Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary Steelbook (with Fan Commentary) Coming June 11th


Entertainment Weekly exclusively revealed this morning that a new Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary edition steelbook is on the way this June… and there’s a familiar name amid the special features that will be on the disc! Indeed, I was fortunate enough to be asked along with my Ghostbusters Interdimensional Crossrip co-host Chris Stewart to join Eric Reich, Sean Bishop, and Ashley Victoria Robinson on a fan commentary track to play under the first movie!

We really did our best to focus on fun trivia facts both among the production and the lore of the series, point out tiny details in the corners of frames that we’ve always admired, and took advantage of having Ghost Corps’ Eric Reich with us to confirm or debunk some long-standing Ghostbusters urban legends behind the production. It’s a fun track and we hope that you all will enjoy it!

Here’s the rest of the details on the release, a visit to EW will give you a glimpse at a never before seen distributor pitch reel featuring Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd in costume talking to theater owners!


6 Rare & Newly Unearthed Deleted Scenes, including the long-requested Fort Detmerring scenes!

Raw takes for the Central Park bums sequence

1984 ShoWest Exhibitor Reel, featuring Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd pitching an early reel of footage to theatrical exhibitors.

Full Ghostbusters TV Commercial from the film

Ghostbusters TV Commercial Outtakes

“A Moment With the Stars” – original press kit featurette

Original Domestic Teaser Trailer

Original Stereo Audio for the Feature (Blu-ray only)

Fan Commentary featuring Troy Benjamin and Chris Stewart (Interdimensional Crossrippodcast),Ashley Victoria Robinson (Geek History Lesson podcast) and Sean Bishop (Ghostbusters prop replica expert), moderated by Ghost Corps’ Eric Reich


Commentary featuring Director Ivan Reitman, Star/Co-Writer Dan Aykroyd and Executive Producer Joe Medjuck

“The Oprah Winfrey Show: Cast of Ghostbusters II” – June 1989

Full Ghostbusters II Theatrical EPK

Rare Unfinished Teaser Trailer – featuring the full commercial from the film!

Original Stereo Audio for the Feature (Blu-ray only)

Ghostbusters Day 2018 - All the News Fit to Print


It's a flurry of Ghostbusters news out there today, as it should be for the 34th Anniversary celebration. Luckily, Ghost Corps was kind enough to send along a press release that's a great summary of all the goings on today.

Here's the full release:


CULVER CITY, Calif., June 8, 2018 – Today is Ghostbusters Day – the annual celebration of the release of the classic comedy and the wave across popular culture that has resonated since its original release on June 8, 1984.  In celebration, Sony Pictures and Ghost Corps are announcing two years of special events, concerts, licensing collaborations, and the first-ever Ghostbusters Fan Fest presented by Wizard World, to take place on June 8-9, 2019, the 35th anniversary of the film.

Ivan Reitman, director/producer of the 1984 film Ghostbusters and principal of Ghost Corps, said, “It’s immensely gratifying to see the way the fans have embraced our movie over the past 34 years, in a way we could never have imagined in 1984.  The credit goes to the fans – collected in over 1,000 fan groups globally – who have kept the flame burning for decades.  I’m excited to see you all at Ghostbusters Fan Fest one year from today!”

Jeffrey Godsick, Executive Vice President, Brand Strategy and Global Partnerships for Sony Pictures, added, “Ghostbusters has not only endured, but has taken on a life of its own and become its own world – from references in ‘Stranger Things’ to the TMNT/Ghostbusters comic-book mashup to fantastic memorabilia, Ghostbusters continues to penetrate pop culture. That’s what these next two years are all about – a celebration of Ghostbusters and the fandom.  It’s an incredible lineup of events.”

For all the details on the celebration, fans can visit, which relaunches today with all-new design and content from the entire universe of Ghostbusters, including a brand-new Ghostbusters 35th anniversary logo, which will represent the film throughout the 35th anniversary celebration.

Among the treats launching today on the website is the original four-minutes of test footage for the animated series “The Real Ghostbusters,” now restored and in high definition by Ghostbusters superfan Robert Barbieri.  Fans can register for e-mail updates at the site and follow @ghostbusters on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media services to keep up to date on Ghostbusters events, news, charity offers, and more.

Fans can also get involved through a collaboration between the studio, Ghost Corps and Omaze to benefit the For the Win Project. Fans are encouraged to make a $10 donation, and can enter for the chance to win a Grand Prize Experience, which includes lunch for the winner and a guest with Dan Aykroyd, a VIP visit to Sony Pictures, including Ghostbusters HQ offices, a private guided tour of the Sony Pictures museum (which includes Ghostbusters props), photo opportunities in the Ecto-1, and an original Ghostbusters poster created especially for the winner.  Flights and hotels will be included.  Other prize incentives include tickets to the Ghostbusters Fan Fest event and tickets to Ghostbusters Live. Visit to enter for your chance to win. No Purchase Necessary. Void where prohibited. Winners must not be residents of Belgium, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Italy, North Korea, Singapore, Sudan, Syria or Thailand. In certain countries, local rules and laws may restrict or prohibit the award of certain prizes or impose additional restrictions on participation. Entry is subject to all local laws. You must be at least 13 years old to win. Winners under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian as their Guest.   Ends August 8, 2018 at 11:59pm PST.  Go to for Official Rules.  Sponsor: Omaze, Inc.

As another way of celebrating Ghostbusters Day, many Ghostbusters licensees and promotional partners will be sliming their social profiles and premiering exciting new products and special offers.  LEGO is debuting two brand-new LEGO Ghostbusters BrickHeadz figures of Peter Venkman (covered in slime) and Slimer. International Game Technology (IGT) announces the revolutionary new Ghostbusters 4D Video Slots game, coming soon to a casino near you.  Immersive, True 4D™ technology delivers glasses-free 3D graphics, and gives players the power to feel energy beams created with hand gestures to capture popular ghosts from the original 1984 film.  For more information, visit

Wizard World is celebrating Ghostbusters Day at its annual Wizard World Comic Con stop in Columbus, Ohio this weekend, with free single-day admission for fans dressed as Ghostbusters, and a unique program of events.  Over the next year, Wizard World will present a touring experience at Wizard World Comic Con events throughout the country featuring a pop-up shop with exclusive Ghostbusters merchandise.  Next year, following the Ghostbusters Fan Fest Event, Wizard World will continue to tour the additional elements debuted for the 35th anniversary celebration.

Later this year, fans will be able to play the Ghostbusters World augmented reality game.  A collaboration between Sony Pictures Consumer Products, Ghost Corps, publisher FourThirtyThree Inc. (4:33) and developer Next Age, the game enables players to battle and capture hundreds of ghosts from all dimensions of the franchise, including the films, TV shows, comic books, theme parks, and video games. It features the latest in AR and other mobile technologies and differentiates itself with skill-based gameplay.  Fans visiting San Diego in July will be able to experience the game’s first public demo build and booth at The Experience at Comic-Con at Petco Park.

Beginning this fall, musical Ghostbusters fans can attend Ghostbusters Live, produced by Schirmer Theatrical – special screenings of the 1984 classic with live accompaniment by symphony orchestras around the world, conducted by Peter Bernstein, the film’s original orchestrator and son of iconic composer Elmer Bernstein, who wrote the film score.  Today, the studio announced that the Ghostbusters Live will be staged in such cities as Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, London, and Dublin, and many, many more to be announced. Fans can find links to a complete schedule at

At, fans can register for more information for the Ghostbusters Fan Fest Event, which will take place one year from today. At the event, fans will meet for two days at Ghost Corps headquarters on the Sony Pictures Studio lot in Culver City, California.  There, for the first time ever, the studio will join forces with Wizard World to bring fans an unforgettable experience.  For the 35th anniversary, fans will participate in exclusive panels, meet the Ghostbusters creators, talent and crew and experience Ghostbusters augmented reality and virtual reality games.

Get Ready for the Ultimate Ghostbusters Fan Fest in 2019!


Getting a jump on Ghostbusters Day 2018 announcements and celebrations, Wizard World and Ghost Corps announced today their plans for next year. June 8th and 9th, 2019 they're once again opening the doors to the Sony Pictures lot for a Ghostbusters convention in celebration of the original film's 35th anniversary, and Ghostbusters II's 30th anniversary. More information including how to get tickets and programming will surely be coming soon, but in the meantime here is a full press release with all we know so far.

Wizard World Teams With Sony Pictures and Ghost Corps on Ghostbusters Fan Fest Presented by Wizard World, June 8-9, 2019, Celebrating Iconic Film's 35th Anniversary

Year-long Countdown Begins Today At Wizard World Comic Con Columbus With Free Single- Day Admission, 'Ghostbusters'-Themed Programs This Weekend; Fan Fest To Be Held On Sony Pictures Studio Lot Featuring 'Ghostbusters' Creators, Talent and Crew; Event Continues IP Collaboration With Sony

CULVER CITY, California, June 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- In anticipation of Ghostbusters Day tomorrow, the anniversary of the classic comedy which released 34 years ago on June 8, 1984, Wizard World, Sony Pictures and Ghost Corps have teamed up to announce an extraordinary live event, the Ghostbusters Fan Fest presented by Wizard World, to be held June 8-9, 2019 at Ghost Corps headquarters on the famed Sony Pictures Studio Lot in Culver City, Calif. Wizard World (OTCBB: WIZD), which produces the largest touring pop culture convention series, will produce the Ghostbusters Fan Fest.

Ghostbusters Fan Fest presented by Wizard World will be the ultimate celebration of the film, which starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, and Ernie Hudson and was directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. For the 35th anniversary, fans will participate in exclusive panels, meet the Ghostbusters creators, talent and crew and experience Ghostbusters augmented reality and virtual reality games.

The celebration is officially ON at Wizard World Comic Con Columbus this weekend, with any fan cosplaying in Ghostbusters attire receiving a single-day admission to the event, by visiting the Special Guest Registration booth and showing off his/her Ghostbusters attire. Attendees can also take part in themed events such as a "Slimer" demonstration, trivia and more at Wizard World's eighth annual trip to Columbus.

"Wizard World is proud to team with Sony Pictures and Ghost Corps to celebrate the anniversary of a film which has been the source of enjoyment for so many of our fans over the years," said John D. Maatta, Wizard World CEO. "We are honored that these keepers of the Ghostbusters legacy have entrusted us with producing the high-quality events that we are known for, and are pleased to continue our IP collaboration with Sony Pictures in such a significant way. Sony Pictures continues to be creative and innovative in all of our dealing with them."

"Ghostbusters continues to have a strong fanbase across the world and we are pleased to celebrate the 35th anniversary with a collaboration with Wizard World," added Jeffrey Godsick, Executive Vice President, Brand Strategy and Global Partnerships for Sony Pictures. "We know they will create great experiences at all of their conventions, and they are pulling out all the stops in creating the ultimate fan experience for the Ghostbusters Fan Fest next year."

Over the next year, Wizard World will present a touring experience at Wizard World Comic Con events throughout the country featuring a pop-up shop with exclusive Ghostbusters merchandise. Next year, following the Ghostbusters Fan Fest Event, Wizard World will continue to tour the additional elements debuted for the 35th anniversary celebration. Details will be linked at

Fans can learn more about the Ghostbusters Fan Fest presented by Wizard World starting tomorrow at

In Stores and Online Now: Ghostbusters Ectomobile Owner's Workshop Manual

Now available wherever fine books are sold, the Ghostbusters: Ectomobile - Owner's Workshop Manual! This book goes far beyond just telling you tire pressure and oil change schedule. Learn how to properly operate a standard-issue Ghost Trap. Be kind to your fellow co-workers and finish the Containment Unit procedures to the final step. Learn how and why a Proton Pack uses ions to exhausted and ensnare the supernatural. All that plus do's and don'ts for uniforms and a whole lot more! No Ghostbuster should ever leave home without this handy reference guide - available for purchase on Amazon, at your local Barnes & Noble, the famous Ray's Occult in Manhattan, or wherever fine purveyors of supernatural manuscripts are sold!

Get Ready for GHOSTBUSTERS DAY on June 8th!

This is it, this is definitely it!

In celebration of the anniversary of the original Ghostbusters' release in 1984 as well as to help promote the upcoming film in July, there's a huge day planned around this coming June 8th and it's going to be a doozy.

In addition to the live Fathom Events screenings where you can see the original film back up on the big screen and get a special sneak peek of the new film, the original cast of Ghostbusters: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts will join the new cast Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kristen Wiig on the Jimmy Kimmell Live show together for the first time.

Here's the full press release from the good folks at Sony with all of the day's events mapped out, it's going to be a good one!

In celebration of GHOSTBUSTERS:
The Original Cast Reunites and Joins the New Cast on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” as
Moviegoers Celebrate the Franchise with Screenings of the Original Film, a Sneak Peek at the New Film, Fun Events, a Contest, and More
Elle King’s “Good Girls” Available at Digital Music Providers Today
CULVER CITY, Calif., June 3, 2016 – In anticipation of the release of Ghostbusters, which brings the legendary franchise back to theaters with a new team fighting the paranormal on July 15, Sony Pictures and moviegoers across the country will celebrate the classic franchise with Ghostbusters Day on Wednesday, June 8 – the anniversary of the release date of the original 1984 film.
On Ghostbusters Day, the cast of the original classic Ghostbusters – including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts – will reunite and join the new Ghostbusters – Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones – as they honor the franchise that evening with an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” airs weeknights at 11:35pm Eastern and Pacific / 10:35pm Central on ABC.
Fans will also be able to join in the celebration by seeing a sneak peek of the new film as part of the Fathom Events presentation of the original classic in more than 800 cinemas nationwide on June 8, with encore showings on Sunday, June 12.  In addition, in Brooklyn, BBQ Films will present the world’s only official immersive screening of the classic Ghostbusters – a transportive experience built around the classic movie called GHOSTBUSTERS HQ. 
Participating theaters will also join in the fun with sweepstakes. Cinemark is giving fans the chance to score one of ten signed posters for the new film through a social media giveaway and as a collectible reward in their all-new app-based loyalty program, Cinemark Connections.  And when Regal Cinemas Crown Club Members buy a ticket to the classic movie, they will be entered for the chance to win a flyaway to the premiere of the new Ghostbusters film in Los Angeles, plus a $2500 gift card for travel and accommodations.
Guests of BBQ Films to GHOSTBUSTERS HQ in Brooklyn on the 8th will not only get a 360-degree interactive experience, but also an exclusive first chance to play the new Ghostbusters console game and the mobile game, Ghostbusters: Slime City, both from Activision. Fans will have the chance to record their unique spectral encounters using special GIPHY Cam filters, and enjoy Hi-C Ecto Cooler beverages at the bar. New shows have been added, including a family show. More information is available at
Fans will be able to check out the Ghostbusters’ ride, the Ecto-1, with national and local appearances.
The studio will also launch the Ghostbusters Twitter Mission Sweepstakes on Ghostbusters Day.  The sweepstakes will award cool prizes, like custom Ghostbusters uniforms, every week leading up to the release of the film to users who retweet contest messages.  Twitter users can join in the fun by following @Ghostbusters. 
Fans can also follow the movie at @Ghostbusters on their favorite social networks, as the day will be documented via Facebook Live, Periscope, Snapchat Live Stories, and other social coverage.
In addition, moviegoers can now hear Elle King’s “Good Girls,” from the film’s original soundtrack, which is available now at all digital providers. “Good Girls” was written by Elle King and Dave Bassett and produced by Bassett. The soundtrack will be available on July 15th.
Ghostbusters makes its long-awaited return, rebooted with a cast of hilarious new characters. Thirty years after the beloved original franchise took the world by storm, director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today – Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. This summer, they’re here to save the world! The film is produced by Ivan Reitman and Amy Pascal, and written by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, based on the 1984 film “Ghostbusters,” an Ivan Reitman film, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis.




Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II 4K UHD Review

Boy, this is strange. After years in the industry of creating special features for DVD and Blu-rays, I've never really done a review for one. But now that I'm no longer working in that field, and given that the folks in Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's publicity department were kind enough to send me review copies, here goes... my very first disc review of the Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II Ultra-HD 4K Blu-ray releases.


Being only the second UHD disc that I've been able to take a look at (the other being the recent Deadpool release), it's tough to have a comparison for these older films in a 4K presentation. But as a fan of Ghostbusters, I loved every frame of what has been done here. In terms of the first film, the picture quality is very comparable to the "Mastered in 4K" release - I'd have to put freeze-frames side by side to get a good idea just where the differences occur in the jump in resolution. But this master is leaps and bounds better than the original pre-remastering Ghostbusters Blu-ray release... which was better than the previous DVD release, which had improved on the original DVD release. That's the good news, with ever release the picture quality continues to shine incrementally. Colors are deep and rich. Sharpness is good without any lines buzzing. I wish I had the ability to take screencaptures from the UHD discs because the picture presentation is absolutely astounding. Grain has been left in place to continue to give the feature presentation a filmic quality (and to mimic what audiences would have seen in theaters with a print projection) but the sharpness and the detail is wonderful. Sure, compared to the Deadpool UHD, there's a noticeable jump in the detail and fidelity of the image between the two, but make no mistake, this is the best that either film has looked in years let alone on a home video release. But chances are, if you purchased either the "Mastered in 4K" Blu-ray a year or two ago or that two-pack Digibook set and you're happy with the picture quality, you might not notice that large of a jump between the two releases.


This is where the new release for both films really shines. My Dolby Atmos enabled system loved the brand-new mixes done for both of these films, even if they are a little scaled back when compared to the Deadpool UHD or the most recent Gravity Atmos release. Needless to say, the new mix is a massive upgrade from the stereo mix days, the surrounds get a pretty good workout with a lot of flybys and sound effects enveloping you on both films. It's still not as bombastic of a mix as a modern-era Atmos mix might provide, but for a film that's over 30 years old in the case of the original, it's still pretty darn impressive.


First off... hey! They listened and swapped Slimers so that the correct version of each is on their respective covers (initial versions of the box art solicited had Ghostbusters II Slimer on the original film's cover and vice-versa). It looks like they also nudged the (odd-choice) Fort Detmerring photo on the original films' cover so that the logo isn't chopping off poor Ernie Hudson's head. That said, man those covers are still ugly.

But why judge a book by its cover? Let's dive into what's contained inside...

The UHD discs lack any special features with the exception of an audio commentary, most likely to assure that the highest bit-rate is dedicated to the picture and audio presentation on these discs. But the standard 1080p Blu-ray discs include the same special features that were included on the Digibook two-pack set released in 2014. But hey, this is my first venture into a Blu-ray review, let's leave no stone left unturned and dive into what's here (and what's not). 

Included on the Blu-ray are:

"Who You Gonna Call: A Ghostbusters Retrospective" - called a "roundtable" discussion (though not at a table and is more of a Geoff Boucher moderated Q&A)

"Time is But a Window: Ghostbusters II and Beyond" - the second part of the Geoff Boucher "roundtable" that gives a little bit of a discussion on the production and response of the second film and talks about prospects for a third film at a time when Paul Feig's current July release was unannounced.

Deleted Scenes - 10 scenes from the original film (with several missing that were on the Criterion disc and for some reason still have never made it onto a SPHE release) and 7 very welcome deleted scenes from the second film are presented here... although there are several scenes from the second movie that aren't represented here for one reason or another including a cameo from Eugene Levy we've seen in production photography but never on celluloid. Deleted scenes, especially with actors cut from the film in entirety are always a tricky thing, but those are the types of things that fans would love to see. Maybe some day. Again, good fodder for another box set down the line.

Alternate TV Takes - These are a lot of fun, especially for those of us that grew up without a proper VHS release of the film and instead watched the ABC Sunday Night at the Movies recording we had over and over. A fun inclusion.

Audio Commentary by Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis and Joe Medjuk (on the first film). This is the same commentary from the 90s, it's fun and light-hearted but a little dated at this point. Dan Aykroyd had said he recorded new commentaries for both films at the time of the original Blu-ray release, neither of which strangely seem to have seen the light of day. Maybe an upcoming box set with the 2016 film?

Slimer Mode - the "BonusView" track over the film is fun, although a bit repetitive of materials elsewhere.

"Ecto-1: Resurrecting the Classic Car" - great 15 minute featurette from when the car was restored for the 25th anniversary. Sadly since that time, the Ecto-1A from the second film has been rotting and still sits in shambles.

Featurettes: Original 1984 featurette (cut from the EPK material, which is fantastic), cast and crew featurette, SFX Team featurette - these are all great though aren't given much time to breathe. There's also a multi-angle feature that is replicated from the original DVD release (and the Criterion Laserdisc before it) where you can see VFX/SFX shots before and after with the touch of a button.

Music Videos: Both the Ray Parker Jr. music video and the Bobby Brown "On Our Own" music video are represented on both discs. Glad to have them. Though there's several other music videos that could and should be included on a future release. The Bus Boys' "Cleanin' Up the Town", Mick Smiley's "Magic", Run DMC's "Ghostbusters" remix.

Trailers - yes. That same weird trailer is on the original film that was on the original Blu-ray release. Must have been a legal issue or something but it's... weird. Maybe they wanted to take advantage of the HD picture by overcutting footage from the film into the trailer with the audio bed, maybe there was a legal reason, but it's strange to hear cut lines of dialogue under the wrong shots (Venkman's cut line about being the "Chairman of the Largest Paranormal Removal Company" under the shot of the original Ghostbusters banner being hung outside the firehouse being the most egregious. Why not include the ORIGINAL original trailer? It's such a strange choice. I can understand not including the trailer on the Criterion disc that includes the unused Ghostbusters theme because of music legality issues, but this one is a head-scratcher to me still.

NOT included on the Blu-ray are: several of the deleted scenes seen on previous releases including the Criterion laserdisc release. There's a whole lot of key behind the scenes elements that have never been explored on a home video release (which hopefully the upcoming "Cleanin' Up the Town" documentary will take care of) but for reference, I did a full breakdown of what would be the ideal set of special features in an old Private Sector column that you can see here courtesy of Proton Charging.


Do you have a 4K TV and the latest Dolby Atmos home theater setup and are you a die-hard Ghostbusters fan? Then this release is for you. But if you purchased the lovely Digibook set no more than a year ago, and you don't have the latest tech setup then there's really no need for you to purchase this set. Much like the "Superbit" releases of old in the DVD days, this is really for the video and audio aficionados, and even then because it's an older movie many people won't be using it as reference for their home theater demos most likely. If you've already got the excellent Digibook Blu-ray set, you might want to hold out to see if another box set of the films is released down the line with more special features. That definitive "Alien Anthology" archival version of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II in box set is still elusive. Maybe some day, it'll come to pass.

Original Ghostbusters Films Coming to UHD! But What Does That Mean?

UPDATE (6:04pm): A couple corrections inset c/o Tyler Foster of DVDTalk

Hey, did you hear?

Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II are coming to the new UHD Blu-ray format on June 7th!

And immediately, I know the overwhelming majority of people who heard this news are saying, "Wait, what does that mean exactly?" That press release sure says a lot of fancy things, but I'm not entirely sure how this is different from the version that I just bought of the movie that was "Mastered in 4K?"

So I'll do my best to attempt to explain:

UHD? Wha? How is that different from regular Blu-ray?

If you have an Ultra-HD/4K television set as well as one of the new UHD Blu-ray players, this release is for you. If you have an "older" television set... a 1080p or 2K resolution set and/or your primary Blu-ray player wasn't purchased in the last year, or is an Xbox One or Playstation 4, then this release is NOT for you. Think of it this way, UHD is another run from the studios at trying to entice people back into the physical media format much like 3D was. If you didn't have a 3D compatible TV and Blu-ray player, you weren't able to play back those discs. This is the same issue, if you don't have UHD compatible devices, you won't be able to play these discs back. You'll need a UHD specific player to playback, and it needs to detect a 4K TV on the other end of that HDMI cable. Otherwise, no bueno. Here's a good resource as to what 4K is compared to "old school" high definition c/o Trusted Reviews.


Take a look at your Blu-ray player. Does it have this logo on it? Yes? Do you have a 4K TV? Then you're good. Do you not know what either of those mean? You're probably not ready for these quite yet. It's okay, a lot of folks aren't quite ready for this yet either.

But wait, I quite literally just bought a Blu-ray last year that said it was "Mastered in 4K" - why would I need this on top of having to buy a new TV and Blu-ray player?

That's a great question. Essentially what it boils down to is that disc you bought last year, the one with the blue cover to the left, was "Mastered in 4K and Optimized for 4K Sets" but was still only 1080p presented on a lower capacity Blu-ray. Meaning you aren't getting the same dynamic range and resolution that you would be getting on the new UHD. Here's where it gets really confusing for the casual consumer. The release from last year was created from 4K source elements that created the most recent Blu-ray release from a previously existing scan of the negative. Think of it this way, when Ghostbusters first came out on Blu-ray, they created a high-resolution source of the movie, then compressed it down for the Blu-ray format. Then they double-dipped and released this "Optimized" version with a new color pass and range that was specific to 4K TVs, but still only displaying a 1920x1080 resolution. If you remember, this particular disc didn't include any special features, so that they didn't have to compress the movie itself as much and a higher bit rate was allowed for playback through your regular Blu-ray player.

Troy, you're confusing me more - seriously - how is this different?

Simply, the UHD 4K release announced today takes the same scan done for the "Mastered for 4K" release and presents it at its full potential. Thanks to Tyler Foster at DVDTalk, the 35mm scans already occurred as far back as 2013 (per this Hollywood Reporter article), so the press release is a little misleading. Per their press release: "As two of the first Sony 4K Ultra HD disc releases, both films were fully restored from the 35mm original camera negatives, thereby utilizing in 4K the full resolution, detail and color depth inherent in the film. 4K Ultra HD is the perfect way to finally experience these comprehensive restorations at full 4K resolution in the home – it features four times the resolution of high definition, along with High Dynamic Range (HDR), which produces brilliant highlights, vibrant colors and greater contrast on compatible displays. Additionally, both films have been remixed specifically for the home theater environment with Dolby Atmos® audio, delivering captivating sound that places and moves audio anywhere in the room, including overhead."


It's a full resolution 4K picture and new mix of the movie so it'll look and sound different than the one you have now.

Why would they have done this?

This is just me speculating so take this with a grain of salt but I'm guessing that, in addition to wanting you to buy one last disc format before we go completely "tapeless" this is also an effort to restore the movie so that Sony has masters that can be screened in theaters using the latest digital projection and Dolby Atmos sound. Think of all the midnight screenings and Halloween screenings where you've seen a really lousy film print that's scratched and dirty and all-around ugly looking. My guess is that this is an attempt to preserve the film in its best possible format knowing that the evergreen property is about to receive a resurgence with the new 2016 film.

Say, how can I learn more?

Here's the full press release, enjoy!

CULVER CITY, Calif. (April, 4 2016) -- Fans will now be able to experience particle beams and ectoplasm like never before when Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II debut June 7 on next generation 4K Ultra HD disc with High Dynamic Range (HDR) from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE). Perfect for Father’s Day gifting, each 4K Ultra HD release will also include the recent anniversary Blu-rays, bursting with all the bonus materials, including previously released legacy content, commentary and the interactive Slimer Mode.
As two of the first Sony 4K Ultra HD disc releases, both films were fully restored from the 35mm original camera negatives, thereby utilizing in 4K the full resolution, detail and color depth inherent in the film. 4K Ultra HD is the perfect way to finally experience these comprehensive restorations at full 4K resolution in the home – it features four times the resolution of high definition, along with High Dynamic Range (HDR), which produces brilliant highlights, vibrant colors and greater contrast on compatible displays. Additionally, both films have been remixed specifically for the home theater environment with Dolby Atmos® audio, delivering captivating sound that places and moves audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

These new 4K Ultra HD releases precede the July 15 U.S. premiere of Sony Pictures’ highly anticipated new motion picture, Ghostbusters, from director Paul Feig, starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth.
Also, as part of the excitement surrounding the arrival of the new film, SPHE will release over 50 episodes of the iconic 1980s animated series, The Real Ghostbusters, on DVD July 7 and on Digital, from Ivan Reitman, DiC and Sony Pictures Television.
Both Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II are directed and produced by Ivan Reitman (Meatballs, Stripes), and written by Dan Aykroyd (My Girl) and Harold Ramis (Knocked Up). Bill Murray (St. Vincent), Dan Aykroyd (Blues Brothers), and Sigourney Weaver (Aliens) star, along with Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day) and Rick Moranis (Honey I Shrunk the Kids). Ernie Hudson (TV’s “Oz”) and Annie Potts (TV’s “Designing Women”) also star. Ghostbusters is ranked No. 28 on the AFI’s List of America’s Funniest Movies.

Ghostbusters: University parapsychologists Dr. Peter Venkman (Murray), Dr. Raymond Stanz (Aykroyd) and Dr. Egon Spengler (Ramis) lose a research grant when their experiment methodology is proven to be bogus. The team decides to go into business for themselves and open ‘Ghostbusters,’ a ghost removal service. After struggling to get on their feet, they are summoned to investigate the strange happenings in Dana Barrett’s (Weaver) Central Park West apartment. What they discover is that all Manhattan is being besieged by ghosts and other-worldly demons through a portal in her building.
Ghostbusters II: Supernatural superstars Peter Venkman (Murray), Dr. Raymond Stanz (Aykroyd) and Dr. Egon Spengler (Ramis) spring back into action when the infant son of Dana Barrett (Weaver) becomes the target of a powerful demonic force. Reunited with their industrious secretary Janine (Potts) and the nerdy, near-sighted Louis (Moranis), the ‘heroes of the hereafter’ must put a stop to an enormous underground river ready to rot the roots of the entire Big Apple.
• Feature films in 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR)
• Dolby Atmos soundtracks (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible)*
• Includes high-def Blu-rays featuring the films and special features
*To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar; however, Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.
GHOSTBUSTERS Blu-ray Special Features:
• Who You Gonna Call: A Ghostbusters Retrospective - Roundtable Discussion with Director Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd (Part 1)
• Poster Art Gallery – Gallery of 1988 artwork
• Ghostbusters Music Video – Ray Parker, Jr.
• Slimer Mode – Picture in Picture and Trivia Track
• Commentary with Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis & Joe Medjuck
• 10 Deleted Scenes
• 1984 Featurette
• Cast and Crew Featurette
• SFX Team Featurette
• Multi-Angles
• Ecto-1: Resurrecting the Classic Car
• Ghostbusters Garage: Ecto-1 Gallery Storyboard Comparisons
GHOSTBUSTERS II Blu-ray Special Features:
• Time Is But A Window: Ghostbusters II and Beyond - Roundtable Discussion with Director Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd (Part 2)
• Deleted Scenes
• “On Our Own” Music Video – Bobby Brown
• Theatrical Trailers

Dubai Reveals Details for Ghostbusters: Battle for New York

The mystery has been unveiled today as the Dubai Motiongate theme park has announced details for all 27 of the attractions that will open when the park opens in October of this year.

Of interest to us, of course, is the all-new Ghostbusters: Battle for New York which the company has described as a dark ride with an interactive shooter component in which visitors will compete against one another to hit targets throughout the ride.

The Hook and Ladder No. 8 inspired facade has been visible during construction, as has the large dark ride building behind it giving us a sense that this will be a ride of a large scale. Something akin to the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters for those familiar of the Disneyland attraction.

The ride will be a part of the Sony Pictures “zone” within the park - there are also plans for a live entertainment attraction featuring the Ghostbusters which the press release describes as a “singing and dancing boy band” - one would imagine it will be a similar show to those experienced at Universal Studios Florida when Ghostbusters was a featured licensed property there.

The full official press release from Motiongate follows:

Lights, Camera…and Action!  motiongate™ Dubai’s 27 star rides and attractions step into the spotlight, joined by cast of live entertainment
Fly, spin, twirl and glide through 13 of Hollywood’s most beloved live action and animated films in this movie-inspired theme park at Dubai Parks and Resorts
Dubai, UAE – 22 March 2016:  Imagine riding a dragon and soaring high above, or embarking on a river expedition through a mythical land. How would you feel blasting up a 58m tower to escape from a horde of zombies, or if you found yourself aboard a hovercraft playing the hero?
At motiongate™ Dubai - part of the Dubai Parks and Resorts destination -you choose your role. With a starting line-up of 27 action-packed rides and attractions inspired by some of Hollywood’s most cherished movies from DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Studios – including The Smurfs and Lionsgate, guests can take the lead in their own cinematic adventure. Plus, with a handful of live entertainment experiences such as an encounter with a big green ogre, a ghost-busting singing boy band, a vampire heroine, a kung fu fighting panda or a colony of little blue friends, guests will be entertained at every turn with a stellar supporting cast.
“We are taking guests beyond the screen, into a world of cinematic adventure at motiongate™ Dubai. With an action-packed line-up of Hollywood-inspired rides and attractions from fast-paced roller coasters, multi-sensory theatre shows to imaginative play areas, plus a full line-up of live entertainment shows, there is something for everyone,” said Guido Zucchi, General Manager of motiongate™ Dubai.
Those looking for some extreme action will find it here. Adrenaline seekers of all ages can get their fix on five exhilarating roller coasters scripted around some major film favourites. The Sony Pictures Studios Zone will feature The Green Hornet: High Speed Chase, a high action roller coaster, which follows the masked crusader and his sidekick Kato on a white knuckle pursuit through dizzying drops and sharp turns. Fans of The Hunger Games can hop onto the speedy Capitol Bullet Train, an adrenaline pumping roller coaster, which launches guests through 360 degrees of thrill inside the Lionsgate Zone. Two roller coasters can be found inside the DreamWorks Zone: Madagascar Mad Pursuit, the fastest roller coaster in the park, which will take guests on a mad chase through the circus alongside the Zoosters; and Dragon Gliders, a one-of-a-kind suspended roller coaster inviting guests to soar high above the land of Berk, inspired by How To Train Your Dragon. Lastly, a special adventure awaits aboard Smurfs Village Express where families can glide through the enchanting mushroom-capped town of the beloved Smurfs. 
That’s not all. Brave enough to face zombies, monsters and ghosts? Go ‘supernatural’ blasting off with Zombieland, Underworld’s 4D theatre or hop aboard a zany dark ride with Hotel Transylvania or the Ghostbusters. Fancy getting splashed around? Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will send guests sailing on a white water rapids voyage. 

There’s plenty of action for family and little ones too, with exploratory and adventure play areas inspired by these animated hits: The Smurfs, Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Prefer shows and live theatre?  Train under the masters at the Kung Fu Panda Academy, interact with Brainy Smurf on-stage or grab a front row seat to the ultimate hip hop dance competition with Step Up Dubai, All In! 
“Movies are a favourite leisure pursuit in this region, and motiongate™ Dubai is combining the best of Hollywood cinema, theme parks and live entertainment to create an amazing experience for our guests throughout their journey at Dubai Parks and Resorts. With so much on offer in our destination, we are confident Dubai Parks and Resorts will be creating unforgettable memories for everyone,” said Stanford Pinto, Chief Parks Operating Officer, Dubai Parks and Resorts.
motiongate™ Dubai is spread across five zones: Sony Pictures Studios, DreamWorks, Smurfs Village, Lionsgate and Studio Central, the park’s entry boulevard.
Scheduled to open in October this year, motiongate™ Dubai is part of Dubai Parks and Resorts which will also feature the region’s first LEGOLAND® Park and a LEGOLAND® Water Park. Committed to bringing together the best of the East and West, Dubai Parks and Resorts will also feature Bollywood Parks™ Dubai, the first ever theme park based on the sights and sounds of Bollywood. The entire destination will be connected by Riverland™ Dubai – a retail, dining and entertainment walkway and guests can stay at the Lapita™ Hotel, Autograph Collection, a Polynesian-themed resort catering to families.

R.I.P. Michael C. Gross

Producers sure take a lot of flack. It's easy to take a cynical attitude toward producers, when you go to a film that is of questionable quality and it has a good dozen people listed as "Executive Producer, Associate Producer, Producer in Charge of Production, Consulting Producer" and you wonder why nobody was able to steer the ship in the right direction. How many of them were producers in name only? How many of them contractually were given a producer credit? What exactly did they do to help the director and writer's vision come to life?

But then there are the producers who do so much that a mere "Associate Producer" credit is being modest. Producers that were so responsible for the look, the feel, and the end result of a film that their contribution(s) can be directly linked to the success of the film. A good producer is like a selfless samurai, they help the director with all their responsibilities, make sure the director has the tools that they need to succeed, and even identifies the weak spots in which the director is unable to execute things and jumps in to help.

Those are the producers like Michael C. Gross.

It became evident over the years, through countless interviews and comments that he made, that Michael C. Gross came in to help Ivan Reitman with areas where he wasn't experienced. While Reitman had a knack for directing great comedic actors, animation and design weren't exactly in his wheelhouse and he realized that. Gross helped usher along the visual effects department, while also worked with artists to hone in the now famous "No-Ghost" logo that adorned the entry to a firehall, to countless costumes both on-screen and worn by fans, to every imaginable product, to this website. While he wasn't responsible for the concept like Aykroyd, the improvisation like Murray, or grounding it to relatable real-life like Ramis, it was more than evident that the presence of Michael C. Gross was essential to the secret formula that made Ghostbusters the phenomenon that it was and still continues to be.

His work with National Lampoon is iconic. His sense of humor distinct. He loved living his life by the Southern California beach (and of course, bikini season as result). When he was diagnosed with brain cancer, his mood understandably greatly varied. When I reached out to him to see if he was interested in getting all of his thoughts onto record, he declined and told me he was "tired of hearing himself talk." In a rare audio interview for the 30th Anniversary, he told Chris Stewart that he felt like a "has been," a man who had glory days behind him, but wasn't leaving a legacy. Chris, very rightly argued the opposite. 

At age 70, he is gone far ahead of his time. A healthy Michael C. Gross would have produced incredible art, unforgettable humor, and countless surprises that we would have never expected. I for one was hoping that he would continue to defy the doctor's diagnoses and continue thriving through seeing another Ghostbusters film release and to enjoy the ride one last time.

From a fellow producer, from a fan, from someone who no doubt continues to benefit from his long stressful and sleepless nights in production and post, and from a kid who grew up coveting anything and everything in which the No-Ghost logo was adorned, thank you Michael. For being one of those unsung producers with a credit that didn't do justice to the impact that of which he was responsible.

For more on Michael, please visit the Telegraph for a recent and very comprehensive interview they conducted with him.

Dissecting an Encounter with the EPA

In the process of doing a little clean-up on my computer, I recently came across an analysis I had done in school for the blocking/setup of Peter Venkman's first encounter with Walter Peck in the original 1984 film. It was an exercise in dissecting a scene from a film to determine how blocking, camera setup and composition, lighting, editorial, music and directorial choices impacted the overall effectiveness of the scene.

Going back and re-reading it, I'm actually still fascinated with the findings and thought I'd share them with the masses... so here you go, here's my original essay from December of 2002 (and the scene courtesy of for reference). 

I chose to analyze this particular scene from “Ghostbusters” because it was one of the first things that I noticed after learning about analyzing the beats of a scene in class. It was an interesting realization to me because “Ghostbusters” has been a film that I have greatly admired and respected (and viewed countless times) and had never really noticed the structure to it like this before. It also adds so much to the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist that I had not really caught onto and makes their rivalry that heats to the climax so much more memorable.

There is one beat to the scene really, however since there are two separate levels to the scene it could be said that there are two separate beats. The first beat hits the moment that Venkman tells Peck that he may not see the storage facility. It turns the tables, suddenly Peck goes from running the show to having resistance to his request. On a sub-level to the scene, the beat hits when Peter realizes that he’s being accused of fraud (not to mention there’s a hint that he knows that he’s operating without the required permits). This beat comes the moment of Peck’s monologue that accuses Venkman and the Ghostbusters of polluting with noxious gasses etc.

The scene proves to be more of a serious note in an otherwise light and goofy comedy. While “Ghostbusters” isn’t exactly a National Lampoon film, it is a very light and genre pieced blockbuster comedy. It is lit very lightly and vibrantly. The actors quip funny lines frequently. This scene fits well into the film because it highlights the smart-ass remarks of Venkman adding some comic relief to the tension.

The pacing of the scene is very casual and slow at first. The shots are a bit longer and since they are wider shots, they seem to be orienting the viewer as to their surroundings and the characters before they get into the thick of things. There are brief pauses between the characters’ lines at first. Then it begins to pick up pace as the two realize that they both have other motives behind the meeting. The actors begin to read their lines quicker after the line “Why do you want to see the storage facility?” Peck realizes that he’s getting nowhere and will continue to go nowhere and begins attacking. It is a gradual process, however.

The scene begins with a wide shot as the two characters are introduced to each other. It quickly cuts to a tilt that reveals the “slime on the suit” gag. Then cuts back to an even wider shot to not only establish Peter Venkman’s office once again (it appears earlier in the film when Peter first meets Dana Barrett) but to establish the casual, and ordinary meeting of the two characters. The first close up is the first moment that a hostile line is spoken. When Peck asks, “What exactly are you a doctor of?” in a very sarcastic and inquisitive tone is the first moment we are drawn into a close up. A close, but high angle on Venkman as he answers the question shows that Venkman didn’t expect the attack at first.  As the questioning continues, Peck walks away to turn his close-up into a medium shot (which then cuts back to a new setup medium shot of Venkman in the exact same placement as Peck). Then it’s back to a close up as Peck asks “May I see the storage facility?” Venkman says no and immediately it cuts to a 2 shot where the actors are on the same level, the same plane, worthy opponents for each other. Back to even closer shots of both filling the frame intercut with 2 shots where they appear to be right in each others’ faces (as the tensions get high toward the end of the scene). Again, on the same level on the same plane. Venkman stands to take dominance in the scene (fills the frame with a tilt up to an Extreme Close Up) which is immediately matched in an identical shot by Peck (tilt up to Extreme Close Up mirrored to Venkman) to show that indeed, these two will be butting heads on the same level again.

The main character (Venkman) achieves his goal of pushing Peck away with the activation of his defense mechanism that is established the moment that the character is introduced. He knows that he is superior to everyone else and quips wisecracks at the expense of those below him. As Peck threatens with unlicensed waste handling, Venkman’s objective quickly goes from schmoozing with the government official to threatening law suit and trying to push his adversary away.

As far as acting methods go, the actors begin casual. As it becomes apparent to their characters that there are tensions between the two of them and that they will be facing off against each other, they begin limiting the space between them. Both are unwilling to budge. While Peck (William Atherton) was quick to walk away and present the conversation with a comfortable distance, as soon as Venkman (Bill Murray) resists, they are in each other’s faces fighting for dominance in the scene. The movement of Peck as he sits down to look Venkman eye to eye pits them on the same battlefield, then at the end of the argument, Venkman stands to become dominant and Peck quickly counters getting to eye level again. Again, neither of them are willing to back down.

In addition to the actual dialogue in the scene, actions that the actors take (for example, Venkman is slouching in his chair during the beginning of the conversation fidgeting with a paperweight) show their perspectives on the conversation. In addition, costume direction plays an important role. Venkman is sloppy, worn from working hard, slime covered. Peck is dressed in a nice suit with a power tie. Their hair is also the same polar opposite. Venkman’s is unkempt while Peck’s is neatly arranged. Without the dialogue, we immediately have a sense of the roles each character takes.

As far as shot composition and cinematography go, again the entire scene is lit very evenly and very brightly. The shots are setup to associate Venkman with chaos, clutter, and disorder (the desk in front of him is messy, behind him an empty potato chip bag and more of a mess). Peck is associated with straight lines and order (he is shot with the walls and the file cabinets behind him. Both are very heavy metaphors for their personality.

There is little foley to the scene and there is no music added.

Judging from the final edit, it appears that there were 12 setups. 3 of them included a pan and a tilt, 2 of them tilted up to follow the characters, 1 moving pan became a planned 2 shot of both characters. The editing seems to be a simple back and forth from character to character. Again, it seems to speed up and move to the tighter and closer shots as the tensions between the two characters grow. As both of them become familiar with each other, the audience becomes “closer” acquainted with the two of them. The pacing also mirrors this concept. It grows faster, with the lines being read quicker and the cuts getting more frequent toward the end of the scene. It builds the tension, deepening the argument between the two characters as they get further and further into it.         

The scene seems to be from Venkman’s point of view. Obviously, since it begins casual and friendly we are led to believe that this was what Venkman was expecting from the encounter. Had the scene been from Peck’s point of view, I’m sure that it would have been less friendly and more confrontational from the start. Peck was there to stir up trouble and it took a while for Venkman to catch onto that. Then again, when the EPA comes knocking at your door, it normally just isn’t a friendly chit chat is it?

The Private Sector: Where Has All the Pyrotechnic Fluid Gone?

The following article appeared on and on January 27, 2010 as part of my syndicated column, The Private Sector:

Sure it’s crowded, it’s dirty, and there’s people here that would just assume step on your face than look at you, but one of the benefits of living in Los Angeles is the incredible wealth of talent, especially when it comes to “movie magic,” that calls such a place like Los Angeles home. This past Saturday, some of the greatest talents in the visual effects business gathered for the Visual Effects Society’s “25th (and 1/2) Anniversary” Screening of Ghostbusters at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood. 

The event, which was touted as a screening and Q&A session with “special guests” turned into an impromptu reunion of the Boss Films crew, the former Marina Del Rey folks behind the visual effects of Ghostbusters, 2010, and their final project Alien 3. It goes without saying that the event was memorable - from stories of the complicated process in which the Stay Puft costume was engulfed in flame (“We… uh… put gasoline on him… and lit him up.”) to the wealth of fantastic archival photos by Virgil Mirano, which were expertly (and far too quickly) piloted by fellow DVD producer and visual effects magician Van Ling. 

But what I really took away from the reunion/screening was just how fun the process of making movies used to be. 

It’s funny seeing the twinkle in Richard Edlund’s eye when he reflects upon his time spent building Boss Studios from the ground up specifically for Ghostbusters and 2010, especially considering that Edlund is one of the greatest proponents of a digital, non-photo chemical, visual effects age. You get the feeling that he, and all of the participants that were on stage at the event, loved the challenge that having to produce everything optically presented. And when you stop and think about it, why wouldn’t they? If given the choice between being on a soundstage and rigging a solid-steel model of a Central Park West apartment building with explosives – then blowing the thing to kingdom come… or sitting and having a team of twelve animators at ILM digitally create the explosion frame by frame, I think the former is quite a bit more exciting than the latter. 

There was one point in the moderated panel where the crew was discussing the challenge of animating the “rubberized light” beams that emit from the Ghostbusters particle accelerators. The solution, as described, was that the weapon was actually sucking atoms and particles from the area in which it was pointed so the pyrotechnics that were assembled on-set were made to look more like something “pulling” from the sets and less like the impact of an explosion (and, if you frame-by-frame through the DVD, you’ll notice the actual animated streams actually start on the wall and THEN link back to the proton gun three frames later). Fascinating and fun anecdotes that I had never known, and each person on the panel spoke of the process with a childlike glee. 

But even taking that “fun aspect” out of it, one could argue that better and more effective work was produced when there was a challenge presented to the filmmakers. Can you imagine Steven Spielberg’s Jaws if the mechanical shark was computer generated and didn’t present any problems? How about Ridley Scott’s Alien film if he wasn’t hiding the man in a suit in the dark shadows of the Nostromo? I’ve vented at great lengths elsewhere (and frequently) about how computer generated effects have freed up (but become a handicap for) visionary filmmakers, so I won’t venture into that territory again. But I think that the point is clear: they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. 

That much was abundantly clear in seeing and hearing the former wizards of Boss Films wax nostalgic on their Ghostbusters work. It was challenging, it was stressful, the pressure was insurmountable, and the fate of both their studio and others hung in the balance… yet twenty-five odd years later they are all still able to come together and the result is akin to a family reunion. Because despite all that hardship, they still had a helluva time. 

Here’s hoping that the folks already hard at work on a third installment of this famed franchise take into account the challenge, and don’t take any of the shortcuts available in this modern era of filmmaking for granted… well… okay… and that they have a helluva time doing so. 

CLASSIC GBHQ: Interview with Michael C. Gross

Michael C. Gross, the long-time art director for the National Lampoon and executive producer of the Ghostbusters films (and is the man responsible for the no-ghost logo that adorns many a product to date) was gracious enough to give an interview to GBHQ representative Neil Vitale, best I can figure somewhere around 2000. 

Presented here is the interview as it was on the website at the time (spelling errors and all, with few annotations added).

NV=Neil Vitale

MG=Michael C. Gross

NV : How did the Real Ghostbusters show come about? Was it the next logical step after the film became such a big success?

MG : The first movie was made when there was no idea of doing a second movie. One of the surprises of the first movie was the appeal to kids.
In fact at the first preview screening we saw kids there and thought they might find it too scary. When the scary parts (to a kid) were then diffused by a joke and silly loved the release. It also became a useful tool for parents to use so little kids would be less afraid of things that go bump in the night. So here we were, no sequel in mind, kids, a few toys (nothing much because we didn't pre sell something that didn't seem ok to kids). So..... folks who made livings from developing cartoons from movies came along and convinced us... and THEN a toy deal could fall into place.

NV : How long did this cartoon take to plan before it went on the air? Was it tough to cast the show, where you trying to find voice actors who sounded like their live action counterparts, etc? I think I speak for all of us when I say that this is the BEST movie to toon adaption ever done. Plus it really expanded on Winston's character to boot.

MG : It went into quick production. Columbia TV and we (Ivan's people) looked at production companies that could deliver 64 shows for syndication. (the ABC deal was yet to be made) and in a few months we were off and running. Joe Strazinski was hot to be story editor and not only was talented and funny, but respected and understood the movie.
Ivan is particularly good at casting and put the final approval on the voices. Arsenio Hall was easy to pick (he auditioned for the movie but was thought to be a bit young). The other guys were able to do multiple voices and were improve comedians as well, so tweaking the scripts on set became easy. Expanding on Winston and Janine was easy on TV because you needed to come up with new plots and you had lots and lots of time (episodes).

NV : This is a most asked question. Why was the show changed to a more toonified look in season 3 and focusing soley on the adventures of Slimer? I like to refer to it as the Scrappy Doo years of the GB franchise. It tried to bounce back to the story structure of the first two seasons toward the end with 'Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters', but do you think it really recovered from the change over? I'm curious as to wether it was a network decision or a creative one.

MG : Well your questions about the "toonification" is interesting. Part of it was this...the show was simultaneously sold to syndication AND ABC... it had never happened on TV. What this meant is the first season got on air on syndication and meant several things...not as much money for animation, so one in three shows would be difficult to watch (quality of animation, drawing etc) but always (I think) bailed out by the great writing. There was no standards and practices for syndication and the show was more adult. When the ABC shows were getting made (same creative team and production team) we had more bucks for animation but had to write a little more for Saturday morning (as it was then called).
Meanwhile, Slimer became more popular with the kids. THEN.... the decision was made to go for a longer show....hence the more stylized (intentional) Slimer spots. The style and writing tone were to separate it more and keep the Slimer cartoons lighter. It then sort of ran out of steam (5 years in all on the air and 100 shows...let's face it, only the Simpson's outran us in the comedy animation world).

NV : Speaking of Character changes....What happened to Janine during the final seasons of the show? I loved the way the change happened as an episode plot, rather than just magically popping up in an episode as a character re-design...but most fans of the show missed her old Annie Potts Look and NY accent...

MG : Annie's accent did not change. The hair changed because as a woman she was the only character We COULD change (thereby making her fresher). She was also developing as a leading smart heroin. The hair change was my idea and I always liked it.

NV : From the Newsgroup: "Why wasn't Lorenzo Music used past the midpoint of the Real Ghostbusters?"

MG : Lorenzo Music. First off let me say he was a wonderful, smart. Talented, Funny man. When we started the show we couldn't use the original film actors... too expensive, conflicting and busy schedules, etc. So the voices had to reflect the CHARACTERS not the actors. In (Bill's) Venk's case it was difficult to get the voice to go with the writing... but he was great. Then mid-way through production Bill was having lunch with Ivan Reitman and said how much he liked the show and said "why doesn't he sound like me?" We just assumed we wouldn't get permission and worked around it. Ivan came and told us to change it. Then because we had impressionists/comics doing the voices any way, we went for Bill and figured it wouldn't be the first time changes in a character would be made mid-season on Television. I missed Lorenzo.... on the other hand some people didn't care for him because his voice was so well known for Garfield among many other things.

NV : I know that you didn't have any part in Extreme GB, but if you've seen any of it, what do you think of the series? And fans want to know, 'Is it considered Cannon with the original?'

MG : I never even saw one episode of Extreme GB. It was a concept of Hasbro to try and revitalize the franchise to sell toys (I never saw a toy either). I think they may even have paid to get it produced, not sure.

NV : What would you like to see released as extras on the animated Ghostbuster DVDs? Any particular forms, ala season sets or best ofs? Any current plans to put these out?

MG : It's a shame there is no collection of the best shows. The first set of videos was when video tape was still a young industry. There were only a few shows completed and some were just terrible... we were still feeling out how to do the show. One of my favorites was the chickens show and the very sophisticated boogie man show...too many others to recall...but I wish there would be a good collection. I'm surprised we haven't seen the show being aired anywhere at all...

NV : Last RGB question....There's supposedly a Ghostbuster Revival going on. A new Comic Book (editor's note: this was the 88MPH book at this point) has appeared, shifting away from the RGB Designs (Fans of Egons hair from the series are dissapointed), and going with a more movie toned look. If this is a success, do you think a new animated series based on the book can make it in todays toon market?

MG : I haven't seen a new comic...can you send me one? I have no idea if it could come back to life... my feeling is no... that was then and this is now... new audiences, etc.

NV : First of the Movie questions. What was it like working with these guys in their prime? Where they really as wild as reports during their Saturday Night Live days would have us believe?

MG : No, not nearly. I knew Bill (and in fact John Belushi's wife was my assistant in my National Lampoon days) during those days... they WERE wild, By the time the movie was made, no one was wild anymore.

NV : Dan Aykroyd is apparently really into ghosts and spooks, as is his brother Peter. I'm curious if he ever took you to a 'live haunted house' (no pun intended) as research for the movie? And have you had any real ghost encounters?

MG : Danny talked a lot about the super natural and I'm aware of his brothers interest... but no we never did any thing approaching the subject. The closest thing we did for "research" was movies...we screened "Ghostbreakers" "Scared Stiff" (the same movie but with Jerry Lewis instead of Bob Hope... same script, director, some scenes even picked up)... and others. But actual haunted houses

NV : Who's idea was the 'Stay Puft Marshmallow Man'? One of the best movie ideas and designs ever. You just feel so sorry for the poor guy when he gets burned to bits.

MG : Danny came up with Stay Puft in his very first draft. The actual design was figured out at the effects stage. We were very unsure of the idea all through filming...thought we might be crazy and we were worried... but the first screening calmed those fears...he went over HUGE... then we asked ourselves, how could we have doubted ourselves.

NV : With CGI as prevalent as it is today, what type of Ghost effects do you think you can get away with compared to the 80's? Or do you think that CGI can ruin the 'realism' that a puppet or manaquin can represent?

MG : No cgi has only made effects better. We struggled with transformations, etc.. today, kids stuff. On the other hand, it is a good example of how it is concept and writing that in the end count.

NV : Many people are wondering if a 20th anniversary DVD of Ghostbusters is in the works? I don't know why it would be needed since the first one, with the MST3K Style Commentary, is one of my favorites ever made. They are also hoping Ghostbusters 2 can get the same treatment..Is it possible to get the 4 guys to do a Cast Commentary for one of them if the first or second are ever re-released?

MG : I think the DVD that exists is IT... anything else would be milking it. #2 with commentary? I don't know.... doubt it.... we've all gone our separate ways...but hey 6 years from now? First let's see who is still alive.

NV : Whatever happened to Ghostbusters 3? Was there ever serious talk behind getting it started? So many rumors, and then it just stopped....

MG : Only rumors about#3.... especially after EVOLUTION... ouch.

NV : During the end Credits of Ghostbusters 2, we see what appear to be bloopers. (There's one of Murray dancing near a refridgerator). Do any bloopers of the two movies exist for a possible DVD re-release?

MG : The bloopers (or more accurately outtakes or scenes cut) probably are in the vaults...I don't know. Sony doesn't even speak to me..... I didn't consult on HEAVY METAL for instance.

NV : If there where a Ghostbusters 3, what direction would you like to see it go in? All new Cast? All new villains?

MG : Too hypothetical a question.....but my guess is that it would have to be so different it would have to take place on Mars.

NV : Winston was really developed as a Character in RGB. How come he never had a big enough role in the movies, and did Ernie Hudson have any input for his animated counterpart? Did he give you any feedback on it after he had a chance to see the series?"

MG : No Ernie was just acting in it, not particularly concerned about enlarging the role, etc. He's a GREAT guy by the way. If you study the structure of movies you can see why there is no room to enlarge any character when there are that many in a feature (90 minutes, three acts, remember?).