Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd in ‘Ghostbusters’ (Sony)
Your movie’s payroll is bloated, and the bottom line don’t look good. Who you gonna call? Veteran Hollywood executive, budget-buster!
Former Fox head Tom Rothman took over as the chairman of Sony earlier this year, after the studio moved former boss Amy Pascal — scarred by the email hacking scandal — into a producer position. And Rothman wasted no time making his mark on the studio — including tightening the budget of the upcoming, all-female Ghostbusters reboot, one of Sony’s most important projects.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rothman was none-too-pleased with the projected $169 million budget, which included $14 million for star Melissa McCarthy and $10 million for writer/director Paul Feig (no word on what co-star Kristen Wiig is making). The filmmaker was able to pare down the budget by $15 million while preserving the salaries for all involved. The new budget: $154 million — which is over five times more than the $30 million budget of the original Ivan Reitman-directed film, which was made 30 years ago.
For some context, inflation has more than halved the value of a dollar since 1984; the buying power of $1 back then equals $2.27 now, meaning that movie’s budget equals $70.2 million today. The $30 million budget was actually much lower than what writer/stars Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis had originally intended; their first draft had all sorts of space and time travel, which Reitman suggested be cut for financial reasons.
Feig hasn’t indicated whether his film will send the four new Ghostbusters — including Saturday Night Live stars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones — to space or any parallel dimensions, but he did promise an entirely new story, not a continuation of the original.
“I’m not tainting anything other than a general idea if you end up not loving it, versus, ‘Oh look what he did with Dan Aykroyd and the Peter Venkman character,’” Feig told Yahoo Movies earlier this month. “That seems like more of a peril than just taking a property and doing it again.’”