Uncertainty surrounding the future of the Ghostbusters franchise increased something fierce a few weeks ago, with the tragic passing of series writer/costar Harold Ramis (who played Dr. Egon Spengler in the first two movies).
A report emerged not long after Ramis died, revealing that Sony still intended to move forward with Ghostbusters 3 - a third installment in the mega-popular supernatural horror/comedy series that has been rumored and/or slowly developing for 25 years now - once the script had been revised in an appropriate (and, presumably, respectful) fashion. The latest update on the project confirms as much, while also shedding new light on just what form the film will take.
For starters, the latest report from Deadline makes it crystal-clear: Ghostbusters 3 will serve as a reboot of the franchise. Sony's hope is that the project will reinvigorate the Ghostbusters brand and make it another dependable source of income for the studio in the 21st century.
Moreover, Ivan Reitman (Draft Day) - who directed the first and second Ghostbusters installments - has decided to pass on helming this new movie, as Ramis' death has (understandably) taken the winds out of his sails, as far as Reitman's enthusiasm for the project goes.
However, Reitman is still onboard the Ghostbusters reboot as a producer and a search is underway for a fitting candidate to replace him as director, with the hope of being able to get production started (at long, long last) as soon as Fall 2014 in New York - though, Reitman cautions, "Given the logistics and the stuff that happens, the beginning of 2015 seems more likely."
Ramis' Ghostbusters 1 & 2 co-writer/costar Dan Aykroyd (who plays Dr. Raymond Stantz) previously said that the third installment in the franchise sees the original Ghostbusters team recruit a gang of younger scientists, in order to restart the poltergeist-catching business and keep it going for the future.
Reitman, during his interview with Deadline - which you should read to get his take on Ramis' death and the many Ghostbusters 3 rumors that've cropped up over the years - didn't confirm any explicit plot details for the project, but he did mention that "It’s a version of Ghostbusters that has the originals in a very minor role,” as has been reported in recent weeks.
In addition, Reitman commented on the enduring popularity of the Ghostbusters series:
“It really seems to have resonated, and I think a lot of adults who saw it when they were younger have shown it to their kids and they seem to respond much the same way. Sony sees this as a huge worldwide opportunity, and it is eager to make the film."
According to Reitman, the most recent script draft for the Ghostbusters reboot is the one that's been penned by Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder, Men in Black III), who first boarded the project nearly two years ago - and received a "helping hand" from Aykroyd on the screenwriting process.
An older Ghostbusters 3 screenplay written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (Year One, Bad Teacher) - which Reitman claims was a "really good script" despite longtime rumors to the contrary - apparently ended up being scrapped, after the project failed to grab Ghostbusters 1 & 2 costar Bill Murray's attention (Reitman claims that Murray "never actually said no, but he never said yes, so there was no way to make that film").
Right now, it looks as though the new Ghostbusters movie will fall somewhere between being a "hard" franchise reboot (see: Josh Trank's upcoming Fantastic Four) and a "soft" reboot that continues to progress story threads featured in the previous films, as will be the case with next year's Jurassic Park installment, Jurassic World. That, as they say, is the way things are... until further notice, anyway.
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We'll keep you update on the next Ghostbusters movie as more information is made available.