“Have you or any of your family ever seen a spook, specter or ghost? Pick up your phone and call the professionals. Ghostbusters! We’re ready to believe you!”
Movies are a collaborative effort, some more than others. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi worked together on three films — 1941, The Blues Brothers, and Neighbors — before Belushi’s untimely demise in 1982. Aykroyd had been working on the script for what would have been their fourth movie together. Ghost Smashers was set in the distant future, where paranormal exterminators were as common as firefighters and police officers, and the script had Aykroyd’s and Belushi’s characters chasing down spectres through space and time. Even after Belushi’s death, Aykroyd still liked the idea and decided to continue working on it, eventually showing the script to director Ivan Reitman. Reitman commented that Aykroyd’s script would have taken $300 million to shoot in 1983, but he liked the basic concept at the heart of the film. He suggested setting it in modern day New York, and making it a “going into business” story.
He brought in his friend Harold Ramis to help re-write the script, and Ramis and Aykroyd worked on it for several weeks at a retreat of Reitman’s. Reitman then took the script to Columbia Pictures, and proposed a budget of $30 million — he would eventually go over by $1 million. The studio head loved the idea, as long as it could be out by the following June — giving Reitman approximately 12 months to finish the script, cast actors, set up the scenes, shoot, add special effects and edit. It would be a bit of a rush job, but Reitman, Ramis, and Aykroyd were successful in bringing the film — rechristened Ghostbusters — in on time. Continue reading →
It’s time once again for the Weekly Weblinks. It’s the last Friday in September, and that means we’re almost to that time of year when half the movie blogs, this site included, start filling their rosters with a bunch of horror films and monster movies. But even though we’ve had a few early arrivals, this week is (almost) free from frights, at least in the blog posts, though certain classics make appearances in the news post.
On the blogging front, a couple classic films get reviewed, as well as one of 2012′s, and a combination review and interview about an under-the-radar film from last year. In the news, a franchise relaunches, another gets a sequel, and a couple unexpected movie-to-TV adaptations. Read on for the details! Continue reading →
Getting a bit of a late start today, thanks to an intermittent internet connection over the last few days throwing me off my rhythm. But, while it’s now Friday afternoon rather than the usual Friday morning scheduled time, it’s still time for the Weekly Weblinks roundup of great blog posts and interesting news items. This week there’s discussion about some major directors, yet more superhero movie news, another iteration of the Ghostbusters 3 yo-yo, and word on perhaps the least necessary remake ever. Plus, dinosaurs. So read on for the Weekly Weblinks! Continue reading →
While I’m still of the opinion that Ghostbusters III should probably never come to light, the odds are that it’s going to happen sooner or later. With that in mind, the question then becomes what can be done to ensure that it isn’t a travesty and a blemish on the franchise. The Ghostbusters franchise has withstood a surprisingly high number of sub-par spin-offs. Ghostbusters II was okay, but nowhere near as good as a sequel to Ghostbusters should have been. The Real Ghostbusters cartoon was great until it was retooled into Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters and taught an entire generation of children what it was like to watch a series go off the rails. It also had to endure a competing cartoon, Filmation’s Ghostbusters, made possible by Filmation being the original rights-holders to the name. (Filmation had a live-action series in the 1970s by the name; Columbia Pictures licensed the name from them, and when the movie was successful, and Columbia moved forward with a cartoon, Filmation revisited their own series in animation form. Filmation head Lou Scheimer later acknowledged they should have just made a grab for producing the series for Columbia.) Later, in the late 90s, a new spin-off cartoon was created, Extreme Ghostbusters, which rapidly flopped.
And yet, despite none of these spin-offs being unqualified successes, and some being outright failures, nothing has tarnished the legacy of the original Ghostbusters film. People seemingly can’t think of Star Wars without thinking of The Phantom Menace nowadays. The Matrix will automatically bring up complaints about the sequels. Ask fans about Highlander, and you’ll immediately hear “there should have been only one.” But mention Ghostbusters, and all the sub-par follow-ups simply slide away. This, more than anything, is why people are concerned about Ghostbusters III. How lucky can one franchise get? How many bad follow-ups can be forgiven? If the third film is terrible, it’s possible it might finally put a tarnish on the franchise, and make it that little bit harder to enjoy the original film. It’s probably best if the film never happens. But since it’s likely to happen anyway, what needs to be done to ensure that it is, against current expectations, a good film? Last week I shared my thoughts on the characters; this week, I’m taking a look at the plot. Continue reading →
Not that we were really expecting rumors of Ghostbusters III to die out any time soon, but Total Film has a few tidbits about the project, which has been in development hell for at least the past six years, and both tidbits are actually somewhat good news for those of us who have been viewing the possible sequel with no small amount of skepticism. The first is that Bill Murray is still not completely ruling out the possibility of a return; he hates the scripts that have been submitted so far, but has said “We’ll try again”, suggesting that he’s still open to the general idea of a third movie if the right script comes along. This is welcome news for those of us who heard the rumors that they might press on without him, as the idea of a Ghostbusters film without Bill Murray would be a cinematic abomination. The other bit is that Dan Aykroyd, who has been the big driving force behind Ghostbusters 3, appears to agree with Murray, and has announced that they are bringing in a new (as yet unrevealed) writing team, to write a new script. Aykroyd states that he feels there is no point in doing the film “unless it’s perfect”.
It’s interesting that they’re bringing in different writers for this; not just the new writers, whoever they are, but the team they’re replacing, Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. Both of the existing Ghostbusters films were written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis themselves. But then, as Ghostbusters II was rather disappointing (still enjoyable, but a definite letdown), perhaps they want some fresh ideas; speaking personally, my biggest complaint is that so much of it seems like a rehash of the original.
To be honest, I’m skeptical about even wanting a third Ghostbusters film. But, operating on the assumption that it’s going to happen anyway, how would I want it approached? Continue reading →
“What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.”
If you keep up at all on your marmot-related holidays, then you know that today, February 2nd, is Groundhog Day. Well, today as you read this, anyway. Not today as I write this. For while I’ve scheduled this article for publication at 6:00 a.m. Punxsutawney time, for the day in question, I’m actually writing it about a week in advance. This is partly just to ensure that it actually gets posted on time, but mostly it’s because as fun as these write-ups are, they’re also a lot of work. And I don’t like to work on my birthday.
Yes, I was born on Groundhog Day. And since 1993, any time somebody finds that out, I can count on a particular question being asked. Whether it was a teacher, a friend, or a prospective employer, they’ve all got to know: “Have you seen that Bill Murray movie? What did you think?”
Every great once-in-a-while — about three times a year, in my experience — “liking” a project’s official Facebook fan page results in being treated to some worthwhile news. In this case, a post from the official Ghostbusters movie page had an embedded video of the film’s original trailer, with one small alteration on the end: Ghostbusters is coming back to theatres for the first time since 1985, this October. Looking around on the web, it seems like it’ll be hitting Halloween weekend.
Personally, I find this much more pleasant news than the ever-present rumors of Ghostbusters 3, which has never seemed to be going down a good track. I find myself more excited than I probably rationally should be. I own Ghostbusters (and Ghostbusters 2) on DVD; I can watch it any time I want. But I’ve never seen it in the theatre. Seeing it on the big screen would be a real treat. It is interesting, in this day and age of Blu-Ray, DVDs, and DVRs, that film companies seem to be getting interested in re-releasing things in theatres once again. The Lion King and Top Gun have both been announced as getting re-releases, although both of those are getting after-the-fact 3D treatments for the reissues. I’ve seen no mention of Ghostbusters getting a 3D conversion, and frankly? I’m OK with that. It stands on its own and needs no 3D gimmick. Of course, that could be said of The Lion King and Top Gun as well. But it does all make me wonder exactly what’s motivating this from Hollywood. As far as I can remember, it’s been about 20 years since any studio has made a habit of re-releasing films into theatres. Has there been some shift in peoples’ buying habits that makes them think it’s worth trying this again?