Feig Tweet Fuels Debate Over 2016 ‘Ghostbusters’ Omission From Blu-ray Set

Fans of 2016’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call are up in arms over reports that the film won’t be included in a franchise boxed set slated for early next year, with the film’s director, Paul Feig, joining the fray.

At issue is the pending home entertainment release of the recent theatrical release Ghostbusters: Afterlife from director Jason Reitman, which served as a direct sequel to his father Ivan Reitman’s 1980s “Ghostbusters” films — 1984’s Ghostbusters and 1989’s Ghostbusters II — while Answer the Call was a reboot with no narrative connection to the earlier films, though it featured cameos from original cast members such as Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson as different characters.

While Blu-ray Disc and DVD plans for Afterlife have yet to be officially announced by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, an Amazon.com listing indicates the film will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Feb. 1. Among the release configurations are Blu-ray and DVD trilogy sets of the three Reitman films, as well as the Ghostbusters Ultimate Collectionwhich in the listing appears to be an eight-disc set of the three Reitman films, plus bonus feature discs and a making-of book within a case that mimics a ghost trap.

Many entertainment bloggers began pointing out that the Ultimate Collection appeared to snub director Paul Feig’s 2016 reboot version, which focused on a female-centric team of Ghostbusters that was not part of the continuity of the Reitman trilogy. This in turn prompted fans of the 2016 film to take to Twitter, YouTube and other social media outlets to express disappointment that the film wouldn’t be included in something labeled as an “ultimate” collection of the franchise, as if the studio were trying to erase it from existence. Feig himself tweeted his dismay Dec. 22:

Um … @SonyPictures, I know this must be a mistake. We do have a lot of fans and Bill, Dan and Ernie were in it and it won the Kids Choice Award for Best Feature Film the year it came out. So, I guess this was just an oversight? #weareallghostbusters — @paulfeig

Feig’s tweet was quickly “ratioed,” which is Twitter parlance for having more comments than likes, indicating a general disapproval of the tweet by the public. As of late Dec. 23, Feig’s tweet had over 2,200 comments compared with over 1,800 likes.

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Comments disagreeing with Feig and defending the omission ranged from stating the set was just focusing on the Reitman trilogy, of which the 2016 film wasn’t a part, to arguing the 2016 version wasn’t very good and deserved to be forgotten.

Answer the Call earned $229.1 million at the global box office compared with a reported $144 million budget, which after accounting for marketing and other costs supposedly took a $70 million loss for the studio. Afterlife, released during the pandemic, has thus far earned more than $175 million against a reported budget of $75 million.

 

HBO Max Orders Female Erotica Comedy Series ‘MINX’ From Lionsgate

HBO Max April 5 announced it has ordered 10 episodes of the half-hour comedy “MINX.” Set in 1970s Los Angeles, the series centers on an earnest young feminist (Ophelia Lovibond), who joins forces with a low-rent publisher (Jake Johnson) to create the first erotic magazine for women. The series is from showrunner Ellen Rapoport, Feigco Entertainment and Lionsgate Television.

Ophelia Lovibond

Other cast members include Jake Johnson (“New Girl,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”), who was previously announced as a guest star. Other series regulars include Idara Victor (“Shameless,” “Turn”), Jessica Lowe (“Wrecked,” “Tacoma PD,” “Blended”), Lennon Parham (“Bless this Mess,” “Playing House,” HBO’s “Veep”), Michael Angarano (Emmy-nominated for “This Is Us,” “I’m Dying Up Here,” “The Knick”) and Oscar Montoya (“Reno 911,” “Bless the Harts,” host of “Spanish Aquí Presents” podcast).

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Rapoport executive produces the series alongside Paul Feig (“Freaks and Geeks”) and Dan Magnante for Feigco Entertainment. Rachel Lee Goldenberg directed and executive produced the pilot. Lionsgate Television is the studio. Feigco and Lionsgate Television previously partnered with HBO Max on “Love Life,” which was renewed for a second season. Lionsgate is also producing “Santa Inc.” and “Julia” for Max.

Jake Johnson

“We are so excited about this series, which is fun, feminist and wholly unique,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max, said in a statement.

Rapoport thanked Feigco, Lionsgate and Max for seeing the potential in this story from the first time “I showed up in their offices with stacks of ’70s porn magazines.”

Feig said he and the production company fell in love with Rapoport’s trunkful of male nudie magazines and her “amazing vision for this funny and liberating” TV series.

“The second we heard it and knew we needed a bold network partner to let us bring it to the screen as honestly as possible … we couldn’t be more thrilled to be back in business with HBO Max,” Feig said.

 

Rom-Com ‘Last Christmas’ Home Release Announced by Universal

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release the romantic-comedy Last Christmas through digital retailers Jan. 21, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Feb. 4.

The film stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”) as Kate, who works as an elf at a year-round holiday shop and faces an endless streak of bad luck and poor decision-making until she meets Tom (Henry Golding), a kind-hearted man with a mysterious past who challenges her cynical world view. The cast also includes Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson.

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Directed by Paul Feig, and co-written by Thompson and Greg Wise, the film earned $35 million at the domestic box office. The film features the music of George Michael, including a never-before-heard track.

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Home video extras include an alternate opening and ending; deleted scenes; a blooper reel; a Feig solo commentary; a commentary with Feig and Thompson; a full performance of George Michael’s “Last Christmas”; and several featurettes:

  • “Director in Vision” — Feig offers directorial tips and fashion advice;
  • “It’s All So Cold” — how Clarke and Golding’s stayed warm while filming in chilly London;
  • “Try Not to Laugh” — Clarke and Thompson come down with a severe case of the giggles;
  • “A Legacy Revealed” — how the song “Last Christmas” was developed into a film;
  • “Pure Golding” — A profile of Henry Golding;
  • “Emilia Recording Session” — a recording session with Emilia Clarke;
  • “Love Letter to London” — Feig and some of the cast explore London;
  • “Santa and Her Elf” — a behind the scenes look at the quirky relationship between Kate and “Santa” (Michelle Yeoh);
  • “12 Days of Production” — a chronicle of the production;
  • “Paul Feig Takes Over the Tram” – Before Feig became a director he was a Universal Studios tram tour guide in 1981. Hop on the tram and experience part of the tour as Paul takes over the ride.

 

A Simple Favor

While a movie based on a dark mystery thriller novel might seem like an odd choice for a director known primarily for comedy, Paul Feig is able to deliver an entertaining adaptation of Darcey Bell’s A Simple Favor filled with plenty of twists and turns, driven by a pair of winning performances from his leading ladies, Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively.

 

 

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Lionsgate;
Thriller;
Box Office $53.55 million;
$29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $42.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for sexual content and language throughout, some graphic nude images, drug use and violence.
Stars Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells, Linda Cardellini, Jean Smart, Rupert Friend, Bashir Salahuddin, Joshua Satine, Ian Ho.

A Simple Favor exists in a strange Venn diagram where the dark mystery thriller aspects of Darcey Bell’s source material novel intersect with the broad comedic sensibilities of the film’s director, Paul Feig. The result is an oddly compelling mystery filled with its fair share of plot twists, intrigue and genuine laughs.

Anna Kendrick plays Stephanie, an all-too-sincere mommy blogger who runs a DIY video channel and seems to embody the usual quirks of a Kendrick character. Her worldview is suddenly challenged when she meets the bitchy Emily (Blake Lively), mother of her son’s schoolmate, and the two ladies unexpectedly hit it off over martinis.

One day, Emily asks Stephanie to watch her son after school, and promptly disappears. Days later, Emily’s body seemingly turns up in a lake near her childhood home, setting off all sorts of question about what she was up to. Stephanie, meanwhile, consoles Emily’s husband (Henry Golding), and as they grow closer, they seem to be haunted by Emily, who, it turns out, may not be so dead after all.

In his first directorial effort after the misstep of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, Feig largely succeeds in maintaining a darkly comic tone throughout, buoyed by a strong cast. Kendrick and Lively give terrific performances as the unlikely friends. Lively in particular dominates the screen in her early scenes, establishing the kind of dominant personality necessary to draw out Stephanie’s meekness and force her to come into her own.

Feig’s intention to make a “fun thriller” ensures the film is never as dark or serious as similar fare such as Gone Girl. If anything, it could almost be seen as a parody of the absurdity of such stories if it weren’t taking itself just seriously enough. Still, in the various bonus materials in which Feig is quite ubiquitous he seems rather flippant about some of his directorial choices, none more so than his alternative to a big, Bollywood-style dance number meant to play during the credits.

The bonus section includes three separate commentaries, and Feig is involved in all of them. The first is the director by himself, relating his own experiences of making the film. The second is Feig with members of the cast, including Kendrick, Lively, Jean Smart (who plays Lively’s mom) and Bashir Salahuddin, who plays a detective. A third commentary finds Feig with screenwriter Jessica Sharzer, producer Jessie Henderson, cinematographer John Schwartzman and costume designer Renée Ehrlich Kalfus.

The filmmaker commentary obviously delves into more of the technical aspects of the production, while the cast commentary is more of a fun discussion about the making of the film, and thus is the more enjoyable of the three.

Having a comedic director such as Paul Feig adapt a mystery thriller novel seems like an odd choice

The disc also includes more than 16 minutes of deleted scenes, including the aforementioned dance scene that was cut for essentially trivializing a story about two strong female characters.

There’s also a three-and-a-half minute gag reel and eight behind-the-scenes featurettes running about an hour in total.

A Simple Favor

Lionsgate Inks Director Paul Feig to Create More TV Content

Lionsgate March 1 announced a first-look deal with award-winning multi-hyphenate Paul Feig and his producing partner Jessie Henderson to create scripted and unscripted series and formats.

The studio/distributor’s relationship with Feig in the television business already includes the unscripted half-hour Netflix comedy series, “The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale,” an absurdist look at pop culture. The show generated significant buzz in its Netflix global launch last month. Feig also created “Nurse Jackie” with Lionsgate for HBO.

“Paul epitomizes the ‘premium’ in premium talent, and our collaborative, cross-divisional approach allows us to tap his creative brilliance across an ever-expanding array of platforms,” Chris Selak, EVP and head of worldwide scripted television, said in a statement.

A three-time Emmy-nominated writer/director and DGA Award winner, Feig created critically-acclaimed TV series, “Freaks and Geeks,” and served as director and co-executive producer of “The Office. His series, “Other Space,” marked his return to television in 2015.

Feig’s theatrical credits include comedies BridesmaidsSpyGhostbusters, and The Heat.  His films have grossed over a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, and he is currently in post-production on thriller, A Simple Favor, starring Blake Lively, Anna Kendrick and Henry Golding, to be released Sept. 14 by Lionsgate.