While the actors in Ghostbusters are harassed online, Sony’s Tom Rothman is watching the angry buzz about the franchise reboot build him a big pile of money.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about Sony’s global strategy, Rothman comments briefly on the controversy surrounding Paul Feig’s female-lead Ghostbuster movie:
When you looked at the landscape at Sony, what was your strategy?
I thought we needed a more global focus, because that’s where the growth area is. And we have to invest a lot high up in the funnel, meaning earlier in the development process. The studio may have had a hard run, but there were and are tremendous assets in our IP. It’s a misnomer and a myth out there that Sony doesn’t have IP. Ghostbusters is going to come out in a month, and [that’s part of Sony’s IP].
How do you think the Ghostbusters online bashing will impact the film?
It’s the greatest thing that ever happened. Are you kidding me? We’re in the national debate, thank you. Can we please get some more haters to say stupid things?
If the trolls who claim the new film is ruining their childhoods had never come out of their cave, would Ghostbusters be only a blip on all our radars? Most of what I know about the film is in relation to the aggressive attacks against the makers, the supporters, and even in response to the trailer.
The anger around Ghostbusters, as Rothman notes, is lining the pockets of Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon—as well as Rothman himself. But there’s a cultural fallout to women-bashing that most experience without the benefit of monetary reward. When asked about violence in media, and whether or not it promotes violence in real life, Rothman answers in a way that speaks to the thorniness of what it means to promote a film on fanboy hate:
... It’s long been on my mind, as someone with partial responsibility for programming, part of our culture: the issue of violence and the issue of ideas, and the strength and the power of ideas, and do we have a social responsibility beyond merely to entertain? ... Look, we’re here to provide entertainment, not morality. But if you can put good out in the world, it’s better than not.
Sure. Good for Ghostbusters, but ideally the next woman-centered franchise film won’t get its publicity in quite this same way.
Image via Getty.