This weekend saw the highly-anticipated release of the all-new, female-led Ghostbusters film. Reviews praised the cast and humor, but critics were let down by the film’s almost too-strict adherence to the formula of previous films. That didn’t stop Ghostbusters from projecting a fairly successful $46.5 million opening gross. But with a vocal backlash against the film on the internet from predominantly male fans, how did the weekend’s Ghostbusters audience demographic actually pan out?
First, Ghostbusters made a record-breaking opening for director Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy, surpassing their previous box office opening record together from The Heat. Secondly, thanks to a Cinemascore of A- from the under-25 audience, for an overall score of B+, Sony isn’t too worried for the film’s prospect with audiences, considering this is the same score both Bridesmaids and Spy earned. Both of those films were colossal successes, and Ghostbusters current weekend estimates are beating the low $30 million weekend predicted a few weeks ago.
At the same time, the budget for Ghostbusters far outclasses the ones for Feig’s previous works, and despite Sony’s promise of further Ghostbusters movies, the film will need to earn the big numbers that franchises are typically built on, especially to recoup the $144 million budget of the film. Luckily, the film debuted at second place in North America, and number one in the UK and Australia, hopefully setting a trend for when the film rolls out in more overseas markets in the coming weeks.
Of the actual people who saw the film, Deadline reports that the audience comprised mostly of over-25 audiences at 63 percent. This is makes sense considering that Ghostbusters is a film from a director whose successes have been tied to making rated-R comedies. And while the film’s audience was 57 percent female, that seems less than expected considering The Heat drew in a 65 percent female audience during its opening weekend.
Even though Sony targeted female demographics for the film, metrics reveal that Ghostbusters key demos – both male and female – who came out specifically for the actresses gave the same score of B+ for the cast. Meanwhile, the demographic that consists of many of the anti-Ghostbusters backlash, males over 25, 35-49, and 50+ gave the film a B score. The A-s the film did receive came from the under 25, under 18 demographics which pulled in 33 and 21 percent of the audience this weekend, respectively. This makes sense as Ghostbusters with its PG-13 rating, is probably made for the younger crowd.
So what does this mean? Both men and women came to see Ghostbusters in similar numbers, and while women did tend to score the film a little higher than men, the film’s biggest love came from the under 25 and teenage demographics. So a film that was purported to “ruin childhoods”, ended up appealing to an audience actually going through their childhoods.
Elsewhere in box office news, Finding Dory is officially the highest-grossing animated film in North America, beating Shrek 2. The Secret Life of Pets maintained its first place position this weekend from last week, followed by Ghostbusters in second place, Legend of Tarzan for third, Finding Dory at fourth, and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates rounding out the top five.
In Independent releases, Woody Allen’s Cafe Society earned $65K in its New York and Los Angeles theater releases for the best opening average of the year. It is below Allen’s previous releases like Blue Jasmine and Midnight in Paris, but far outpaced last year’s Irrational Man.