After nearly two years of Strum und Drang, the new Ghostbusters opened last weekend and it did… okay! Not great, mind you, not killer, not enough to quiet the weeping manbabies or anything, but it did fine; current estimates give Feig and company a $46 million opening, coming in second for the weekend to the second week of The Secret Life of Pets.
That opening, like the movie itself, is a bit of a mixed bag. The second-place finish allowed multiple outlets to trot out their “Ghostbusters Gets Slimed” headlines, and in all fairness, a movie with this much publicity – paid and free – probably should’ve topped the chart. On the other hand, animated family efforts are proving one of this summer’s few sure things (Box Office Mojo notes Pets’ second week couples with three weeks topped by Finding Dory to make for five straight weeks of animated movies leading the box office), and the $46 million number is not only, as Sony eagerly notes, “the biggest opening for a live-action comedy in over a year,” but the biggest opening weekend numbers to date for Feig and McCarthy.
On the other hand, they should’ve been bigger; unlike Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy, Ghostbusters was rated PG-13 (and, y’know, a big, known #brand). And those movies were all also comparatively cheap, and thus much more quickly profitable; with a reported $144 million budget, Ghostbusters will have to do very well overseas and/or show considerable legs domestically, in a season where big movies tend to come and go quickly.
Then again, this could prove an exception; THR notes its audience was not only 57% female, but 63% over the age of 25. And audiences of that age aren’t always reliable on opening weekend, because they’re grown-ups with shit to do. They make plans, hire babysitters, the works. So with word of mouth mostly mixed-to-positive, Ghostbusters will probably end up doing just fine. Most importantly, it’s not the flop its naysayers were predicting, anticipating, and hoping for. So far, it’s a modest success – much like the movie.