'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' Scares Up $4.5 Million at Thursday Box Office

Sony’s revival of the ’80s comedy franchise is projected for a low-to-mid $30 million opening weekend

Sony Pictures

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” the latest revival of the “Ghostbusters” ’80s comedy franchise, made $4.5 million in Thursday preview screenings that began at 4 p.m. from 3,450 locations, including IMAX and PLF screens. It opens on over 4,300 locations this weekend.

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” from Sony opens alongside Warner Bros.’ “King Richard” starring Will Smith as the father of tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams, but “Ghostbusters” ain’t afraid of no ghosts or other movies and is expected to top the box office this weekend with an opening in the low to mid $30 million range, while the studio is projecting a more modest $27-28 million start.

The last time “Ghostbusters” was revived back in 2016 with Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, the film made $3.4 million in its Thursday preview screenings before going on to gross $46 million in its opening. “Afterlife” is opening exclusively in theaters this weekend and hopes to have a strong 3-day opening before heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. For another comparison, 20th Century’s “Free Guy” also opened exclusively in theaters at the end of this summer and brought in $28.3 million after starting with $2.2 million at the Thursday box office.

This new film is directed by Jason Reitman, son of the 1984 film’s director Ivan Reitman, who is also a producer. The film leans heavily into fan service and nostalgia for the original pair of movies and is a direct sequel rather than a remake. It stars Paul Rudd alongside Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard and McKenna Grace and follows the grandchildren of Egon Spengler (the late Harold Ramis) as they look after an old house and farm in a small town in Oklahoma, only for them to discover that their new home is the site of enormous ghost activity and that they now have an enormous legacy to uphold.

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” currently has a great 66% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, and the original film’s stars including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson have all been promoting the film ahead of its release this weekend. Executive producers are Dan Aykroyd, Gil Kenan, Jason Blumenfeld, Michael Beugg, Aaron L. Gilbert and Jason Cloth.

Though its unclear what the budget of “Afterlife” is, the film’s director Jason Reitman has suggested it’s a third of what a typical Marvel movie costs and could be in the $70 million range.

Also opening is “King Richard,” which stars Will Smith alongside Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, Tony Goldwyn, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton. Reinaldo Marcus Green’s film about the life of Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena, is projected for a $10 million opening but will also open on HBO Max. The film has a 91% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

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