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Reitman on What His ‘Ghostbusters 3′ Would’ve Been, Why He’s Not Doing It


If movie remakes, reboots and reimaginings are factories for fan complaints, Ghostbusters has become a cottage industry unto itself: Since plans were announced to create a new installment in the beloved comedy franchise, blogs, message boards and social media platforms have been filled with speculation, fear and vitriol. Is it a remake or a sequel? Who’s involved? What’s the story? And for God’s sake, what does Bill Murray have to say about all of this? And after years of “updates,” rumors and parsed quotes from those potentially involved, fans – much less detractors – seem no more informed than the first time they heard about the project.

But at the recent Los Angeles press day for Draft Day, director Ivan Reitman, who helmed the first two films, revealed why he thought the franchise deserved to be explored further. “I certainly think rebooting it is not interesting – i.e., tell the same story but with new guys,” Reitman told Spinoff Online in an exclusive interview. “But picking up a story that has a generational shift in it, yes.”

“I think there’s an appropriate story to tell,” he explained. “The world of ghost-busting, just as a concept in terms of its equipment and vehicles, and the sort of spirituality of it, and the metaphysical idea of it, and guys working together, operating like fireman, [those are] ideas there’s a contemporary opportunity for.”

Reitman said his participation was as much a byproduct of creative necessity as personal ownership. “I always felt it was important to tell a story that had the first two movies as predecessors that everybody involved in the movie recognizes,” he said. “I mean, all of the story recognizes, as opposed to well, let’s pretend nothing happened and let’s talk about the creation of Batman yet again. That’s sort of what my thinking was.”

But a number of factors adversely affected Reitman’s interest in helming the film, including his involvement in Draft Day, his advancing age and, as he revealed last month, the loss of franchise co-creator and star Harold Ramis. “With Harold’s death, and actually this movie and the joy I got from directing this movie, I thought up to this point when I’d been working on the script, I always felt I should direct it and was going to direct it, and God forbid anyone should touch my baby.”

“A number of things pushed against it – one, I wasn’t getting any younger,” he admitted. “I’d already done two of them, and I only had so many movies left. And then there was the philosophical approach of doing a film like Draft Day, which I loved and would like to continue doing.”

But he said that Bill Murray’s storied antipathy toward the project, and the death of Ramis, served as the one-two punch that confirmed he shouldn’t get back behind the camera for Part 3.

“Knowing the reluctance of Bill to be involved in any way, it had nothing to do with how good or bad the script was,” he revealed. “I spoke to him three years ago when there was no script, and he just didn’t want to talk about it. I don’t think he ever read drafts as much as he’s advertised that he has; I think he was embarrassed to say otherwise.”

“And mostly the death of Harold,” he continued. “You know, we started together, we made five movies together, and he went on to be a wonderful director in his own right. That just really focused all of those things, suddenly. And I just decided a few weeks ago – two days after I came back from Chicago for his funeral – that yeah, it’s time.”

Despite the change of heart he had about directing Ghostbusters 3 himself, Reitman said it galvanized his belief that someone else could take over that component of the project from him and create something new, interesting and worthwhile. “I suddenly felt OK with it,” he said. “I suddenly felt excited about producing a movie with other people directing about Ghostbusters, and seeing the opportunity for new ideas and kind of a fresh take for some of the things that we built into this draft.”

Whether the news of a new director quells skepticism about the forthcoming film or intensifies it, Reitman said he and his collaborators are only beginning the process of configuring the ideas from his script for someone else – and he’s confident that Ghostbusters 3 will eventually happen.

“So we’re just starting that process – we’ll see how it goes,” Reitman demurred. “But it’s certainly my expectation that it will happen – and Sony’s as well.”


  • Jonathan Harnois

    Its such a terrible idea to make a sequel 25 years later from the last film.Now you add on the fact that one of the Ghostbusters have passed away and Bill Murray doesn’t seem to be to high on the idea of returning then your down to just half of the original team.Plus all of the men are in their 60’s and another report that came out a week or so ago stated that the original Ghostbusters would have “MINOR” roles in the new film.WTF is that.

    A better idea would have been to just make a Ghostbuster like film with a team tracking down and catching ghost i.e but having nothing to due with the Ghostbuster name or brand.Kind of like how cop films are.Lethal Weapon,48 Hours,Rush Hour…ect are all pretty much a like but their not the same film.

  • pmaitland

    Don’t actually it would be a bad idea tbh.

    Ray and Winston could have sold the business off, or just be desk men.

    Go with a Frighteners spin and have Venkman as a ghost, the Buster’s ‘inside’ man, tracking down a particularly evil spirit (like your cop movie idea). Maybe a sub-plot of Venkman being stuck in a limbo for something he should have done while he was alive (cue Weaver’s Dana character, not fessing up about his feels etc). Put in a nod to Ramis with “Yeah, Spengler got his wings, but oh no! Long suffering Venkman has to pick up the slack!”

  • MegaGearX

    Don’t reboot the franchise, but have Winston and Ray pass the torch onto a new generation of Ghostbusters. Peter and Egon could have died of natural causes or in the line of duty.

  • Will dathrill

    You were never gonna be able to have the original cast members play a significant role anyways….they’re just not up to it physically. Dan Ackroyd is extremely obese now. It would be embarrassing to see him in the Ghostbusters jumpsuit. Just make his character a “Q”-like gadget master and let a new generation take the lead.

  • alistaircrane

    I could get behind a new Ghostbusters team if it’s centred around Dana’s son Oscar. Basically, I just want Sigourney Weaver to be in this movie.

  • razorsfury

    Hard to think about Ghostbusters without Igon.

  • alistaircrane

    If Bill won’t do it, they at least need to have the two remaining Ghostbusters plus Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts and Rick Moranis to pick up the slack.

  • Dre Day

    Not sure why he brought up Batman. But Ghostbusters 3 should have came out in the 90’s or from like 2000-2006. Since Bill Murray want’s nothing to do with the project, maybe they should just reboot it. Start fresh.

  • Simon B

    GB2 was proof enough for me that Reitman wasn’t the man to direct GB3 anymore, even back in 1989… And now, let’s STOP talking about the unmaking of GB3 and decide on either make it or leave it to die once AND FOR ALL.

  • AirDave

    Reitman mentions Batman for all the focus there is on telling – and retelling – The Origin. The same is true for Bond films. Every new actor to play Bond basically re-boots the franchise. He doesn’t want to reboot it, just continue it in some way. Bill Murray was always a central figure to that. If your star isn’t interested, where do you go? There’s never been any crying need to make a Ghostbusters 3.

  • Blade X

    IMO, I think that they should just make the next GB movie a CGI animated updated reboot/retelling of the original movie and then move on from their. For sequels, they could even adapt stories from the REAL GHOSTBUSTERS animated series (which had a lot of great stories).

  • Seth M. Sherwood

    Here are 10 reasons why it’s a terrible idea:

    1. No matter what anybody tells you, remakes, reboots, and sequels that come out of the box 20+ years later are almost always terrible. Just because it’s worked once or twice, that doesn’t mean it should be a go-to. I love Star Trek Wrath of Khan for being one of the best movies ever made, but damn if it hasn’t created false hopes in the minds of every studio exec ever.

    2. It’s time to retire the golden-age of geek culture. We won, okay? Avengers is the biggest thing ever. A property that solely belonged to nerdom is now one of the biggest movies ever made. It has been proven that our poop is in fact gold. When I talk “geek culture” I speaking of sci-fi/genre/cult film fandom that wasn’t born with, but saw the widespread catching-on of, with Star Wars in 1977 and led us to that golden age era of the late 70s and 80s when the high-concept genre film was king. Call it Speilbergian, call it the Amblin era– whatever it was, it was a thing, no doubt. It was the breakthrough for genre going mainstream, it happened concurrently with the rise of ILM and proliferation of crazy advances in special effects, and like it or not, it faded some time in the early 90s, Last Crusade and the BTTF sequels being the end of it in my opinion. Basically, before the internet came along. Point is– those movies inspired the generation that are now making movies, and they should, and in a lot of cases are, doing the next thing. Whedon and Abrams are kings. Going back doesn’t feel new and fresh, it feels awkward. It may seem good when the movie comes out, but you go back a year later and it’s awkward. Like all those really bad Loony Tunes made in the 60s where the quality was a fraction of the ones they made in the 40s. Moments pass, and going back to them usually never recaptures the glory.

    3. Harold Ramis is dead. He wrote the movie and starred in it. He really was the heart and soul of the project, and while they could work off his material for the third movie, without him there in front of, and more importantly, behind the camera, it won’t be the same.

    4. Ghostbusters 2 isn’t that good. We like to think it is, because it is so old it has nostalgia tied to it at this stage… but going back and watching it now… it just isn’t as good. It’s got it’s moments, but a lot of it feels more like it is adapted from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon, and not a sequel to the original. Fun in it’s own right, but nowhere near as clever or good as the original.

    5. Bill Murray doesn’t want to do it. He just doesn’t, that’s obvious. And that’s perfectly fine. Anybody older than 30 doesn’t want to go back and redo something they did two decades previous. People who harken back to life 20 years past have generally made life choices they are not happy with. Murray has had a long career and he has shifted the sort of parts he is known for, and the type of movies he makes. He’s not the same sort of actor or comedian he was in the 80s. We can’t fault him for not wanting to go backwards in his career.

    6. Dan Aykroyd is superfat. At best he’d be good for a behind the desk / Q / mentor type role if they handed off the story to a younger cast. And again– these moments feel awkward when you look at the cameos in other reboots and remakes.

    7. Handing off to a younger cast is a bad idea. It feels like franchise milking. Seth Rogan as Oscar? Sure, he’s funny. But do I want to see him, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill and Kevin Heart as Ghostbusters the Next Generation? On paper, in my head, in a trailer sure– but given time and space, again, it will be such a departure from the original it won’t feel right. You can’t recapture gold.

    8. And speaking of a younger cast– comedy is different. Honestly, This Is The End is probably pretty close to what a Ghostbusters movie with the younger generation of comedy stars would be. Did I like This Is The End? Yes. I’m a fan of Judd Apatow style comedies. But they are different from 80s comedies. It would be like doing a sequel to a 50s comedy in the 80s. Billy Wilder style 50s movie banter wouldn’t have upgraded to 80s double entendres and dry wit which in turn will not upgrade to cynical dick jokes and self-deprication.

    9. At some point something becomes so entrenched in pop culture that you can’t revisit it without it seeming like kitsch. Comedy has a little leeway with this, but for the most part, you can’t have somebody get slimed by a ghost and not have it feel like a dated joke.

    10. In a way, it’s already been done. RIPD, Men In Black, Supernatural, even Buffy the Vampire Slayer — the various tropes and aspects of Ghostbusters have been played out in dozens of other movies in both familiar and new ways. Really, the only thing a Ghostbusters sequel could do that one of these movies hasn’t, is give us the actual Ghostbusters… but with one of them dead and another unwilling, it can’t even deliver on that.

    Now granted, I’m grumpy about this sort of thing Some people would likely love it. The Prequel trilogy and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull have fans, so there’s no reason to think people wouldn’t flock to see GB3… but I for one hope it never happens.

  • Steven Whisler Jr.

    Didn’t the first (and 2nd) Ghostbuster movie tell a complete story. I don’t see anything lest open. Any sequel at this point is just a rehash money grab.

  • Voice of Reason

    ^ Don’t quit your day job.

  • Alex W

    Wouldn’t bet on Moranis. That guy quit acting over a decade ago.

  • Spiderpope

    On point 10, heck even Reitman has done it with ‘Evolution’.

  • pmaitland

    Well, let’s hear your idea then ;)

  • Mike McTighe

    Moranis recently started talking to the media again. I think his kids are all grown up now.

  • Comicfan85

    Im with you. I think it is time for Hollywood and society to just the 80s end and to stop bringing the franchises back for nostalgia purposes. “A Good Day To Die Hard” anyone?

  • McFly

    Who the hell is Igon????

  • Grubber


  • Dirk

    The Ghostbusters are called in to deal with the aftermath of “The Cabin in the Woods”!

  • Dan Boland

    Given Dan and Ernie non-minor roles. Simple. Is it that hard? They seemed to have a friendship in the films, anyway.

  • Dan Boland

    Give Dan and Ernie non-minor roles. is it that hard? they seemed to have a friendship in the films. Maybe not major roles, but “very minor?” Blah

  • JeffMc2000

    I want to see Winston fund the new team because he was the only original Ghostbuster to realize the value of the merchandising rights and has become a billionaire. I just think it would be funny if Ernie Hudson ended up as the most successful Ghostbuster.

  • frankie09

    as long the script is good and the character build up
    is solid it will be a great recipe and a great year for the
    Ghostbusting community and that it’s stars of the first movie
    are touring England at conventions this coming weekend
    in Milton Keynes and in London this coming july and I loved
    both of the first movies and death is a door time is but a
    window i’ll be back and the return of star wars with a buffed
    slender Carrie fisher back in her slave costume that became
    popular at scifi conventions but we can’t pass judgement
    about thing’s till it is out and people seen it .
    Frankie Dandridge Smales
    smales tv uk