Ghostbusters no box-office monster

LOS ANGELES • Paul Feig's Ghostbusters reboot has triggered intense debate over its decision to refashion the proton pack-wielding paranormal investigators as an all-female team.

After all the chatter and gender politics, Ghostbusters debuted over the weekend to a solid US$46 million (S$62 million) at North American theatres.

Sony hailed the results as evidence that audiences were responding to its new take on the decades-old property. But though it ranks as the best debut for a liveaction comedy in over a year, the film will have to show some endurance and resonate with foreign audiences to make a profit. Sony had shelled out US$144 million to make it and millions more to market it.

The film, which brings together Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, is clearly designed to trigger a fresh array of sequels.

"There absolutely will be more," said Mr Josh Greenstein, Sony's marketing and distribution chief. "This is a restart of one of our most important brands."

But analysts argued that the results were underwhelming.

"Unless it has massive legs, any opening under US$50 million is not a triumph," said Mr Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. "It's still an asterisk. The next two weeks will tell the tale."

The opening was good enough to give it only second place, behind The Secret Life Of Pets (Universal), which took some US$50.6 million in its second weekend.

The weekend's other wide- release debut, Broad Green's The Infiltrator, which stars Bryan Cranston, placed eighth with US$5.3 million. In third place, Warner Bros' The Legend Of Tarzan swung to US$11.1 million.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2016, with the headline 'Ghostbusters no box-office monster'. Print Edition | Subscribe