All-Female 'Ocean's Eleven' Spinoff Looking to Avoid 'Ghostbusters'-Type Backlash
Warners will make 'Ocean's Ocho' for around $70 million, according to sources — about $80 million less than the reported $150 million that 'Ghostbusters' cost.
Put away that slime.
Though Warner Bros. has greenlighted 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 Warner Bros. 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.
The new Ocean's cast — which also includes Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna and Awkwafina — also boasts a more celebrated group of actresses than Ghostbusters' comedy quartet of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Bullock, Blanchett, Hathaway and Carter have four Oscar wins and nine nominations among them and have all starred in box-office megahits, from Gravity (Bullock) to Cinderella (Blanchett) to Interstellar (Hathaway) to Alice in Wonderland (Carter). By contrast, although Ghostbusters' McCarthy is a box-office draw and has an Oscar nomination of her own for Bridesmaids, her appeal is still somewhat limited overseas. And outside Bridesmaids, Wiig has not established herself as a box-office draw, while Jones and McKinnon are relatively new to film.
Still, it remains to be seen whether Ocean's Ocho can capture the same box-office magic as the Clooney-led trio of films that ran from 2001-07, grossing $1.1 billion.
But the Warners-based Bullock is so invested in this next Ocean's outing that she has come on as an executive producer. Clooney, who was rumored to be producing Ocean's Ocho, is no longer attached, in a surprise twist. Instead, Steven Soderbergh, who directed the three Clooney-led Ocean's movies, will take the producing reins of the Gary Ross-helmed film by himself.
Although Ghostbusters failed to reignite that franchise and won't likely be sequelized with its current cast, many industry observers point to the budget — which soared because of the necessary special effects — as the cause for its profitability problems. Ghostbusters, on which Sony partnered with Village Roadshow, will result in a loss, estimated to be in the $70 million range. Ironically, Village Roadshow also is co-financing and co-producing Ocean's Ocho with Warner Bros.
In the wake of Ghostbusters' lackluster performance — just $181 million worldwide to date — studios began reevaluating other all-female reboots, a group that also includes Fox's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But Warners is confident that it won't find a Ghostbusters-esque box-office reception, particularly overseas. (Ghostbusters' international haul is $63 million so far, representing a dismal 35 percent of its total.) In fact, when it came to filling out its cast, instead of putting together a mixed-gender group of eight burglars, Warner Bros. president of creative development and worldwide production Greg Silverman was more focused on assembling an ethnically diverse group of women that reflects the global audience. And as the studio fills out the eighth slot of the ensemble, one thing is certain: Warners will not be casting a male actor.