Ivan Reitman, the director of the original 1984 “Ghostbusters” movie, has offered up his own explanation for the intense backlash the all-female reboot has received since the first trailer for the film dropped in March: nostalgia.
Reitman, who also directed “Ghostbusters II,” praised actresses Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, and Kate McKinnon in an interview with Mashable published on Thursday. “Individually and together, they’re as unique as Bill Murray and [Dan] Aykroyd and [Harold] Ramis and [Ernie] Hudson were,” Reitman said. “They look like they should be together.”
But in regards to the overwhelmingly sexist backlash that the movie (which comes out July 15) received upon the release of its first trailer, Reitman said that he believes “there’s way too much talk about gender” when it comes to the movie.
“I think that many of the people who were complaining were actually lovers of the [original] movie,” Reitman said, “Not haters of women.” (Because, apparently, one can’t possibly be both of those things.)
The director added that he believes part of the backlash also stemmed from a bad first trailer, which didn’t properly establish that the film is a reboot rather than a remake of the 1989 movie.
That could certainly be a part of it, but just to be clear: the main driving force of the backlash was a hatred for women, as evidenced by much of the vitriolic commentary about the new film.
#Ghostbusters trailer looks awful. It will inevitably do well because of a franchise established by men. #SJW #Feminism will claim victory.
— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) March 3, 2016
Ain't a all female cast in Ghostbusters 3 a Lil sexist? The movies gonnae be a flop anyway so maybe it will teach Hollywood a lesson…
— Donald (@DonOftheDead80) January 28, 2015
All female ghostbusters? Maybe they will be able to get rid of the paranormal sudden headaches in bed.
— Craig (@CraigBowling89) January 28, 2015
Now I'm not sexist at all but an all female Ghostbusters is just fucked up
— GOGGLEBOX TOM JNR (@TomMaloneTweet) January 28, 2015
Nostalgia and an extreme aversion to change might very well be at the heart of some of the hatred for the “Ghostbusters” reboot, but a majority of the comments made on the movie’s first trailer alone were explicitl gendered. Some of the most sexist comments, as compiled by Women and Hollywood, included gems like:
“Not enough rape. Thumbs down.”
“Who you gonna call? Fat and ugly ladies. Oops, sorry, Ghostbusters.”
“Cancel this movie, no one wants to watch these stupid c***s ruin an epic franchise.”
When the premise of negative commentary centers around the appearances of a movie’s female leads, whether or not there’s a rape plot, and casual use of the word “c**t,” nostalgia has very little to do with it. While Reitman may not want to ruffle the feathers of his fanboys, it’s obvious that many of these fanboys only have a problem with the reboot because women have a prominent, ass-kicking role in it.
One wonders what the comment section would look like for the trailer for Channing Tatum’s proposed all-male “Ghostbusters” reboot. Some complaints from diehard fans of the original, definitely. But would the majority be in the form of rape jokes and fat-shaming? Not likely.