Ghostbusters 3 is inching closer and closer to becoming more than a subject that people refuse to stop asking Dan Aykroyd about (and he keeps on championing). Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder, Men in Black III) penned the latest script draft this past summer. Meanwhile, Sony is taking steps that could allow production to begin next year; though, Fall 2013 seems more likely, rather than a Summer start date (as we previously reported).
Aykroyd says that Bill Murray has lost his rights to the property, which accounts for why the other Ghostbusters franchise gatekeepers (see what I did there?) are at last gearing up to move ahead without him. Indeed, Aykroyd is now confirming that the stage could soon be set for future installments after GB3... assuming the latter finally happens, that is.
Here is what Aykroyd told Esquire, on the rights issue:
Well, I have one-fifth of the voice, along with the partners and the other owner of the property, the picture company, and Ivan [Reitman], Billy [Murray], and myself, and Harold [Ramis]. We all have to sign off on it unanimously — uh, I'm not sure Billy does anymore, since he abrogated his rights by sort of, by saying, two years ago he said, "I don't want to be involved," and the picture company I think had some clause in there that if he actually passed on the third of fourth offer, he no longer has a view of the franchise. So, that's for the lawyers to decide. Of course, I'd love to have Billy call me tomorrow and say, "Let's go to work and start writing."
There have been a handful of different setups and premises for Ghostbusters 3 over the years, including the 'Ghostbusters in Hell' concept that Aykroyd refers to as "Man-hell-ttan" - which might have resembled the plot for Ghostbusters: The Video Game, given what we've heard - and a passing-the-torch storyline that Cohen has carried over from the previous draft written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (Year One, Bad Teacher). Not surprisingly, Aykroyd has confirmed the most recent script for GB3 sets the stage for a fourth installment.
To quote Aykroyd directly:
Oh, yes, the one that Etan has written now — with Ivan strongly collaborating with him, and with me doing revisions as needed, and studio input — totally leads to a next one. It feeds into it very organically.
However, it now appears that there is, in fact, a limit to Aykroyd's patience, when it comes to making a third Ghostbusters movie. He isn't budging from the claim that Sony has a surefire box office success on its hands - and, to be fair, we can't argue too much with that assertion - but the actor/writer/vodka connoisseur is now putting an expiration date on his commitment.
Here is what Aykroyd said:
... We can't wait forever. And now's the time to tell the picture company, and I'd say this quite publically, it's time now to sit down and make this movie, or you will lose your main principals, and you won't be able to make it without us, because we have rights, and now is time to make the movie... You don't take advantage of that in the next three or four months, I'll see you in Australia, where we'll be selling Crystal Head.
Is this a genuine sign that Aykroyd is ready to either go big or go home, when it comes to Ghostbusters 3? He could easily have some under-wraps information on the project's status, given his intimate involvement; then again, we might end up hearing the same thing from Aykroyd a year from now, so don't start holding your breath just yet.
More on Ghostbusters 3 as the story develops.