Say goodbye to Ghostbusters 3 and hello to Ghostbusters: The Reboot. Sony is planning to shoot this long-gestating franchise sequel in early 2015, with director Ivan Reitman no longer attached. Production will take place in New York.
Ivan Reitman decided to step away from the sequel after the untimely death of original Ghostbuster Harold Ramis earlier this year. He is not completely abandoning the project, though. Now, he will help producer Amy Pascal search for a new director capable of taking the series in a fresh direction that will completely reboot the franchise.
Despite there only being two films, 1984's Ghostbusters and 1989's less beloved Ghostbusters 2, Sony considers the property one of their most important franchise titles. Ghostbusters 3 has long tried to get itself off the ground with Ivan Reitman being the most consistent part of the equation. He has been set to direct for as long as the movie has been in development, which was stalled due to a long, unfruitful campaign to get Bill Murray to return alongside Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver and Ernie Hudson.
Once it was clear that Bill Murray wasn't coming back, a new story that didn't include him was set in the works, and Sony finally felt like they were ready to move forward. And then Harold Ramis passed away, which changed everything.
"There has been all kinds of stuff, unofficially written about Ghostbusters. I've been reading things online for about four years, speculation on who's writing, what they're writing, who's in it, who we will use, and who's directing. We'd decided not to comment up till now, I wasn't sure what I was going to do, and it was never clear what Bill was going to do. A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend who was extraordinarily influential in my career. We did five movies together including both Ghostbusters."
Ivan Reitman went onto talk about the different scripts that have been in development.
"The first was done by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, and me, Harold and Dan helped them on it. It was a really good script, but then it became clear that Bill really didn't want to do another Ghostbusters and that it was literally impossible to find him to speak to for the year or two we tried to get it going. When Bill finally...well, he never actually said no, but he never said yes, so there was no way to make that film. We decided to start over again, and I started working with Etan Cohen, with Dan Aykroyd lending a helping hand. Harold got sick about three years ago, and we kept hoping he would get better. I kept pushing forward on the Etan Cohen and we now have a draft that is very good, that the studio is very excited about.
It's a version of Ghostbusters that has the originals in a very minor role. When I came back from Harold's funeral, it was really moving and it made me think about a lot of things. I'd just finished directing Draft Day, which I'm really happy with and proud of. Working on a film that is smaller and more dramatic was so much fun and satisfying. I just finally met with Amy Pascal and Doug Belgrad when I got back. I said I'd been thinking about it for weeks, that I'd rather just produce this Ghostbusters. I told them I thought I could help but let's find a really good director and make it with him. So that's what we've agreed will happen. I didn't want all kinds of speculation about what happened with me, that is the real story."
The director continued, explaining his feelings towards the original two movies, and why it will mean more personally if he hands over the franchise to a new director.
"It was such an amazing time in my life 30 years ago, and I felt that way on the second film. With Harold no longer with us I couldn't see it. 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.
Does he have a director in mind? And will Dan Aykroyd be the only original Ghostbuster to suit up?
"I'm not going to say how many Ghostbusters there will be in the new cast, but we are determined to retain the spirit of the original film, and I am pleased that all of this seems to have happened organically. I'm hoping we can get started by the fall, set in New York, but given the logistics and the stuff that happens, the beginning of 2015 seems more likely."
"We totally understood. He was thinking he might feel that way when Harold died, and then came back to us and confirmed it, that while he was excited to return and make the movie as producer, but did not feel he wanted to direct the movie. We are delighted to work with Ivan on this movie in that capacity. We love him, and he's going to continue to play an important role. We're very anxious to get the movie started."
Ghostbusters is being looked at as a fresh start franchise that will fit in with Sony's other big franchises including James Bond, The Amazing Spider-Man and Men In Black, which may get a reboot as well. The Equalizer is another franchise possibility, as a sequel is already being written for the Denzel Washington action thriller based on the TV show of the same name.