towards the all-female cast doomed the movie to failure. With so many Halloween sequels and Friday the 13th remakes (and many others) that audiences continuously flock to, it seems that reboots as a concept isn’t the issue, but rather who is the face of the new version. Regardless, the commercial failure of Ghostbusters led studio Columbia Pictures to move in a different direction.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a continuation of the main Ghostbusters storyline, received a far more positive reaction from audiences, especially the crowd that was overly negative about the 2016 version. That said, the Rotten Tomatoes rating is at 64%, which is down from the 2016 iteration. Still, fans seem to appreciate that the upcoming sequel seems more familiar to the original property.

However, despite some misplaced backlash, the all-female Ghostbusters (and McCarthy’s character, the loveable Dr. Abby Yates), are still adored by many fans. And luckily for those loyal viewers, McCarthy went on to star in another reboot that received backlash, portraying the evil sea witch, Ursula, in Disney’s live-action adaption of The Little Mermaid in 2023.


Source: ET Canada

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