“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