“The time is right.”
These were the words spoken by legendary director/producer Ivan Reitman last night at the Ghostbusters 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray Premiere at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills. I had the privilege to attend the event, courtesy of Fangoria, Atari, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. There, I watched the original Ghostbusters film in Blu-ray on the big screen, played the soon-to-be-released videogame, and spoke with Mr. Reitman about all things Ghostbusters, as well as his most anticipated project, Ghostbusters III.
Let’s get right to it: the status of Ghostbusters III. According to Reitman, a general outline for the film has already been completed by its two writers, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg (who also wrote the upcoming Harold Ramis directed film, Year One). Dan Aykroyd has been saying in interviews recently that the film will be about “passing on the torch to a new generation of Ghostbusters.” Reitman said that while this is true, he stressed that it is merely one part of the story they’re trying to tell. The writers are expected to turn in their first completed draft in a month or so, and all five of the Ghostbusters “rights holders” will review and approve it.
What do I mean by all five? Ghostbusters is not owned solely by Sony/Columbia Pictures. They are just one part of what Ivan Reitman considers to be a sort of Ghostbusters “family.” Before anything can move forward on anything related to Ghostbusters, all five parties must submit their approval. This includes Sony/Columbia, Ivan Reitman, Dan Akryoyd, Harold Ramis, and Bill Murray. Reitman contributes the protection of the franchise (aka why there haven’t been dozens of Ghostbusters sequels) to this “family.” As such, Reitman stressed that “Ghostbusters III is never definite,” but it’s certainly looking pretty good now.
As for his involvement in the possible film’s production, Reitman said that he will “definitely be involved” throughout the entirety of the project, although it is still up in the air as to whether or not he will direct it. He “absolutely wants to work with Bill Murray again” in a directing capacity on Ghostbusters III or otherwise, and said that his current goal regarding the project is to make sure the script is as funny as possible before any physical production starts (although he has acknowledged in the past that many of the original film’s funniest moments were due to the cast’s unmatched ability to improvise on set).
Here’s the part that I find most interesting: this could be the first time, in the history of film, that a videogame’s development and release has been the instigator behind the revitalization of a major film franchise. In order to create Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the producers had to receive approval from all five rights holders (as discussed above). But their persistence and love for the franchise started a chain reaction that not only got all of the parties excited for a game, but also got them to seriously consider continuing the film franchise. Last night, Reitman said that the game (and the upcoming Blu-ray release) reawakened in him the joy he felt making the first movie, and Bill Murray has said that getting back into character to do voice work as Dr. Peter Venkman for the videogame made him believe that a third film could be funny and deserves a fresh look.
Ivan Reitman also spoke for a minute about his thoughts on Ghostbusters II¸ saying that although the film will never be considered as good as the original, it is still a great companion piece. He also said that, although it hasn’t been announced, he does expect a Blu-ray release of the sequel eventually, hopefully with lots of special features, as it was far better archived than the first film throughout its production. All of the previous releases of Ghostbusters II on DVD have contained little to no special features. Hopefully this will change if/when it’s released on Blu-ray.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game
If a third movie never happens, Ghostbusters fans shouldn’t be completely disappointed. Atari’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game is already considered to be the third film, as it continues the story of the first two movies, taking place a couple years after Ghostbusters II. It features the voices and likenesses of all the major actors from the films (except Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis) and has a script that was personally revised by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis.
I’ve spent an extensive amount of time with both the realistic PS3/Xbox 360/PC version, as well as the stylized Wii/PS2 version, and I can safely say that each version will provide gamers with one of the most (if not THE most) authentic gaming experiences based on a film franchise in videogame history. Ghostbusters: The Video Game is action packed, a little scary at times, and of course very, very funny. Fans of the franchise should absolutely check it out, as well as gamers who enjoy action/adventure titles.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game is available everywhere on June 16th.
Ghostbusters on Blu-ray
After watching Ghostbusters several times over the last couple months on regular DVD, I am convinced that on Blu-ray the film has never looked, or sounded, better. Granted, I did get to experience this upcoming release on a theater-sized screen with a great sound system. Still, the vast improvement in the picture and sound quality was readily apparent. I found this very surprising, as the film is twenty-five years old, and I’ve often said that there’s no point in re-buying an old film on Blu-ray if you already own it on DVD. However, I am now convinced that with the right amount of effort applied to the transfer, even older films can look and sound better in the Blu-ray format. Big props to Sony for putting in the effort to make this a great release.
The Blu-ray will contain the following special features:
All-New Exclusive Special Features
- Digitally Mastered Audio and Video
- Slimer Mode: Picture-in-Picture Graphical Viewing Experience with an examination of the spook-hunters’ firehouse headquarters, an in-depth exploration of the creatures in the Ghostbusters mythology, behind-the-scenes discussions of making the movie, new cast, crew and special effects artists interviews and much more!
- Featurette: Ecto-1: Resurrecting the Classic Car
- Ghostbusters Garage: Ecto-1 Gallery
Additional Special Features
- Filmmakers’ Commentary with Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis and Joe Medjuck
- Featurette: 1984 – The Making of Ghostbusters – Interviews with the cast and crew
- Featurette: Interviews with Cast and Crew
- Featurette: SFX Team – Includes Before and After Multi-Angle Explorations
- Scene Cemetery – 10 Deleted Scenes
- Audio: English, Spanish (Castilian), French (Parisian), Portuguese (Brazil)
- Subtitles: English, Spanish (Latin Am), French (Parisian), Portuguese (Brazil), Dutch, Arabic
- Storyboard Comparisons
- Closed Captioned
Ghostbusters on Blu-ray will be released the same day as the videogame, June 16th.
Playstation Home content on PS3
New Ghostbusters content was also recently released on Sony’s Playstation Home. Fans can now buy figurines, t-shirts, costumes and more for their virtual avatars. Aside from buying a full jumpsuit and proton pack for my own avatar, I personally am most excited about exploring the virtual replica of the three-story firehouse from the movie, which features a fireman’s pole, full-size Ecto-1 car, a flying Slimer ghost, and other features.
To help promote the Blu-ray release, videogame, and 25th Anniversary, Sony has created a sweepstakes in which you can win a trip to Comic-Con 2010. By visiting www.ghostbustersishiring.com, you can submit a Ghostbusters “Job Application” to enter the sweepstakes. You can also submit a personalized video for a chance to be featured on the Blu-ray’s BD Live content as well as the website. Also on the website, fans can receive a $5 “trainee discount” towards the purchase of Ghostbusters on Blu-Ray.