Paul Feig also blames President Donald Trump's rant in which he criticized the film for having a female-led cast

By Claudia Harmata
May 26, 2020 11:52 AM
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Director Paul Feig is blaming the "anti-Hillary Clinton movement" for adding to the backlash that caused his Ghostbusters reboot to underwhelm at the box office.

The 2016 spinoff — which starred Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as the ghost-busting heroes —faced much controversy for its female-led cast, and earned $229.1 million at the worldwide box office, when Feig expected to get at least $500 million.

While speaking on Jess Cagle’s SiriusXM show last week, Feig reflected on how the timing of the movie and the political climate impacted its success.

"I think some really brilliant author, needs to write a book about 2016 and how intertwined we were with Hillary [Clinton] and the anti-Hillary movement," Feig said on Friday. "Everyone was at a boiling point. I don’t know if it was having an African American president for eight years that teed them up, they were just ready to explode."

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Feig went on to discuss Donald Trump's rant on Instagram about the movie after it was announced in 2015, in which the president criticized the film for having an all-female cast as the ghostbusters.

"By the time I announced I was going to do it, it started," the director said of the backlash. The first trailer for the film became one of the most disliked film trailers in YouTube history.

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"It’s crazy how people got nuts about women trying to be in power or be in positions they weren’t normally in," he continued. "And it was an ugly, ugly year."

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 2015, Wiig addressed the controversy, saying she was shocked people were upset over a female-led cast.

"The fact there was so much controversy because we were women was surprising to me," she said. "Some people said some really not nice things about the fact that there were women. It didn’t make me mad, it just really bummed me out. We’re really honoring those movies."

Her costar, Jones, even quit Twitter for some time after she received an onslaught of racist and sexist attacks following Ghostbusters' release.

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However, some fans of the original Ghostbusters film series attributed the backlash to nostalgia, not sexism — including the director of the original, Ivan Reitman, himself.

"I think there’s way too much talk about gender [when it comes to this film],” Reitman told Mashable in 2016. “I think that many of the people who were complaining were actually lovers of the [original] movie, not haters of women.”

Now, Reitman's son, Jason, 41, is set to direct a sequel to the original franchise, which will ignore the all-female reboot. The upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife debuted its first trailer in December.

It stars Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Paul Rudd, and Mckenna Grace, as well as one of the original Ghostbusters, Bill Murray.