Ghostbusters reboot director Paul Feig has once again lashed out at fans critical of his forthcoming movie, again hiding behind claims that the overwhelming negativity towards the reboot stems from misogyny and social ignorance rather than the lackluster, ill-conceived product he has developed. Yet while it would be entertaining to once again point out the misguided ignorance in Feig's comments it appears something more sinister may lurk behind the Ghostbusters reboot than a few CGI specters.
In the fall of 2014 personal details on the employees of Sony Pictures Entertainments, their families, personal email correspondences, salaries and materials connected to forthcoming movies were hacked and subsequently leaked onto the internet. The perpetrators, identifying themselves as the "Guardians of Peace" demanded that the studio refrained from releasing the comedy movie "The Interview", starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, in which the duo are contracted by the CIA to assassinate the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The Guardians of Peace threatened terrorist attacks at screenings of the movie. Although American intelligence agencies have alleged that the hack was sponsored by North Korea, North Korea itself denies any and all responsibility.
The "Sony Hack" brought to light the personal views and questionable business practices of one of its executive employees; Co-Chairperson Amy Pascal (pictured above). In one email exchange, Pascal and film and theater producer Scott Rudin discussed the former's upcoming meeting with US President Barrack Obama. The two discussed potential talking points for Pascal, which when leaked via WikiLeaks were considered racist. Pascal and Rudin later apologized. As the damage of the "Sony Hacking Scandal" was contained Amy Pascal revealed that she was stepping down as Co-Chairperson of the studio to become a film producer. It was later revealed when she was replaced by former Fox Chairman Tom Rothman that Pascal had been fired from her position.
Preceding the "Sony Hack" Pascal had made questionable decisions in her position as Co-Chairperson, such as gender pay discrimination, in which it was revealed that many female employees at Sony were paid significantly less than their male counterparts. Following the Hack Hollywood actress Charlize Theron successfully an additional $10 to match the earnings of her Huntsman co-star, Chris Hemsworth. This comes as some surprise when considering that Pascal has always been eager to see more movies with women in the leading roles.
I have already reported, at length, how Ghostbusters 3 was in development at Sony with a script developed, most of the cast eager to return and a production schedule "blocked out" for early 2015. Following the death of Harold Ramis in February 2014 and following Ivan Reitman's step down as the director Pascal was tasked with finding the project a new director. Knowing that Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids and Spy shared her inclination towards female-led movies Pascal approached him with the Ghostbusters property and together they started fleshing out what has become the new Ghostbusters reboot, as is evidenced by an email exchange between the two. Pascal will executively produce the reboot. Rumors persist that Reitman is furious at the reboot, as Pascal used Reitman's stepping down as an opportunity to undo all of the hard work that Reitman, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Etan Cohen, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg in bringing the long awaited sequel to theaters for fans.
The marketing for the Ghostbusters reboot has become a platform for social correctness, with the director repeatedly and actively defending his movie and its cast from allegations of sexism, racism, and feminism. Yet while some critics have attacked the movie for misogynistic reasons the overwhelming majority of fans, critics, and moviegoers simply don't like what they have seen thus far of this movie. Take away the debates about female leads and needless social platforming and what remains is a poor quality reboot nobody ever wanted, that exists purely because of the director and Amy Pascals affinity for 'girl power' in Hollywood.
Before being fired from her position as Co-Chairperson at Sony, Pascal was also able to establish a cross-studio deal with Marvel Studios that would allow for the production and distribution rights to Spider-Man and related properties to be retained by Sony Pictures Entertainment while allowing Marvel Studios creative control of any movies produced using the property, also allowing the popular character to join Marvel Studios highly lucrative and much coveted cinematic universe. As with the Ghostbusters reboot, Pascal will executively produce the forthcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming.
So long as both Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios can work together this deal can prove lucrative to both. Yet, what if, as is often the case in Hollywood the studios clash over creative differences?Sony could potentially pull access to the property production rights, but they can only do so before pre-production before any investment has been made, else they would be in breach of contractual obligation and Marvel Studios could demand compensation. Furthermore, if Sony does not produce a new movie using the property within a set time frame they would lose those rights, which would revert back to Marvel Studios. Once production has begun Sony could pull funding and/or distribution from the project, but having made nearly $10 billion in worldwide box office takings Marvel Studios could easily afford to make up the deficit. On the other hand, should Marvel Studios withdraw their support they could potentially hold up production potentially long enough so that the rights revert back to them as already mentioned?
On the surface, the deal between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios holds great promise but in the small print, it seems as though should neither studio be able to work co-effectively with the other Sony could come off worse, with Marvel essentially winning no matter the outcome. Couple this with the negative press accumulating around the feminism propaganda, accusations of racism and exploitation of the original property that will likely result in Sony Pictures investment into the Ghostbusters reboot and its accompanying Ghost-Corps project returning a potentially disastrous loss for the Studio, one could be forgiven for thinking that it was all planned beforehand.
Did Amy Pascal have foreknowledge or some level of involvement in the "Sony Hack"? Was Pascal aware her time was drawing near from her mismanagement at Sony? Did Pascal green light The Interview, the Ghostbusters reboot, and the Marvel Studios deal knowing they had great potential to damage Sony's reputation and commercial viability?