Every movie that saw a release delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic has faced higher stakes during its opening weekend. Daniel Craig’s last run as James Bond was a prime example. Its movie studio, MGM, suffered from massive debt with building interest as they waited to finally release the movie. While the financial stakes haven’t been the same with Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the pressure has been intense. Fans have had a lot to say about the 2016 female remake Ghostbusters. The new release of Afterlife, which is said to be considered the third film of the original series, could revive or kill the franchise for good. They’ve delayed the release several times, but now that its opening weekend has happened, the box office numbers are in. While the international numbers met expectations, the domestic box office lifted Ghostbusters: Afterlife up considerably.
According to Deadline, the final weekend totals reached $60 million globally. The 31 international markets included in that figure accounted for $16 million of Ghostbusters: Afterlife opening weekend total. The domestic figure was $46 million. The marketing pushed for fans to see the film in IMAX and $4.7 million of the box office total came from those theatergoers.
Some countries, like Japan, Russian, Australia, and Korea, won’t see their openings happen for a while yet, so those numbers have time to grow. Historically, Ghostbusters has been a franchise with a much bigger domestic following, so big numbers aren’t necessarily expected in those markets. The $46 million domestic for Ghostbusters: Afterlife is by far the most important figure for this particular movie.
Now, questions surround how much of a drop-off it will see in the weekends to come. Sony is hopeful that the $46 million is a great start for the movie, but in 2021, many movies have seen huge declines after their opening weekends. A lot of the people willing to brave the movie theaters for an anticipated release are doing so the moment the movie comes out, with fewer casual moviegoers bothering to head to the theater. With so many movies on streaming, and COVID-19 restrictions still in place in many parts of the world, it’s still difficult to predict what the final box office take will be for Ghostbusters: Afterlife when it finishes its run.
How is the new movie doing with audiences? Before its release, critics were reporting negative early reactions. The 2016 remake was outscoring Ghostbusters: Afterlife on Rotten Tomatoes. The 2016 film holds an all-time approval rating of 74%. Ghostbusters: Afterlife was at 67% five days ago. As of this writing, Rotten Tomatoes has Afterlife at 62% on the Tomatometer, but, it holds a 96% audience score with over 2,500 verified reviews. While critics have trashed the movie for relying too much on nostalgia, that may be exactly what audiences want to see. Many recent releases have earned higher audience scores than what critics have been reporting in early reviews.
Eternals had the worst reviews of any Marvel movie ever prior to its release. While it has still been met with mixed reactions, the reviews improved greatly once fans had the chance to check it out. For now, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is seeing positive reactions at the box office and online. Sony has high hopes that will continue on, which may mean more Ghostbusters projects soon.