Who Ya Gonna Call?
A Look Into that whacky Ghostbusting Franchise.
"Ghostbusters", it still stands as one of the most beloved Comedy and Film Franchises of all time. Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson, the film made its theatrical debut in June, 1984, it made millions of viewers laugh and brought home 250 Million from the Box Office, making it one of the most successful and highest grossing Comedies of all time.
It all started from the mind of Dan Aykroyd, while him and Belushi were still on the cast of SNL. After filming, the Blues Brothers, Aykroyd came up with the idea of a film with him and Belushi as a couple of Ghost Hunters persuing through space catching Ghosts, the original idea was called Ghost Smashers.
He pitched the idea to Ivan Reitman and Harold Ramis, who suggested to switch the setting to New York City. After Belushi's death, the role of Peter Venkman was then given to Bill Murray. They soon pitched the idea to Columbia Pictures, and before they knew it, a classic was in the making. The film was shot in a few months, with half a script complete and the rest adlibbed.
With almost pitch perfect comedic perfomances from the cast, spectacular special effects (which recieved an Oscar Nomination), and a highly original concept,"Ghostbusters" was without a doubt a huge hit with both audiences and critics, both Ebert and Siskel gave the film 4 stars and 2 thumbs up. With so many great lines and moments, how could you go wrong? It was also a huge stepping stone for all involved, especially Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver.
A helping hand in making the word "Ghostbusters" more infamous was ofcourse Ray Parker Jr's theme song.
The song was Number 1 on the charts for 4 weeks in the summer of '84, making "who ya gonna call" a house hold quote.
The song was even nominated an Academy Award for Best Song. The blues-riff used in the intro/verse of the song, bared a striking resemblence to Huey Lewis' "I Want a New Drug", because of the this, Lewis sued Parker for plagiarism, Though the law-suit was dropped eventually.
As Ray Parker Jr's "Ghostbusters" continued to tear up the radio-waves, in 1985, the film started to see high VHS and Laserdisc sales.
By 1986, Columbia decided to further the franchise and the adventures of Peter, Ray,Egon and Winston, with a Saturday Morning Animated Series. The series, was to be respectively called "Ghostbusters".
Around the same time, another studio wanted to attempt to cash-in on the Ghostbusters hype.
Filmation wanted to release their own Ghostbusting cartoon (an Animated version of an old failed live-action show that was aired in the mid-70s,titled "The Ghost Busters", about 2 detectives and an Ape solving mysteries).
Filmation owned the Television rights to the name "Ghostbusters". This was a dispute which was settled when Columbia renamed their show "The REAL Ghostbusters". A perfect zing to the bozos at Filmation.
The Real Ghostbusters furthered the success of the franchise, this time aimed more at the 'Elementary School Recess Ground Crowd'. This wasn't your average cartoon, it was complete with colorfully developed Characters, perfect dark comedic tones, witty dialogue, and clever use of HP Lovecraft mythology used as plot devices. This series was one of a kind, and it was no surprise it was as big of a hit as the film it was based.
It wasnt untill this point, where the Merchandising spectacle took place. Soon, the "No Ghost Logo" was slapped on pencils, bumper stickers, toilet seat covers, and beyond...
Awesome line of action figures.
Sub-Par Halloween Costumes.
McDonald's Happy Meals..
Also, in the merchandising department, we were offered a slew of (mediocre) Video Games.
Not to mention Slimer became the mascot of everything you could put your hands on..
even tooth paste.
And you all remember Ecto Cooler.
The hype built and built, untill the studio wanted another film to be produced. Thus, Ghostbusters 2 was on the horizon.
And everyone was hyped up to see this, the marketing campeign was a phenomonion. Everyone from..
were all cought up in the promotion of the film.
The film was a huge success, it made a record of the biggest opening weekend, but was put up against Tim Burton's Batman,which beat it the following the week. Ghostbusters 2, was in no doubt inferior to the original. It was still great and funny movie none the less, who would of thought Jackie Wilson would be able to make a toaster dance and the Statue of Liberty walk?
Along with the awesome Universal Ghostbusters Spooktacular show in 1991, this and the 2nd film were the last breaths of the Ghostbusters' popularity.
By 1992, The Ghostbusters flame dims, the Real Ghostbusters gets cancelled due to poor ratings and angry mother's complaining about the "violence", geuss the kids actually DID want more He-Man.
"thats why you went out of business.."
The years pass and soon everyone forgets about the Ghostbusters, untill around the late 90s,particulary 1997, when talk of a third film was being tossed around, Aykroyd pitched a first draft script to Columbia.
Harold Ramis, had interest in Ben Stiller and Chris Farely being new members of the Ghostbusters. To test the waters, Columbia releases a new cartoon, Extreme Ghostbusters, which involved a new team of Paranormal Exterminators being mentored under the guidence of Dr. Egon Spengler.
Though the cartoon was very good and very funny, poor ratings dragged it down, it was aired on odd UHF channels that no one usually watched, which gave the cartoon barely any recognition, there was a toyline released but no one noticed them. The result of this, gave Columbia the decision to scrap the GB3 idea.
About 10 years pass, rumors float around from time to time about a third film. Other than the occasional rumor, nothing in the Ghostbusters Universe was active. So hearing GB3 news was always taken with a grain of salt. There was even a rumor that a new film was to be made, but in all CGI animation, which i think would completely ruin the continuity of the films, and not to mention the great comedic performances that can only be pulled off by flesh and blood actors. It wasnt untill around last year ( 2007 ), when talks of a new Video game were afloat. This sparked a whole new interest and revival in the franchise, new lines of merchandising, including new action figures, Comic Books/Manga are being released and talks of a new film are on shore again.
NECA action Figures:
Official Halloween Costume:
Leaked Unofficial Game Image:
Before the official game was anounced, game developers, Zootfly leaked this image online, with a few videos featuring a character with a Proton Pack zapping ghosts. Unable to secure rights, they decided to use the videos to promote a completely different game. This left Fans feel very unhappy and empty handed, but luckily around the same time, Terminal Reality were already developing an "official" Ghostbusters game. This time, with secured rights and all the original creators and cast on board for the project.
This brings us up to date, they are now rumors and speculation in the interest of third film once again. Columbia (which is owned by Sony now) hired the two writers of Harold Ramis' new film, Year One (they are also the two head writers of The Office), to write the script, it will be passed to Aykroyd and Ramis to look through. The story is rumored to be similar to Extreme Ghostbusters, with a new team being hired and the originals being their mentors throughout the film. Bill Murray is looking forward to playin Peter Venkman again, having gained new interest from voicing him in the new video game.
Some say that the actors are too old, but i beg to differ, because none of them look that bad, and if the overall point of Ghostbusters is Comedy, then whats the harm in having guys in their mid-50s chasing ghosts?
There have been some rumors that Judd Apatow would be inovled with the production, with his usual cast taking the roles of the new team, which personally i think would completly ruin the intelligent and sarcastic humor that Ghostbusters delivers, versus the obnoxious and abrasive college humor that Apatow/Rogan are famous for. I strongly suggest that Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill should NOT come anywhere near the script, or in other words "touch it with a ten meter cattle prod".
But luckily, this rumor was declined by Columbia, thank god. Dan Aykroyd said he hopes to be in production by Fall of 2009. Everything else is speculation.
So what is to become of this beloved Franchise? It makes us laugh and remains to stand the test of time, it seems to be getting the recognition it deserves recently. Since this site lacks any Ghostbuster-related articles, i decided to share my love for one of the best movies to come out of the 80s. It is as much a part of my childhood as i assume its all a part of yours.
In my opinion, i dont think there has been another Comedy that has touched the hearts of pop culture and fans, in the way that Ghostbusters has. It has become an iconic piece of cinema, and even if a 3rd film weren't to fall through, Ghostbusters will still be remembered, cherished, and still make busting feel good.
"We're Ready To Believe You"