Weekender

‘Ghostbusters’ should be afraid of more than just ghosts

Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones star in “Ghostbusters.”
Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones star in “Ghostbusters.” Tribune News Service

Who you gonna call?

Beats the heck out of me.

On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter published a story claiming that Sony Pictures’ recent reboot of the “Ghostbusters” franchise is headed for a $70 million-plus loss.

Sure, that sounds like a big number, but when compared to the film’s $144 million budget or its $163.3 domestic box office — yeah, it’s still a whole lot of money.

Chances are that we won’t be seeing “Ghostbusters 2” — unless of course you’re referring to the original “Ghostbusters 2,” in which case good luck and God speed because that is a bumpy ride.

Today we might call it charming, a throwback to a time when we made sequels because the original was wildly popular as opposed to today’s practice of making an original because we think that the sequels will be wildly popular.

Irony abounds in Tinseltown.

For much of its run time, director Paul Feig’s “Ghostbusters” redo functions as an excellent television pilot that for two hours gets to play at being a movie.

It’s table setting of the highest order and from the opening titles to the closing credits, we watch as various pieces of iconography are shuffled around a place mat whetting our appetites for a meal that never arrives fully baked.

Feig is a talented director and the cast he assembled — Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones — is of the caliber you would demand from anybody looking to strap on a proton pack.

If Sony’s live action plans for the franchise are indeed scrapped, the real tragedy is that we’ll never see what they could have done outside of the rigorous demands of a franchise-building origin story.

Which is really kind of a shame.

Television will always be more conducive to the kind of serialized storytelling that has finally found its way to the movies. The good news about even the most premise-heavy pilot is that the second episode is just a week — or in some cases even just a click — away.

Movies, with their laborious production schedules, aren’t quite as limber.

And two or more years is a long time to wait between episodes.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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