Ghostbusters is a supernatural comedy film released in 2016 as a reboot to the 1984 Ghostbusters movie. It is directed by Paul Feig and written by Katie Dippold and Feig. Unlike the original movie which featured an entirely male cast of Ghostbusters, the Ghostbusters in the 2016 version are entirely female.
Plot[edit | edit source]
|Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
Physics researchers Abby Yates and Erin Gilbert are co-authors of a book which posits the existence of paranormal phenomena such as ghosts. When the book proves unpopular, Gilbert distances herself and eventually becomes a physics professor at Columbia University, while Yates continues to study the paranormal at a technical college with eccentric engineer Dr. Jillian Holtzmann.
Years later, Gilbert learns Yates republished the book, threatening her bid for tenure at Columbia. Gilbert reunites with Yates and, in exchange for getting the book out of publication, agrees to assist Yates and Holtzmann on a paranormal investigation.
The group witness and document a malevolent ghost, renewing Gilbert's belief in the paranormal. However, a video of their investigation is posted online, and Gilbert is denied tenure. She accepts an offer to join Yates and Holtzmann's project, but when a new institute director learns its nature, he fires them.
To continue their research, they open an office above a Chinese restaurant and call themselves the "Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination." They start building equipment to study and capture ghosts. Dim-witted but handsome Kevin Beckman is tapped as a receptionist.
Meanwhile, MTA worker Patty Tolan witnesses a ghost in a subway line and contacts the Department. The group investigate, documenting the ghost and successfully testing Holtzmann's proton containment laser, but their proof is again dismissed.
Despite the setbacks, the group continues to develop their ghost containment technology and advertise their services as what pundits are calling "Ghostbusters". Tolan joins the team, providing a historic knowledge of New York City and a redesigned hearse dubbed "Ecto-1".
Unbeknownst to them, the ghosts are being summoned by devices built by Rowan North, an occultist and mad scientist attempting to bring about the Apocalypse. Rowan plants another device at a live music venue. The Ghostbusters are called in, and capture the ghost in front of hundreds of people.
When supernatural debunker Dr. Martin Heiss demands proof of the Ghostbusters' claims, Gilbert (who resents being labeled as insane or a liar) releases the ghost from containment, and it throws Heiss out a window before escaping. The Ghostbusters are brought to see Mayor Bradley. It turns out that the city and the Department of Homeland Security are well aware of New York's ghost problem.
While privately supporting the team's work, the mayor's office and DHS publicly denounce them as fraudsters. The Ghostbusters realize 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.
Rowan electrocutes himself rather than be captured, and Holtzmann deactivates the portal. Gilbert discovers a copy of her and Yates's book among Rowan's possessions. It turns out that he planned all along to become a ghost and turn the spirits he releases into an army under his command. Rowan returns as a powerful ghost, first possessing Yates and then Kevin.
After possessing the latter, he opens the portal and releases hundreds of ghosts. The police and DHS attempt to stop Rowan and are quickly subdued, but the Ghostbusters fight through the army of ghosts to reach the portal.
Rowan takes the form of the Ghostbusters' logo, grows to enormous height and starts destroying the city. The team devise a plan to use Ecto-1's nuclear reactor to cause a total protonic reversal, close the portal and return the ghosts to their own dimension. The plan succeeds, but Rowan drags Yates into the portal with him.
Gilbert leaps into the portal and rescues Yates & they both return to Manhattan with prematurely white hair. Afterwards, the mayor's office agrees to secretly fund the Ghostbusters' research while publicly continuing to denounce them as frauds.
With new funding, the Ghostbusters are able to move to a better facility; an old fire house. Despite the mayoral smear campaign, New York lights up with thanks and tributes to the Ghostbusters.
In a post-credits scene, Tolan listens to a recording of a ghost encounter and asks the others if they have heard of Zuul.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Kristen Wiig as Erin Gilbert
- Melissa McCarthy as Abby Yates
- Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzmann
- Leslie Jones as Patty Tolan
- Chris Hemsworth as Kevin, the Ghostbusters' receptionist
- Neil Casey as Rowan, the villain
- Andy García as the Mayor of New York City
- Cecily Strong
- Michael K. Williams as Hawkins
- Matt Walsh as Rourke
- Pat Kiernan
Production[edit | edit source]
Variety and The Hollywood Reporter reported in August 2014 that Paul Feig had been selected as director and that the reboot would feature an all-female cast.
Feig formally 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 haven't seen before. Or tell a story you've seen before, but in a way you haven't seen it."
Feig had said that Sony Entertainment's Amy Pascal had been pushing on 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 setup for the film similar to what was done for Ghostbusters II where they had to tarnish the Ghostbusters' fame to set the script in motion.
This led to the idea of a reboot that would "have all these fresh characters, see them developing their tech & see them discovering stuff for the first time and see New York dealing with them for the first time", an idea that Pascal agreed with to allow Feig's story to go forward.
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 "a franchise [was] a big commitment."
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."
Development[edit | edit source]
A third film in the Ghostbusters series had long been planned.
One script, Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent, written by Dan Aykroyd in 1999, had Bill Murray's character Peter Venkman leaving the Ghostbusters to spend time with Sigourney Weaver's 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. Other reported script ideas include one in which Venkman was transformed into a ghost.
Murray was reluctant to participate in a third Ghostbusters film. In a 2014 interview with Variety, he stated that after Ghostbusters II, Columbia had wanted to create a franchise, which made him uncomfortable as he felt the sequel had been lackluster. He was also critical of the new scripts.
Aykroyd stated that studio was aware that "without Murray there may be nothing there" for a sequel, and was considering a way to bring on a newer generation of Ghostbusters.
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.
The third film remained on the writing table for several years, during which "Ghostbusters: The Video Game" was developed by Terminal Reality and released in 2009. Aykroyd and Ramis, the game's lead writers, used the game to explore the Ghostbusters' history; all four original actors, including Murray, voiced their characters, along with other actors from the first two films. Aykroyd considered the game to be "essentially the third movie".
The game sold over a million units, prompting Columbia 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 co-written with Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, who had co-written 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.
New York reported that 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 script 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".
The script languished as they tried to resolve the disagreement, and 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/Stupnitsky script had been discarded and new writing staff were working on a script.
Murray's reticence to commit to the project resulted in the decision to reboot the franchise instead. In 2012, Reitman suggested the option of a remake of the original Ghostbusters, allowing them to introduce a new cast.
Reitman later stated he was working on a Ghostbusters reboot that would be filmed during 2013, with Etan Cohen, Aykroyd, and himself working on the script, confirmed by Akyroyd in an interview with Larry King in mid-2013.
Following Ramis's death in February 2014, Reitman decided to leave the director role in March 2014, wanting 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.
Filming[edit | edit source]
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, filming began in Tribeca in New York City on September 12. On September 15, filming was taking place in Waltham. Filming also took place outside of Columbia University in New York.
Filming wrapped on September 19, 2015, in New York City. 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.
Effects[edit | edit source]
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, 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."
For instance, there was an attempt to create stand-ins for the ghosts on the set for the actors to interact.
The solutions included actresses suspended by wires, drones as references for flying ghosts, a Slimer puppet, and giant balloons for a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man parade balloon. Given all spectres glow, the doubles were covered in light-emitting diodes to provide lighting references for the effects crew.
Release[edit | edit source]
"Ghostbusters: Answer the Call" 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 will not be released in the Chinese market with sources reporting that China Film Group Corporation believed it was "not really that attractive to Chinese audiences ... Most of the Chinese audience didn't see the first and second movies, so they don't think there's much market for it here."
Marketing[edit | edit source]
The first Ghostbusters trailer was released on March 3, 2016. It was viewed 24 million times in 24 hours on Facebook & YouTube and more than 60 million times across all social media platforms in its first week. The film (initially named Ghostbusters) was rebranded as "Ghostbusters: Answer the Call" in the third trailer.
The original cast (including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Annie 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 "Ghostbusters" movie with 'busting' and sliming features. The filter (which features the famed Ghostbusters logo) lets users attempt to shoot the character Slimer with their front-facing cameras and a virtual proton pack.
In addition, Ghostbusters run 10-second video teaser ads within Snapchat’s Discover section.
Box Office[edit | edit source]
In the United States and Canada, "Ghostbusters" opened Friday, July 15, across 3,963 theaters, earning $17.2 million on its first day, including $3.4 million it made from Thursday preview screenings. The film ended up earning $46 million in its opening weekend, in line with industry projections, finishing second at the box office behind The Secret Life of Pets ($50.8 million).
It scored the biggest opening weekend ever for director Feig and star Melissa McCarthy and was the biggest live-action comedy debut since Pitch Perfect 2 in May 2015.
Outside North America, "Ghostbusters: Answer the Call" earned $19.1 million in its opening weekend from a handful of markets on 3,900 screens. IMAX contributed $1 million from 105 IMAX screens. It had number one openings in the United Kingdom and Ireland ($6.1 million), Australia ($3.7 million) and Brazil ($2.2 million).
As of September 8, 2016, "Ghostbusters: Answer the Call" has grossed $126.7 million in North America and $98 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $224.7 million. Due to a production budget of $144 million, as well as a large amount spent on marketing, the studio has stated that the film will 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 film's 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 bottom line, even before co-financing, is not even remotely close to that number."
According to Variety, sources familiar with the film's financing estimate the total loss to be about $75 million, of which (due to co-financing with Village Roadshow), Sony would lose about $50 million.
Sony insiders have projected, along with co-financing, a total loss of about $25 million. Bloomberg News estimated the film lost 58.6 million dollars.
As of August 2016, sources such as Forbes and the Wall Street Journal began calling "Ghostbusters" a box office bomb.
Critical Reception[edit | edit source]
Ghostbusters received generally positive reviews from critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, "Ghostbusters" has an approval rating of 74% based on 377 reviews with an average rating of 6.49/10.
The site's critical consensus reads, "Ghostbusters does an impressive job of standing on its own as a freewheeling, marvelously cast supernatural comedy – even if it can't help but pale somewhat in comparison with the classic original."
On Metacritic, the film has a score of 60 out of 100, based on 52 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Manohla Dargis of The New York Times praised the film as "that rarest of big-studio offerings — a movie that is a lot of enjoyable, disposable fun."
Mike Ryan of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, writing: "When Ghostbusters focuses on the team and the characters (always Feig’s strength), it flourishes. It’s only when it gets bogged down in CGI ghosts that, sometimes, it starts to drag. But, this is 2016 and a summer action movie needs to keep moving."
J.R. Kinnard of PopMatters wrote: "There’s certainly fun to be had at the new Ghostbusters. Feig is a gifted filmmaker and his actors all possess impeccable comic timing. While there isn’t a cynical note in the entire film, it feels like a safe, flavorless recipe prepared from gourmet ingredients."
In The Guardian, Nigel M Smith awarded the film four out of five stars and wrote that: "The new Ghostbusters is good. Very good, in fact. The mean-spirited reception to the film before anyone had seen it does not seem to have put a dampener on the movie itself. Fun oozes from almost every frame; likewise the energy of a team excited to be revolutionising the blockbuster landscape."
Observer critic Mark Kermode awarded the film three out of five stars and wrote that "it would have been great to report that the finished film is good enough to shut the bigoted naysayers up once and for all ... The harsh truth is that it isn’t – at least, not quite. Although infinitely more crowd-pleasing than the poisonous trolls had hoped, the new Ghostbusters is at best a qualified success, an often entertaining, generally likable, but also uneven affair."
James Berardinelli called it "a mediocre horror/comedy that deserves neither high praise nor disparagement" and added, "The movie is too long and not funny enough but that puts it in the same category as many recent comedies."
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 video review of the film, Roeper called the film one of the worst of the year, and said the movie "lays there dead like a rotting corpse from start to finish"; he would later go on to call it "one of the worst movies [he'd] ever seen."
The Village Voice said the film "suffers from the anxiety of influence" of the original, but praised the actors.
Mara Reinstein of US Weekly gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, commending its actors but criticizing its "lazy script that takes forever to get going" and "uninspired" action sequences.
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."