The Ghostbusters will be back on the big screen next year. That is, if Sony Pictures’ covert operations go according to plan. It appears the studio has been quietly developing a Ghostbusters sequel, and they’re now ready to let the cat out of the bag. EW has the exclusive that Jason Reitman, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker and son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, has been set to co-write and direct a new Ghostbusters movie. The film will be a direct sequel to 1989’s Ghostbusters II (also directed by Ivan), but at this point it’s unclear which original cast members—if any—will return.
Since what we can probably refer to as Ghostbusters 3 operates in continuity with the first two films, it will be unconnected to Paul Feig’s female-led 2016 reboot. That film faced criticism from the word “go” as fans who had longed to see a Ghostbusters sequel with the original cast were unhappy that a quartet of female performers—Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, and Leslie Jones—were taking over the franchise. Unfortunately, the film got drowned out in the noise and failed to make a big enough splash at the box office, and Sony opted not to move forward with sequels. Personally, I still contend it’s an immensely rewatchable movie.
Reitman co-wrote the Ghostbusters 3 screenplay with Monster House co-writer Gil Kenan, and confirmed to EW that it will indeed take place in present day:
“This is the next chapter in the original franchise. It is not a reboot. What happened in the ‘80s happened in the ‘80s, and this is set in the present day.”
Reitman has fond memories of being on the set of the original film as a six-year-old watching his father work, and indeed he has strong ties to the franchise. Ivan Reitman will remain onboard as a producer, and he recalled being surprised when his son came to him with an idea for a new Ghostbusters movie:
“It will be a passing of the torch both inside and out,” says Ivan, adding that he’s touched his son wanted to join this part of the family business. “It was a decision he had to come to himself. He worked really hard to be independent and developed a wonderful career on his own. So I was quite surprised when he came to me with Gil and said, ‘I know I’ve been saying for 10 years I’m the last person who should make a Ghostbusters movie, but…I have this idea.’ Literally, I was crying by the end of it, it was so emotional and funny.”
Jason Reitman first made a name for himself with his 2005 feature directorial debut Thank You For Smoking, which he followed with the sensational Juno, a film that earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director. While his next two films, Up in the Air and Young Adult, were well received, he’s struggled to find another breakout hit in the ensuing years even though I’m personally an admirer of his underseen 2014 feature Men, Women & Children. Reitman released two films in 2018, the Charlize Theron-starrer Tully and the Hugh Jackman-fronted political drama The Front Runner, but Ghostbusters 3 will be by far his biggest project yet.
Sony has for decades been trying to revive the Ghostbusters franchise. Dan Aykroyd wrote a script for a third film in the 1990s, but the principal actors weren’t crazy about returning. In the 2010s, Ivan Reitman announced he’d be directing a new Ghostbusters movie, but Bill Murray remained uninterested in returning to star and Harold Ramis‘ passing in 2014 caused all to reconsider. That iteration of the project continued to languish in development hell until Feig came to Sony with the idea of rebooting the property with a female-led ensemble, which resulted in the 2016 film.
Speaking with EW, Jason Reitman went out of his way to praise the work that Feig and those actresses had done:
“I have so much respect for what Paul created with those brilliant actresses, and would love to see more stories from them. However, this new movie will follow the trajectory of the original film,”
As this Ghostbusters 3 has been developed rather quietly, apparently the project is in shape to hopefully start shooting this summer. Sony has staked out a Summer 2020 release date, so it sounds like we’ll have a new Ghostbusters movie in theaters in about a year and a half. This is all in addition to the animated Ghostbusters movie that is separately in development.
Talk about a surprising turn of events. What do you think folks? What story would make Ghostbusters 3 worthwhile? Sound off in the comments below.