The trajectory of the Ghostbusters franchise post-Ghostbusters II has been a little nuts. Sony Pictures tried for a very long time to get a sequel off the ground, hiring a pair of writers from The Office to pen a script that would bring back the original characters and possibly introduce a new team of young Ghostbusters. They waited around to see if Bill Murray would change his mind about coming back, then when it was clear Murray was completely out, toyed with the idea of moving forward without him. Then the project just kind of languished in development hell for a while, until last year Sony finally landed on someone who had a viable idea for a new Ghostbusters movie: Paul Feig.
The Bridesmaids director didn’t want to do a sequel, he wanted to reboot the franchise with a group of very funny women leading the team instead. This finally got the project off the ground, and Ghostbusters is currently filming in and around Boston with a cast led by Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones.
But that’s not even close to the end of the story. As Feig was in pre-production on his reboot, which made a bunch of “fans” angry because it stars women instead of men, Ivan Reitman—who directed the first two Ghostbusters films—announced that he was working on a second Ghostbusters movie in addition to Feig’s that would be written by Drew Pearce and produced by the Russo Brothers. This film was initially reported as a “male-centric” Ghostbusters to hopefully be led by Chris Pratt and Channing Tatum, though subsequent reporting revealed it would be a mixed team in an interconnected Ghostbusters universe that includes Feig’s characters.
Yesterday Pearce revealed that he completed work on a “bible” for the proposed Pratt/Tatum movie, but today Reitman released a statement seemingly denying its very existence:
“There has been a lot of excitement recently about what is happening with the Ghostbusters franchise. As the producer of the new Ghostbusters film, I feel the need to clarify. There is only one new Ghostbusters movie and that is the Paul Feig directed version coming next July, presently filming and going fantastically. The rest is just noise.”
Okay then. Reitman no doubt jumped the gun when he started talking up this other Ghostbusters movie before Feig’s film had even begun filming, making the actual Ghostbusters reboot feel like a prelude to something else. It’s a big deal that Feig and Sony are rebooting a beloved and insanely popular franchise with a cast led by women (not-so-fun fact: ladies rarely get to lead blockbuster franchises), and if I were Feig, I wouldn’t be thrilled about all this talk of future films either. So today’s statement from Reitman appears to be a bit of damage control intended to get everyone’s attention back on the Ghostbusters movie that’s actually hitting theaters next summer.
Pearce made clear yesterday that his work on this other Ghostbusters film was only preliminary work for a project that Sony might want to do at some point, so Reitman’s kind of right in saying there’s only one new Ghostbusters movie. But saying talk of this other film—whose very existence he himself revealed—is “just noise” is a bit of a stretch.