Suddenly, OUT OF NOWHERE, Sony has decided to add a male-led Ghostbusters movie starring Channing Tatum's neck to the newly rebooted franchise.
I'm not willing to trust someone any further than I can throw them, so the fact that the Ghostbusters universe is expanding so soon after the uproar of whiny man-babies complaining about the new, all female cast ruining their childhood seems suspicious. Your priorities are grossly out of whack if your favorite childhood is ruined not by corporate hyenas dining out on it until it's been stripped down to its sun-bleached bones, but by the inclusion of a few people who have vaginas. There's a guy in my neighborhood who uses a wheelchair and instead of using his hands to move around, he uses one leg to pump himself down the street, even when it rains or snows. He might think you live a charmed goddamn life if a few changes in an old movie can ruin your day. But who knows—I'm not inclined to give men the benefit of the doubt right now, and he could be a rolling bag of misogyny on wheels, too.
When it was announced that Paul Feig would be directing Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig in a new Ghostbusters this past January, there was an immediate, anguished cry from the part of the internet where underdeveloped ideas about gender go to mate with Neanderthalic, chest-thumping hands coated in fetid pools of jizz. Producer and director Ivan Reitman told Deadline Hollywood that Paul Feig's female-led version would be the first film in a new direction for the popular brand that mixes supernatural movies with comedy.
Paul Feig’s film will be the first version of that, shooting in June to come out in July 2016. He’s got four of the funniest women in the world, and there will be other surprises to come. The second film has a wonderful idea that builds on that.
Strangely, that doesn't make me feel better. While no dates have been announced for Dudebusters 2: Electric Jigaloo, Reitman is teaming up with Dan Aykroyd, Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo, Iron Man 3 and Mission: Impossible 5 writer Drew Pearce, and the muscles that live on top of Channing Tatum's muscles to create another Ghostbusters movie shortly after Feig's comes out. Like a wizard lifting his arms to the sky and summoning down a great storm, Reitman has gathered all the testosterone he could muster and is effectively taking out the all-female Ghostbusters at the knees before they even film one word, since men opposed to its very existence will probably just skip it and wait for the second, penis-filled one that just makes them feel better. Feig showed up with a plastic Breyer horse asking if he could play their game, and Reitman & crew hired a team of Clydesdales to stomp all over him. (Then again, maybe Aykroyd is the problem? Salon points out he's been trying to get a male cast-reboot made since 1999.)
In any case, the decision sure feels like misogyny disguised as a business plan. Hollywood has a glaring and obvious woman problem, with no system of checks and balances, or the basic guideline that white men are not the only people on the planet. Just as soon as we get excited about a diverse cast of women in a movie, our excitement is tempered by this return to the status quo. It also just feels gross from a capitalistic point of view: Do we need, or even want, a Ghostbusters universe? The "dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria" line wasn't supposed to be prophetic.
Danielle Henderson is a lapsed academic, heavy metal karaoke machine, and culture editor at Fusion. She enjoys thinking about how race, gender, and sexuality shape our cultural narratives, but not in a boring way.