Divisive ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot Continues With “Answer the Second Call”

in Movies & TV

Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) in in Ghostbusters Answer the Call

Credit: Sony Pictures

The last few years have seen a number of reboots emerge from Hollywood, none of which have been immune to criticism. More recently, it’s the likes of Disney’s live-action reboots from Peter Pan and Wendy (2023) to The Little Mermaid (2023) that have faced heat from sceptical fans and Internet trolls (two very different groups, let it be said).

Even the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) has already ended up on the wrong side of its fanbase, with many unhappy with the fact that April O’Neil is now portrayed as African-American, backlash that echoes the same apparent cause-for-complaint surrounding the two aforementioned Disney flicks.

New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem trailer
Credit: Paramount Animation / Nickelodeon Movies (via YouTube)

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It’s not all about replacing actors and/or characters with someone of color, though — more often than not, it’s usually because they’ve been changed from male to female. And there might be no other reboot that caused as big a tornado of backlash on this front as the 2016 reboot Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016) from director Paul Feig.

From the moment the first trailer was released from Sony Pictures’ Ecto-Containment Unit onto YouTube, the fanbase went into a frenzy. Though a minority of fans thought the film looked fun, everyone else was divided into two camps, with, of course, a good dose of overlapping — and this was just in response to the trailer alone.

Erin Gilbert looking confused in the labs in Ghostbusters: Answer the Call
Credit: Sony Pictures (via YouTube)

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Some thought the film looked absolutely terrible, while at the same time mortified that their beloved 1984 classic had undergone the Hollywood knife. Meanwhile, the other half couldn’t stand the fact that Ghostbusters had been rebooted into a female-led venture. Some, no doubt, sat right in the middle.

It’s perfectly reasonable to not like the look of a film, or the film itself for that matter, but going online and trolling its cast and crew is a different matter entirely. That’s exactly what a number of so-called fans did, whether they were reboot-haters, or flat-out sexists. The rest of the fanbase just sat back and watched the chaos unfold, which, of course, only got worse when the film was released.

Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) in Ghostbusters: Answer the Call
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Answer the Call didn’t just fail to impress fans and critics, though — it bombed at the box office, which led Sony Pictures to recalibrate their plans for Ghostbusters in film. Consequently, a sequel to the original two films was given the go-ahead, and now, we’re on the verge of a sequel to that film, with Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2 (2023) hitting theaters this December.

Seven years after Answer the Call‘s release, the general consensus remains: that the film feels mostly like a Saturday Night Live skit that just isn’t funny, and with a poor script that leans too heavily into the original 1984 film. But Answer the Call also has its fans, which is evident by the #AnswerTheSecondCall movement alone. Now, amid all the news for the upcoming sequel, Answer the Call has re-surfaced, this time, thankfully, with a good news story.

Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) in Ghostbusters Answer the Call
Credit: Sony Pictures

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As reported by Ghostbusters News, director Paul Feig recently took to Twitter to re-tweet a story from a guest at the recent Ghostbusters Day (June 8) celebrations in New York City.

The original tweet comes from Ghostbusters fan @abby_gaytes (a twist on the Answer the Call character Abby Yates played by Melissa McCarthy) and member of #AnswerTheSecondCall, a movement that continues the 2016 film’s legacy, who shared a heart-warming experience involving a young child and fan of the reboot, who recognized the fan’s group of cosplayers in Central Park.

In a lengthy write-up, the fan said the following:

“To the little girl at Central Park. You saw us – but really, you saw them, right? Erin and Holtzmann; I watched your eyes lock onto them from across the field. Your Ghostbusters, I could tell, and you were so excited to see us. Especially when our Erin beckoned you over and passed you a little Ghostbusters purse through the fence with a smile that needed no words at all to exude community and connection, and understanding. I knew by the way you ran back after that this was one of those moments you were going to tell everyone about.

Time can pass, and things may change, but your Ghostbusters will always be here for you. You are the reason why Answer the Second Call does what we do – why we’re still here after years of facing the worst the GB community has to offer. We are happy and proud to represent your Ghostbusters because each of us at ATSC understands so well what it means to finally see yourself reflected in what you love. And I am so, so grateful and glad we got to be that for you, even if only for a moment. These are the moments which make everything so worthwhile.”

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Paul Feig caught the tweet in his “stream”, and responded with a heartfelt message, saying:

“This is so incredibly sweet. It’s so much one of the main reasons we made GB:ATC. Everyone has a Ghostbusters they can love now. Here’s to that little girl and all the people who love all the Ghostbusters. I love you all! #weareallghostbusters”

Related: All 4 ‘Ghostbusters’ Movies Ranked Worst to Best

In 2019, during the Ghostbusters Fan Fest celebration, Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) director Jason Reitman publicly thanked Feig, saying the following:

“And, Paul [Feig]… to express gratitude to you for kicking down the door on what a Ghostbuster and who a Ghostbuster could be. Any time I see a movie where there’s a SWAT team, there’s that first guy who goes through the door and takes all the damn bullets, and you were the first one through the door and you were the person who allowed me and many other people to make Ghostbusters movies about people of every race, gender, of people around the world. There are all kinds of Ghostbusters movies that I want to see and thank you for making that possible.”

Earlier this year, Extreme Ghostbusters (1997) actress Tara Strong criticized the wider franchise for not having enough representation. Perhaps she’s right, but we’re pretty sure there are many who would disagree, including Paul Feig and Jason Reitman.

Whether or not the characters from Answer the Call will ever return remains to be seen. They did make an appearance in the long-running IDW comic book series, though, and while it’s very unlikely the 2016 film will ever get a sequel, with the multiverse concept becoming increasingly popular even outside the Marvel films, there’s every chance we’ll see the likes of Abby Yates, Patty Tolan, Jillian Holtzmann, and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) return in some shape or form.

Ghostbusters Answer the Call character poster
Credit: Sony Pictures

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As per Sony Pictures, here’s the synopsis for Ghostbusters: Answer the Call:

Ghostbusters makes its long-awaited return with Director Paul Feig’s unique and hilarious take on the classic, supernatural comedy, led by the freshest minds in comedy today, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth.  Together they team-up to save Manhattan from a sudden invasion of spirits, spooks and slime that engulfs the city. Robert Abele of TheWrap says, “This new A-team of Ghostbusters are fresh and funny.”

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call stars Kristen Wiig (Erin Gilbert), Melissa McCarthy (Abby Yates), Leslie Jones (Patty Tolan), Kate McKinnon (Jillian Holtzmann), Chris Hemsworth (Kevin Beckman), and cameos from original Ghostbusters icons Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson, all of whom play new characters.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2 will be released on December 20, 2023.

Are you a fan of Answer the Call? If so, what do you love about the film? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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