When it's a cynical propagandistic
Actually, we can scratch the last part now that Ghostbusters 2016 has failed to beat the opening weekend domestic box office take of Ghostbusters II.
Here are the numbers
Ghostbusters II: $29,472,894 (June 16, 1989)
Ghostbusters: $46,000,000 (July 17, 2016)
At first glance I seem to have contradicted myself, but look what happens when we apply the magic of inflation!
Ghostbusters II: $57,766,872 in 2016 dollars
That's over eleven million more than the Ghostbusters reboot.
A reboot that cost $144,000,000 to make, compared to its direct predecessor's $72,520,000 price tag.
In other words, Ghostbusters II, which is widely considered a failure, made back almost 80% of its budget on opening weekend, compared to only 32% for the reboot.
Hollywood will be quick to blame sexism. However, a glut of evidence IDs the real culprit of this commercial failure as artistic failure.
|The Simpsons did it better.|
The fact that many moviegoers are voting with their wallets against a film that epitomizes Hollywood's brazen contempt for them tempers my cynicism.
That's not to say that all is well in the world of pop culture.
If it sucks, don't go
There's no getting around it. TFA made a killing. And although it failed to meet expectations, Ghostbusters 2016 might still make its budget back and may even turn a profit.
If these later films were simply earnest but flawed products like the Star Wars prequels and Ghostbusters II, an argument for paying to see them could be made on the basis of "there's no accounting for taste".
Yet online and among gatherings of friends, there's no shortage of people who acknowledge TFA and GB 2016 for what they are: not movies meant to entertain, but crass propaganda. It's highly doubtful that either film would do as well as it did had people who know them for what they are simply not paid to be propagandized.
I've noticed a baffling phenomenon among my peers that can be summed up in one sentence: "Yeah, [Cynical Propagandistic Cash Grab X ] will suck, but I have to go."
No, you don't.
Otherwise rational people's willingness to pay companies who hate them for the privilege of having their personal beliefs, religion, and way of life mocked is a grim testament to how thoroughly pop culture has been subverted into a tool of the elite.
After pointing this out, I usually get excuses along the lines of "I don't want to go, but my girlfriend/spouse does, so what choice do I have?"
I answer: you have the choice to impress your significant other (and, even more importantly, your children) by showing integrity and frugality when you refuse to pay Hollywood scumbags to insult both of you.
Then there's the ever-popular: "I've been a diehard fan of the series for decades. Even if this one sucks, I have to see it."
I answer: look man, we all loved Star Wars/Star Trek/Indiana Jones/Ghostbusters/etc. You probably loved Twinkies as a kid, too, but if I stuck a bunch of them under a slaughterhouse radiator for 30 years and then served you the resulting moldy blackened goo, past fondness wouldn't bind you to choke down the putrid mess.
|Pictured: your most beloved childhood franchise|
Nevertheless, the desire to see these hollow propaganda pieces is understandable. The loyalty once reserved for faith, family, and country has long since been given over to multimedia entertainment empires, designer labels, and high profile name brands.
It worked for a while, back when the high priests of consumerism at least paid lip service to the values of the institutions they'd displaced. Now they've gone rabid and are devouring the culture that birthed them.
Cutting the cord and waking yourself up can seem daunting, I know. Missing out on the cinematic flavor of the month can be scary, especially if you don't immediately see anything that can fill the vacuum.
But alternatives exist, even if the movie studios, record labels, media conglomerates, and big publishers won't tell you about them.
For example, there are any number of independent authors working around the clock to spin fun, exciting yarns with the sole aim of entertaining you.
I happen to be one of them.