One would think that after the box-office disaster known as Ghostbusters that Hollywood would think twice about forcing gender-swaps of beloved classics on the public. As Warner Bros’ decision to move forward with Ocean’s Ocho shows, that is not the case.
Entertainment websites confirmed Wednesday that Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafin, Rihanna, are taking part in yet another remake of 1960’s Ocean’s 11 and its Clooney-led team of 2001. The public is already being assured that a Ghostbusters-like debacle is not in the works, but is that really true?
The Hollywood Reporter wrote Thursday:
Though Warner Bros. has greenlit an all-female Ocean’s Eleven spinoff just weeks after an all-female Ghostbusters became a major money loser for Sony, the comparisons should end there.
The most important distinction between the two films is the size of each project’s budget. Sources say Warners will make the Ocean’s reboot, which is currently titled Ocean’s Ocho, for around $70 million, about $80 million less than Ghostbusters’ reported budget of $150 million.
Within minutes of news breaking that Warners was moving forward with its Ocean’s incarnation — headed up by Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway and involving a heist at New York’s Metropolitan Museum — a predictable social media backlash began, with fans invoking the Ghostbusters disappointment. But a project insider insists that the Ocean’s franchise is better poised for the gender swap than Ghostbusters given that it is a frothy heist film aimed at adults rather than a fanboy-skewing action property with supernatural elements based on a movie that some now consider sacrosanct. After all, the 2001 Ocean’s Eleven, with George Clooney at the center of the caper, was itself a remake of the similarly titled 1960 movie starring Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack pals.
Translation: Move along, move along. Nothing to see here.
Poor THR reporter Tatiana Siegel probably has no idea how a.) wrong, and b.) insulting she happens to be with her analysis of the Ghostbusters backlash.
Note: The same adults who grew up with the original Ghostbusters — the people Ms. Siegel calls “fan-boys” — are the same adults who saw Oceans 11 in 2001, Oceans 12 in 2004, and Oceans 13 in 2007. Millions of people who saw the original Ghostbusters do not consider it “sacrosanct” — they simply don’t like shameless cash-grabs by Hollywood producers.
The fact that writers like Ms. Siegel still do not get it (or perhaps do understand but warp the truth on purpose), is an indicator that history will repeat itself.
It should be noted that a smaller budget will go a long way towards ensuring profitability for the studio. Likewise, having Steven Soderbergh involved can only be a good thing. The problem, however, is that men generally do not want to see women in heist films just as women would not run to the theater to see Jason Statham in a gender-swapped remake of Pretty Woman.
Guys wanted to be Brad Pitt or George Clooney when Oceans 11 came out — and women wanted to be with them.
Guys do not want to be Cate Blanchett or Anne Hathaway, and they are not fantasizing about either of them these days.
Danny Ocean appealed to guys because he is the total package — suave, intelligent, funny, and able to handle himself in a fight if the heist starts to fall apart. An all-female cast loses the physical aspect required for most guys to get excited about a ring-leader, and therefore their interest in seeing the film is immediately taken down a notch.
A better time to make Ocean’s Ocho would have been 2005, when Angelina Jolie was at the top of her game.
Imagine the cast: Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Rebecca Romijn, Halle Berry, Catherine Zeta Jones, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Salma Hayek.
That would get men in the seats.
Intelligence? Check. Physicality? Check. Beauty? Check. Humor? Check. Star power? Check? Ties to Clooney’s team? Check. Diversity (for those obsessed about diversity)? Check.
In short, I hope Ocean’s Ocho turns out to be a good movie, but it already feels like a mandated project than something that needs to happen. If it bombs, then it won’t be because of sexist “fan-boys.” Audiences are simply tired of being force-fed partisan pander-projects and then demonized for it when they stay home on opening weekend.
Remember: We have not reached full gender-parity until little girls grow up to believe that they too are just as capable of knocking off casinos as the big boys!