In a Sony email from last year, then studio head Amy Pascal was adamant that she would plant the flag first. She was referring to a few rival female-driven franchises that were in development, and she hoped her all female “Ghostbusters” project, which had not been fully announced yet, would beat them to the punch. Pascal was looking to fast-track Paul Feig’s soon-to-be announced “Ghostbusters” project, and get out in front of the other handful of female-led properties that are brewing out there.
Meanwhile, Channing Tatum and Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” were pitching their own “Ghostbusters” movie one which Drew Pearce would write and would possibly star Chris Pratt (though the actor recently called that chatter “bullshit”). This male, sidebar “Ghostbusters” film was even something that Paul Feig didn’t know much about. “That was a real surprise when that announcement came out,” he told IGN in the spring. “And I don’t even really know how [it will impact us]. We’re just doing our thing.”
Suffice it to say, while their plans to turn “Ghostbusters” into a big cinematic universe with spin-offs, sequels and parallel stories, the waters were already getting muddy.
In an interview with Howard Stern this week Tatum said as much, suggesting three’s a crowd on that property. “That thing’s gotten messy. I gotta be honest, there’s a lot of people doing a lot of things on ‘Ghostbusters,’” he said. “There’s a lot of people in the ‘Ghostbusters’ pool.”
Tatum took it one step further in an interview with ScreenRant basically saying his male version of “Ghostbusters” is dead. “We’re not doing that anymore,” he said. “…I think it’s too complicated. There’s a lot of things going on with that brand and I just feel like it’s over-saturated.”
Tatum isn’t far off the mark. There are at least four “Ghostbusters” films in the works (and apparently Chris Lord and Phil Miller are still being sought to direct something in this world). Despite Pascal, Ivan Reitman, and Dan Aykroyd hoping to create a “Ghostbusters” universe, it appears that Feig, and Tatum/Russo brothers were developing projects separately at the same time. With Feig’s movie already in production and coming out next summer—which will set the bar and benchmark for all modern-day “Ghostbusters” films moving forward—it appears that Tatum’s enthusiasm for the idea has waned.
It’s understandable: you get excited about an idea you have, you have producer/directors on board (the Russos were going to produce and never direct by the way, they’re too busy with “Avengers: Infinity War“), but then the winds are taken out of your sails when you find out what is essentially a rival project will get their first. And then there’s the fact that Dan Aykroyd seems to be developing another, separate, “more conventional” ghostbustin’ film that could be what he stills hopes will be a direct sequel to “Ghostbusters 2” (which he has been trying to get off the ground for several years with many different script iterations). It all just sounds like to many cooks and Tatum’s comments allude to as much.
One supposes that Tatum and co. could still work on their version, but it’s a smart bet they will wait to see how Feig’s iteration pans out before they spend more time, money and resources on the project. If anything, it probably behooves Pascal, Reitman, and Aykroyd to get everyone on the same page and working toward the same goal.