Ghostbusters: Answer the Call writer-director Paul Feig hopes fan support convinces studio Sony Pictures to move forward with a sequel reuniting reboot stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones.
"Thank you so much, thank you for keeping the torch alive for Answer the Call," Feig told @KateMcKinnonAUS, a 2016 Ghostbusters-centric fan account campaigning for Sony to "#AnswerTheSecondCall."
"We're hoping there's a second call, and if we do get it, it's all because of you."
Feig participated in a panel discussion Saturday at Ghostbusters Fan Fest, hosted on the Sony Pictures Studio Lot in Culver City, California, where he appeared alongside Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II director Ivan Reitman and Ghostbusters 3 writer-director Jason Reitman.
In January, when Sony announced plans to return to the original continuity with a Jason Reitman-directed sequel to the 1984 and 1989 films, Feig admitted he was disappointed the new direction meant the studio would be abandoning the rebooted iteration of the franchise.
"I am very open to Jason's new version of GB but am also sad that our 2016 team may not get to bust again. We all are," Feig tweeted when defending Jones, who came under fire on social media over her initial response to Reitman's film.
"We're forever proud of our movie."
Feig's reboot faced extreme backlash for rebooting the franchise with an all-female team, bringing back original franchise stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts in cameo appearances unrelated to their respective iconic characters.
Answer the Call earned a mostly favorable response from critics but grossed just over $229 million at the worldwide box office in the summer of 2016, a performance that made a sequel unlikely, according to industry experts. The film reportedly resulted in a $70 million-plus loss for Sony, who remain committed to the brand through its GhostCorps banner.
"I think it kind of hampered us a little bit because the movie became so much of a cause," Feig previously told Vulture when addressing the hoopla around its female stars. "I think for some of our audience, they were like, 'What the f–k? We don't wanna go to a cause. We just wanna watch a f—kin' movie.'"
It's tepid financial reception "was a great regret in my life," Feig added, "'cause I really loved it. It's not a perfect movie. None of my movies are perfect. I liked what we were doing with it. It was only supposed to be there to entertain people."
In April 2018, Feig told Yahoo the reboot cast "would love" to make a sequel, but noted such decisions are "really up to the studio."
Producer Aykroyd earlier said he was "really happy" with the movie, but admitted it "cost too much."
"And Sony does not like to lose money, they don't," Aykroyd said on Britain's Channel 4. "It made a lot of money around the world but just cost too much, making it economically not feasible to do another one. So that's too bad."
Aykroyd — who has since enthusiastically endorsed Reitman's film, where the producer is expected to reprise his role as Ray Stantz — added Feig neglected to shoot suggested scenes and ultimately "spent too much on it."3comments
When reshoots were deemed necessary, Aykroyd reported the cost tallied up to "about $3 to $4 million."
Sony will release Ghostbusters 3 July 10, 2020.