ⓘ Ghostbusters (2016 film)


ⓘ Ghostbusters (2016 film)

Ghostbusters is a 2016 supernatural comedy film directed by Paul Feig and written by Feig and Katie Dippold. It stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. It is a reboot of the 1984 film of the same name and the third film, overall, in Ghostbusters franchise. The story focuses on four women and their assistant who begin a ghost-catching business in New York City.

A third Ghostbusters film had been in various stages of development following the release of Ghostbusters II in 1989. As a result of original cast member Bill Murrays refusal to commit to the project and the death of fellow cast member Harold Ramis in 2014, Sony decided to instead reboot the series. Many of the original films cast make cameo appearances in new roles. The announcement of the female-led cast in 2015 drew a polarized response from the public and internet backlash, leading to the films IMDb page and associated YouTube videos receiving low ratings prior to the films release.

Distributed by Columbia Pictures, the film premiered at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on July 9, 2016, and was released in the United States on July 15, 2016, in 2D, 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D. The film grossed $229 million worldwide. However, due to its combined production and marketing budget of over $350 million, the film ended up being a box office bomb, with losses of up to $125 million for the studio. Consequently, the studio abandoned plans for a sequel, eventually opting to continue the original Ghostbusters series instead.


1. Plot

Physicists Abby Yates and Erin Gilbert are authors of a research book which posits the existence of paranormal phenomena, such as ghosts. While Abby continued to study the paranormal at a technical college with eccentric engineer Jillian Holtzmann, Erin, now a professor at Columbia University, disowned the work, fearing it might jeopardize her tenure. When Abby republishes the book, Erin convinces her to agree to remove the book from publication in exchange for helping Abby and Jillian in a paranormal investigation. They witness a malevolent ghost, restoring Erins belief in the paranormal, but video footage of the investigation is posted online, and Erin is fired by the university. She joins Abby and Jillian to set up new offices above a Chinese restaurant, calling themselves "Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination". They build equipment to study and capture ghosts, and hire the dimwitted but handsome Kevin Beckman as a receptionist.

MTA staffer Patty Tolan witnesses a ghost in a subway line and contacts the group. They document the ghost and successfully test Jillians proton containment laser, but their findings are again dismissed. They continue to develop their technology and advertise their services with the name pundits have labeled them, "Ghostbusters". Patty joins the team, providing historical knowledge of New York City and a repurposed hearse, "Ecto-1".

Unbeknownst to the Ghostbusters, the ghosts are being summoned by devices built by Rowan North, an occultist attempting to bring about the apocalypse. When Rowan plants another device at a live music venue, the Ghostbusters are called in and capture the ghost in front of the audience. When supernatural debunker Dr. Martin Heiss challenges the Ghostbusters, the incensed Erin releases the ghost as proof; it throws Heiss out a window and escapes. The Ghostbusters are brought to Mayor Bradley and his secretary Jennifer Lynch, who reveal that the city and the Department of Homeland Security DHS are aware of New Yorks ghost problem. While privately supporting the teams work, the mayors office and the DHS publicly denounce them as fraudsters.

The Ghostbusters realize that Rowan is planting his devices along ley lines, which intersect at the Mercado Hotel in Times Square, a site with a history of paranormal activity, and discover Rowan building a portal to the ghost dimension in the hotel basement. To avoid capture, Rowan commits suicide by electrocuting himself, after which Jillian deactivates the portal. Erin discovers an annotated copy of her and Abbys book among Rowans possessions and realizes that he killed himself so he could become a ghost and command a spirit army. Rowan returns as a powerful ghost, possessing Abby and then Kevin. As Kevin, he opens the portal and releases hundreds of ghosts. The police and DHS are subdued, but the Ghostbusters fight through the army of ghosts to reach the portal.

Rowan takes the form of the ghost in the Ghostbusters logo, grows to enormous height, and attacks the city. The team devises a plan to use Ecto-1s nuclear reactor to close the portal and return the ghosts to their own dimension. The plan succeeds, but Rowan drags Abby into the portal with him; Erin leaps into the portal and rescues her as Rowan is obliterated. The mayors office agrees to secretly fund the Ghostbusters research while continuing to publicly denounce them as frauds. With new funding, the Ghostbusters move to a better facility, a disused fire house. New York lights up with thanks and tributes to the Ghostbusters. Patty hears something unusual in a recording and asks: "Who is Zuul?"


2. Cast

  • Cecily Strong as Jennifer Lynch
  • Neil Casey as Rowan North
  • Michael K. Williams as Agent Hawkins
  • Andy Garcia as Mayor Bradley
  • Charles Dance as Dr. Harold Filmore
  • Chris Hemsworth as Kevin Beckman
  • Leslie Jones as Patty Tolan
  • Matt Walsh as Agent Rourke
  • Kristen Wiig as Dr. Erin Gilbert
  • Ed Begley Jr. as Ed Mulgrave Jr.
  • Kate McKinnon as Dr. Jillian Holtzmann
  • Melissa McCarthy as Dr. Abigail L. "Abby" Yates

Original Ghostbusters cast members Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts and director Ivan Reitman appear as: ghost-debunker Martin Heiss; a taxi driver; Pattys uncle, Bill Jenkins; Holtzmanns mentor, Rebecca Gorin; hotel-receptionist Vanessa; and a passerby, respectively. Karan Soni, Bess Rous, Eugene Cordero, and Milana Vayntrub, who co-starred with Casey on director Paul Feigs series Other Space, portray deliveryman Benny, the ghost of Gertrude Aldridge, a bass guitarist, and a woman attacked by rat ghosts.

Also appearing as ghosts are Dave Allen as the electrocuted ghost, Steve Bannos as the flasher ghost, Robin Shelby as the voice of Lady Slimer, and Adam Ray as the voice of Slimer, who also portrays the lead singer of a band. Additionally, Steve Higgins plays Thomas Shanks, Michael McDonald plays Jonathan, Zach Woods plays Garett, Nate Corddry plays Leif, Toby Huss plays Officer Stevenson, Katie Dippold plays a rental agent, Sam Richardson plays a police officer, and Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo play waitresses. Ozzy Osbourne, Al Roker, Pat Kiernan, Greg Kelly, and Rosanna Scotto portray themselves.


3.1. Production Development

A third Ghostbusters film had been in various stages of development following the release of Ghostbusters II in 1989. Bill Murray, who played Ghostbuster Peter Venkman in the original films, was reluctant to participate as he felt Ghostbusters II had been lackluster and was critical of new scripts he had read. Murray later clarified that his reluctance was also in part due to his relationship with Columbia Pictures and Sony, rather than any of his co-stars from the first two films. Dan Aykroyd, who co-starred in and co-wrote the original films, stated that the studio was aware that "without Murray there may be nothing there" for a sequel, and was considering a way to introduce a new generation of Ghostbusters.

One script, Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent, written by Aykroyd in 1999, had Venkman leaving the Ghostbusters to spend time with Sigourney Weavers character Dana Barrett; the remaining Ghostbusters, including a new younger member, fought souls that had been evicted from a hellish version of Manhattan known as Manhelltan. The Hellbent script was revised as Ghostbusters in Hell, with plans to replace Murray with Ben Stiller. The story had the Ghostbusters finding a portal to an alternate dimension in which "all the worst things about modern urban life" are "magnified"; traffic is stuck in perpetual gridlock and no two people speak the same language. Another story idea had Venkman transformed into a ghost.

While the third film remained in development, Ghostbusters: The Video Game was developed by Terminal Reality and released in 2009. Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, cowriters of the original films, used the game to explore the Ghostbusters history; all four original actors, including Murray, voiced their characters, along with other actors from the original films. Aykroyd considered the game "essentially the third movie". The game sold over a million units, prompting Columbia Pictures to move forward on the Ghostbusters franchise. Ramis stated that the new film would feature the original Ghostbusters but introduce new characters in a script written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, who had cowritten his 2009 comedy Year One. The movie was set to be filmed in 2010 and released in 2011.

Around March 2010, while the new script was being developed, Vulture reported that Columbia wanted to target a younger audience and that original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman was under pressure to step down in place of a younger director. Reitman, along with Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis, had long-standing contracts in place with Columbia that effectively allow any of them to veto the development of a Ghostbusters film. Murray had told GQ in 2010 that he felt the script written by Eisenberg and Stupnitsky was poor and "that dream just vaporized", but said that Columbia was pressuring him to make it. Aykroyd defended the script, saying that it offered Murray "the comic role of a lifetime". In January 2012 Aykroyd stated that the film was in "suspended animation" as Murray was still uncooperative. Aykroyd refused to recast the role as he would not make a film that "exploits the franchise". By July 2012, the Eisenberg and Stupnitsky script had been discarded and new writers were working on a script.

Murrays reluctance to commit to the project resulted in the decision to reboot the franchise instead. In September 2012, Reitman suggested a remake of the original Ghostbusters, which would allow them to introduce a new cast. Reitman was working on a Ghostbusters reboot that would be written by Reitman, Etan Cohen, and Aykroyd and filmed in 2013. Following Ramiss death in February 2014, Reitman left the director role to focus on smaller projects, but remained a producer to help Columbia and Sony find a new director for the film. At this point, the script featured the original Ghostbusters in minor roles.


3.2. Production Pre-production

Variety and The Hollywood Reporter reported in August 2014 that Paul Feig had been selected as director and the reboot would feature an all-female cast. Feig announced the film and his involvement in October 2014, along with co-writer Katie Dippold, and confirmed his intention to have the film "star hilarious women". Feig stated that he was partly inspired by the TV series The Walking Dead, adding that his goal was to "tell a story you havent seen before. Or tell a story youve seen before, but in a way you havent seen it."

Feig said that Sony Pictures Entertainments co-chairman Amy Pascal had been pushing for comedy writers to produce a script for a new Ghostbusters film for some time, but he believed that most of these writers, like himself, did not want to ruin the canon of the original films. He also wanted to avoid a premise similar to Ghostbusters II, in which the Ghostbusters have to lose their success to begin a new story. This led to the idea of a reboot featuring a new set of characters, an idea that Pascal agreed with.


3.3. Production Casting

In January 2015, Feig confirmed his intention to use Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones in the lead roles. At that point, McCarthy had already committed to the film while Sony was in negotiations with the other three actresses. Emma Stone was approached to star but declined partly because she did not want to commit to a franchise. Cecily Strong, who appears in a supporting role, was also considered for a leading role. Aykroyd stated that he and his family were "delighted by this inheritance of the Ghostbusters torch by these most magnificent women in comedy."

Bill Murray cameos in the film. Prior to the film, Murrays reluctance to participate in another Ghostbusters project due to his relationship with Sony had hampered efforts for a third film to be made. In a 2019 interview, he stated that his decision to participate in the film was because of his friendships with McCarthy and McKinnon and felt it important to support their project.


3.4. Production Filming

Principal photography on the film began on June 17, 2015, in Boston. Feig and the set dressers Carolyn Lassek and Claudia Bonfe consulted with MIT physicists before shooting. On June 29, 2015, Feig tweeted the costumes of the four Ghostbusters. Filming also took place in Chinatown, Boston for a few days in early July 2015. On August 17, 2015, Hemsworth was spotted filming some scenes on the Ghostbusters bike. After finishing at the old Naval Air Station in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, filming began in Tribeca in New York City on September 12. On September 15, filming was taking place in Waltham, Massachusetts. Filming also took place outside of Columbia University in New York. Filming wrapped on September 19, 2015, in New York City. The subway scenes were filmed on a sound stage, as there is no Seward Street station in the New York City Subway. Reshoots happened in Los Angeles in May 2016, and included new scenes that served as a metafictional comment on the Internet controversy the film gathered.


3.5. Production Effects

Six companies dealt with the 1.700 visual effects shots, under the supervision of Pete Travers. The main studios were Sony Pictures Imageworks, with 300 shots that included the climactic Times Square sequence and all the proton beams, Moving Picture Company MPC, with 250 shots that centered around the final battle which included Rowans monster form, and Australian company Iloura, with 500 shots encompassing various ghosts. While the majority of the work involved computer-generated imagery, there was an attempt to use various practical effects akin to the original movies, with Travers explaining it was done "not to pay homage, but because it was the best way to achieve the effect."

Stand-ins for the ghosts were created on the set for the actors to interact with, including actresses suspended by wires, drones as references for flying ghosts, a Slimer puppet and giant balloons for a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man parade balloon. As the ghosts in the film glow, the doubles were covered in light-emitting diodes to provide lighting references for the effects crew.

The climactic Times Square sequence, which starts with the antagonist proclaiming "Welcome to the glory days of New York City", used special effects to transform it into a bygone mix of stores, buildings and billboards dating back through the decades. These included the Bond Clothing Store, neon signs for the defunct airlines Braniff International Airways ended in 1982 and BOAC ended in 1974, billboards advertising the release of the 1976 film Taxi Driver, the 1971 film Isle of the Snake People, and the 1962 to 1964 Broadway theatre production of Beyond the Fringe. The scene also included a combination of the Sony, Canadian Club, and Coca-Cola neon signs that lit up Times Square in different eras, marquees for the long departed Times Square movie theatres showing pornography films and the 1971 film Fists of Fury, and other chronological anachronisms.


4. Music


Ghostbusters Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack album released on July 15, 2016, by RCA Records. It includes singles by Elle King, G-Eazy, and 5 Seconds of Summer.

Track listing


Ghostbusters Original Motion Picture Score is the film score, composed by Theodore Shapiro. It was available for digital download on July 8, 2016, and released on CD on July 15, 2016, by Sony Classical Records.

Track listing

All music is composed by Theodore Shapiro.


5. Controversy

Ghostbusters received criticism from social media users following word of Feigs involvement and the all-female cast, which some felt was a "gimmick". On its first day of release, the first trailer for the film collected 12.000 "likes" and 13.800 "dislikes" from YouTube viewers which, according to David Griner of Ad Week made it "one of the most polarizing in recent memory". By May 2016, the trailer had become the most disliked film trailer on YouTube and the ninth-most-disliked YouTube video, with 280.000 likes to over one million dislikes. ScreenCrush described the reaction as a campaign "to downvote movie, not haters of women." Some saw the portrayal of Leslie Jones character, a "street-smart New Yorker", as a stereotype of African Americans. Jones responded to this criticism on Twitter writing, "Why cant a regular person be a Ghostbuster?" Elizabeth Flock, writing for PBS, said that the vote brigading targeted at the film may have been motivated by racism toward Jones.

Journalists from The Washington Post and The Atlantic stated that a majority of the criticism constituted misogynistic and anti-feminist comments in regard to the all-female cast. Wiig was "bummed out" that "there was so much controversy because we were women." Feig said he believed a group of fans had "real issues with women. But there’s also a huge group of people who are just concerned about the property, and I completely understand. I’m completely sympathetic to that." In May 2016, additional scenes were shot for the film which served as a meta-reference to the Internet controversy. In those scenes, the characters upload a video to YouTube and react to unpleasant comments left by viewers.

Filmmaker James Rolfe declared that he would not see the new film and disliked how it was based in a new universe with no continuity to the previous films. Brooks Barnes of The New York Times and Daniel Friedman of Polygon considered Rolfes views an example of "fan entitlement", criticizing his haste to judge the film without seeing it and his lack of concern for other remakes of films he admired, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Rolfe became the subject of personal attacks online for his position; according to commentators for The Washington Post, Salon, and Polygon, though Rolfe had not mentioned gender, many people considered his motivation misogynistic. Despite this, in Rolfes video, he had explicitly stated that he had no problem with the female cast, and that the problem for him was that the film was taking a beloved series of his and remaking it without any of the heart. Richard Roepers negative review of the film was also met with criticism on social media and from Salon, who accused him of male bias. Roeper responded: "How insulting would it be to give a film a pass because of good intentions and diversity in the casting? That’s not equal treatment; that’s condescension." Journalists from The Atlantic and NBC News saw the controversy as part of the culture war and gender divide engaged across social media. They, along with Feig, noted commonalities to the events and reactions of the Gamergate controversy in video games.

Following the release of the film, cast member Leslie Jones became the target of racist and sexist abuse on Twitter. A number of users, including Feig, showed support for Jones and criticized Twitters handling of the situation. Feig tweeted: "Fuck the haters. And haters, attack me all you want but when you attack and insult my cast, youve crossed the line. Grow up and leave my cast alone." On July 19, Twitter suspended the account of then Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos, who had criticized Jones, allegedly for abusive behavior over the previous 48 hours. Conversely, Jones and her character in the film were also accused of promoting negative stereotypes about black people.

While speaking at Vulture Festival LA in November 2017, Feig expressed regret that the social issues surrounding Ghostbusters negatively impacted its public perception and commercial performance, stating that "I think it kind of hampered us a little bit because the movie became so much of a cause. I think for some of our audience, they were like, What the fuck? We dont wanna go to a cause. We just wanna watch a fuckin movie"; however, he expressed satisfaction with his work on the film and defended it, explaining "It was a great regret in my life that the movie didnt do better, cause I really loved it. Its not a perfect movie. None of my movies are perfect. I liked what we were doing with it. It was only supposed to be there to entertain people".


6. Release

Ghostbusters premiered at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on July 9, 2016. It was theatrically released on July 11, 2016, in the United Kingdom and on July 15, 2016, in the United States. The film was not released in the Chinese market, with a Chinese executive reporting that China Film Group Corporation believed it was "not really that attractive to Chinese audiences. Most of the Chinese audience didnt see the first and second movies, so they dont think theres much market for it here."


6.1. Release Marketing

The first Ghostbusters trailer was released on March 3, 2016. It was viewed 24 million times in 24 hours on Facebook and YouTube, and more than 60 million times across all social media platforms in its first week.

Original Ghostbusters cast members Murray, Aykroyd, Hudson and Potts joined the new cast on the June 8, 2016, episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which was entirely dedicated to the new film.

Sony partnered with Snapchat to promote the film with "busting" and "sliming" features. The filter, which features the Ghostbusters logo, allows users to shoot at the character Slimer with their front-facing cameras and a virtual proton pack. In addition, 10-second video teaser ads ran within Snapchats Discover section. A novelization of the film, written by Nancy Holder, was published by Tor Books in 2016.


6.2. Release Title

The end credits use the title Ghostbusters: Answer the Call. Feig said this was added by the studio, who wanted to avoid confusion by having two films with the title Ghostbusters. He rejected the title Ghostbusters 2016, feeling it would date it. The studio chose Answer the Call ; according to Feig, "I just said, Don’t put it on the front of the movie. If you put it on the end, I don’t care."


6.3. Release Home media

Ghostbusters was released on DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and Ultra HD Blu-ray on October 11, 2016.


7.1. Reception Box office

Ghostbusters grossed $128.3 million in North America and $100.8 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $229.1 million, with a net production budget of $144 million. Due to the large amount spent on marketing, the studio stated that the film would need to gross at least $300 million to break even. Before the release, director Paul Feig stated, "A movie like this has to at least get to like $500 million worldwide, and that’s probably low."

The Hollywood Reporter estimated the films financial losses would be over $70 million. A representative of Sony found this loss estimate to be "way off," saying: "With multiple revenue streams The harsh truth is that it isnt", feeling that the film was "generally likeable but uneven." Richard Lawson, writing for Vanity Fair, said the film "spends so much time doing battle with its legacy that it forgets to be its own movie, putting a talented cast to waste and marking another disappointment in this dreadful summer movie season." James Berardinelli felt it was mediocre, and, like many recent comedies, "too long and not funny enough". Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film one out of four stars, criticizing its acting, script, and "cheesy" special effects. In his radio review, Roeper said that the film was one of the worst movies of the year, rating it a D−.


8.1. Future Sequel

After its opening weekend, Sonys president of worldwide distribution, Rory Bruer, told TheWrap that "while nothing has been officially announced, theres no doubt in will happen." He also said that Ghostbusters was expected to become an important Sony franchise. The principal cast and Feig had signed on for two sequels.

On August 10, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter expressed doubts about a sequel due to the films box office performance. Box office analyst Jeff Bock said, "I just cant fathom the creative talents behind it - Feig, McCarthy, Wiig, etc - slogging out another one when the reception to the first one was so mediocre."

In an October 2016 interview, Feig told Bustle that a sequel was not in the works, but could be possible if the film performed well on its home release. By November, Feig confirmed that a direct sequel would not be made due to the films mediocre box office performance.


8.2. Future Possible animated series and film

The same month, Reitman stated in an interview that other Ghostbusters projects were in development. Prior to Reitmans announcement, an animated series, Ghostbusters: Ecto Force, was stated to be targeting an early 2018 debut. Reitman further clarified plans for future animated films within the Ghostbusters franchise during the July 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, including having one set from the viewpoint of the ghosts rather than the Ghostbusters, as well as a work to potentially tie in to the 35th anniversary of the original film in 2019.


8.3. Future Comic book series

In December 2016, IDW Publishing announced that it would release a six-part limited series comic, Ghostbusters 101, featuring the original Ghostbusters teaming up with the 2016 team. The first issue was released in March 2017. A five-issue limited series, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, which continues the adventures of the 2016 team, began in October 2017.


8.4. Future Ghostbusters: Afterlife

In November 2018, Dan Aykroyd, on an appearance on AXS TVs The Big Interview with Dan Rather, announced that the script for Ghostbusters 3 was still being written, saying there is "a possibility of a reunion with the three remaining Ghostbusters".

On January 15, 2019, Ivan Reitmans son Jason Reitman was announced to be directing a new Ghostbusters film set in the same universe as the first two films, with Ivan serving as a producer and Gil Kenan co-writing the script alongside Jason. The film is projected for a July 10, 2020 release.