Melissa McCarthy Looks Back On The 'Hate-Filled' Ghostbusters Reboot Backlash

Yesterday we wrote about the backlash over "The Phantom Menace," so it seems only fitting that today we focus on another fanboy lightning rod: 2016's "Ghostbusters" reboot. Director Paul Feig's gender-swapped retelling of the title team's origins as a Manhattan ghost entrapment business starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones was met with profoundly toxic hostility from its announcement, with many fans outraged that the studio would want to reimagine their beloved sci-fi comedy franchise while three of the four original 'busters still walked the earth ... discounting that all of them made supportive cameos in the film. And then you had the mostly male "fans" (in this case, a four-letter word) who were incensed simply because they didn't want a version with women, a group that included a certain then-Presidential candidate.

By the time the actual "Ghostbusters" reboot movie was released five summers ago, its actual quality was almost incidental compared to the firestorm that erupted. When the movie bombed out at only $229 million worldwide, and the studio promptly canceled plans for a followup with its four female principles and opted to go with Jason Reitman's direct follow-up "Ghostbusters: Afterlife." But the hate and vitriol the 2016 version had to endure still clearly rankles Melissa McCarthy. 

'I Just Don't Get It'

During a chat with Yahoo's Kevin Polowy to promote her new drama "The Starling," McCarthy responded to the backlash against the "Ghostbusters" reboot, which was so severe that the film was rebranded as "Ghostbusters: Answer the Call" for home video.

"There's no end to stories we can tell, and there's so many reboots and relaunches and different interpretations, and to say any of them are wrong, I just don't get it. I don't get the fight to see who can be the most negative and the most hate-filled. Everybody should be able to tell the story they want to tell. If you don't want to see it, you don't have to see it."

The case McCarthy makes here is inarguable. No franchise is worth getting so upset over that you make racist comments and death threats over it, or harass the cast members on social media. That should just be common sense. You can, as an adult, make a conscious decision to ignore a sequel if it doesn't align with your tastes, and more often than not if a new installment is truly terrible it quickly fades from the public consciousness. Movies like "Caddyshack 2," "Blues Brothers 2000," and "Son of the Mask" don't tarnish the legacy of the originals one iota, they simply become relegated to unanswerable trivia questions or asterisks. 

But the fact remains that even through all the negative noise and the $70 million loss "Answer the Call" generated for Sony, it has amassed a large cult following, especially among young women. Kate McKinnon's performance as the quirky Egon-substitute Dr. Jillian "Holtz" Holtzmann seems to have a devoted fanbase all on her own. The following is so fierce that Jason Reitman actually got a backlash of his own when he used clumsy language like handing the franchise "back to the fans" to describe "Afterlife." Ultimately history will judge whether the quartet will ever get another chance onscreen, but the slime of the internet that feeds on bad vibes will always be insatiable.