Is Sony Now Looking For “Good Press” Fueled By Negative ‘Ghostbusters’ Reactions?

If you have any connection to the Internet (and you do), and don’t have positive feelings for the upcoming Ghostbusters film, Sony hears you, but their response to your response to trailers is a little confusing.

It isn’t just that people from the studio are somewhat dismissive of the negative reaction –

“What tends to happen with a beloved property is the fanboy or the fangirl shows up and says, ‘How dare you remake this?’ ” says Sony domestic marketing president Dwight Caines.

– and it isn’t simply the fairly ridiculous, PC-armor-inspired response by director Paul Feig, who suggested that perhaps those who don’t like the trailers are sexist. (It isn’t so much that he said it actually, but a lot of fans said, and then he said, “uhhh… well, yeah.” — Ok, or something like that.)

No, what’s odd is the recent push of articles, like the one linked below from The Hollywood Reporter, that are starting to make it feel like Sony is somehow trying to sell the film by way of the online dislike of the trailers.

It might be an expansion of the dismissive response (because, “Well… fanboys… ha ha.”), but if you go through a few of these articles, and therefore the interviews people from Sony are willing to give, or otherwise the statements they are willing to throw out, it starts to feel like an angle they’re now pushing.

The crazy thing is that it might make a lot of sense.

The key to this odd “double shift” marketing strategy might come from hoping for connections you’ll make to other Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy efforts, with the exception of Bridesmaids. That one is an exception, because your liking it doesn’t help the case. Most people do, and while perhaps not the greatest movie ever, it’s damn funny. Critics like it. Fans like it. You like it.

Move past that, and things get interesting… or, so I suspect people in suits at Sony hope.

Bridesmaids also gets moved out of the running of things that “count,” because it was written by Kristen Wiig, which makes Ghostbusters different territory.

Ghostbusters was written by Paul Feig and Katie Dippold, and while you might assume that Feig has a lot of screenplay credits to his name, he’s really only written Spy – among things that make sense in this discussion. Katie Dippold, despite the many kudos you might want to give her for her work on MadTV and Parks and Recreation, wrote The Heat.

Just to round out the connections we’re trying to make here, Melissa McCarthy has been in several movies over the last few years that were incredibly stupid… including The Heat.

This is where things get good, if you’re Sony, and coincidentally this is where fans of the original Ghostbusters probably get a lot of their distaste when it comes to the first trailers. The original Ghostbusters, whatever else may be said about it, is not The Heat, or Spy, comedy (even if they were good). Be that as it may, if you’re Sony, you better find a way to get people to show up to your $150 million investment, and when it seems like the only thing people want to say is that they hate the trailer, you may need to think outside the box.

Instead of trying to talk up the film in a direct way, or offer some counter to a negative position, what if we just keep saying that “some people really dislike the trailers,” and then sort of shrug off “people who are going to dislike it.” Look, some people are just going to say, “You’re remaking one of my favorite movies,” and dislike it no matter what. Some people are sexist. Who knows what some people will do, am I right? – Then we sort of shift on our heels, roll our eyes while putting on just the right, little grin, “Pfff… some people… right?” wink wink.

Now we kick off a little psychological maneuvering, because I (let’s say) talk about how awful the trailer is, and how it looks like the movie is going to be a disaster. But, I also said that The Heat was one of the worst movies of the year, and Spy was painful to watch, and you loved those (well, someone did). Now we’re subtly creating a mental game of chicken for people to play with themselves, as we suggest that only people with some non-objective reason dislike the trailers, and dare you to admit that you like bad films to boot.

Ok. Now, is Sony really trying to get one over on you in order to trick you into theaters? Well, let’s just say that if I had $150 million invested in something, but the only thing I seemed interested in saying about it was, “Boy, people really don’t like our trailers, do they?” you know it would be because someone I pay a lot of money told me to keep saying it.

 

“They are trying to define the experience,” says Sony’s domestic marketing chief as vocal (and sexist?) foes of the female reboot face off against a summer tentpole’s trailers.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.