The Ghostbusters movie franchise is returning to theaters in 2016, but in the form of a hard reboot rather than the Ghostbusters 3 installment that series costar/co-writer Dan Aykryod had spent years teasing as being ‘just around the corner.’ Aykroyd has openly voiced his support for the reboot, but apparently hasn’t given up on his dream of a ‘traditional’ Ghostbusters sequel somewhere down the line – though, it’s rather difficult to imagine how such a film will ever happen now.
Most of the filmmakers who were either rumored for and/or offered Ghostbusters 3 in recent years – such as Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less) along with Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie, 21 & 22 Jump Street) – seem like fairly logical fits for the Ghostbusters property, given their backgrounds in action/comedy and/or comical supernatural horror. Similarly, Ghostbusters reboot director Paul Feig is coming off comedies like Bridesmaids, as well as the hit buddy cop action/comedy The Heat and the spy action movie parody titled… er, Spy, opening Friday (at the time of writing this).
Feig was interviewed by AlloCiné (hat tip to /Film) as part of the promotional campaign for Spy, which provided the director a chance to confirm that he too had been offered a chance to direct Ghostbusters 3. However, as the filmmaker put it, he was ultimately more interested in putting a fresh spin on the Ghostbusters franchise – not continuing from where Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters II left off, all the way back in 1989.
I had been contacted several times about doing a sequel for Ghostbusters and I just kept turning it down because I didn’t know how to do it. The scripts had been written, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I wasn’t excited about it. So finally, one day I was like, it’s a great franchise and it’s a great idea, if I was going to do it, how would I do it? And then I thought, if I could put four women in the lead roles, that’s exciting to me. That I know how to do, and I know how to make that funny…
Ghostbusters (2016) will be headlined by two of Feig’s previous collaborators (Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy), along with Saturday Night Live cast members Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Feig, despite being known for making women-driven comedy feature films, has been criticized for this approach to the Ghostbusters reboot in the past – with some dismissing his casting choices as a gimmick and little else. Thing is, though, that criticism doesn’t mean much – since the very act of re-imagining and re-packing Ghostbusters (for a live-action movie with anyone but actors from the original 1984 film) could be dismissed as a “gimmick”, when you think about it.
Another somewhat divisive element of the Ghostbusters reboot is that it won’t have any connections to the franchise’s previous installments – a direction that Feig explained to AlloCiné as follows:
“… Then I thought, I’d rather do it as a reboot so I’m not tied to the old movies. The old movies are so good, I didn’t want to mess with them. And I also want to see the beginnings of this group. I want to see people seeing ghosts for the first time, and how they’re going to fight them for the first time, how they develop their technology. So it just got very exciting to me. I just like working with funny women, and that’s all I really like to do with my career.”
Sony will reportedly invest some $150 million in the Ghostbusters franchise reboot, with the hope that it could kick off a new collection of films set in the revitalized Ghostbusters cinematic universe. There is certainly an argument to be made that Feig’s movie could’ve gone the Jurassic World route – setting its story in a world where the characters and events in previous installments remain part of the canon, yet are acknowledged as being part of the franchise’s past (rather than its future). Then again, there’s also an argument to be made that starting from scratch is the better option for Ghostbusters.
At the end of the day, though, Feig and screenwriter Katie Dippold (The Heat) have decided to take the latter route – and based on their solid track record, there’s reason to be hopeful that the final result will ultimately prove they made the right call.
Ghostbusters opens in U.S. theaters on July 22nd, 2016.