ghost corps

Ghostbusters: Ecto Force Coming 2018

And so the post-Ghostbusters (2016) slate begins - Sony Pictures Animation announced a brand-new animated series coming in two year's time, Ghostbusters: Ecto Force.

According to the press release, the series will will further expand the Ghostbusters cinematic universe and focus on a new generation of Ghostbusters in the year 2050 who capture ghosts around the world with help from local teams—and some very cool gear! The younger-skewing Sony Pictures Animation project is being creatively spearheaded by Ivan Reitman and his production company Ghost Corps. Ghostbusters: Ecto Force is eyeing an early 2018 debut.

No word on additional creative team (art director, writers, etc.) but we'll keep you posted as we hear more. Very exciting seeing the possibility of what everything will bring, especially with a premise that is set in the canon universe but more than 30 years in the future. Shade of Dan Aykroyd's original drafts coming to life?

Sony and Ghost Corps Open the Gates to a Lucky Few

The big story today is, quite obviously, the first Ghostbusters trailer in nearly thirty years. Once again the familiar tones of Ray Parker Jr.'s iconic theme, the familiar sights, the jump scares, and the laughs are on the big screen and it's a glorious thing.

What might be buried under the lead today is the tremendous branch that Sony and the newly-formed Ivan Reitman production company Ghost Corps extended to a select few fans, and the great lengths they went to make a memorable day for them. It's unfortunate that not everyone was able to attend, but when I refer to a select few there was still quite a gathering of fans from all around the country that were given a rare pass inside the gates of the Sony Pictures Studios, allowed to view the trailer with select members of the press in advance, and get to meet and thank some of their heroes - who were just as thankful and gracious in return.

The morning on Wednesday was chaotic, a very complicated press and marketing day with a lot of moving parts that, make no mistake, usually does not accompany a trailer launch but rather the proper premiere of the film. But the chaos was good natured, more of a buzz of excitement rather than an uncomfortable clutter. As fans arrived, some having driven through the night and the wee hours of the morning to make a 9am arrival time, they walked onto the studio lot and immediately caught a glimpse not just of the original 1959 Caddy Ectomobile, but its new "modern" counterpart waiting in the courtyard during their walk. It wasn't uncommon during that walk to hear gasps, backpacks and purses drop to the floor, and Ghostheads in full regalia go running toward the cars and immediately start posing for photo opportunities.

Sony laid out a spread of props, coffee and pastries for the fans and the press as they waited - many fans who have have discussed so many topics at so much length over the internet for years but were only meeting in person for the very first time. I have to admit, in the years that I've spent covering Ghostbusters and trying to be an industrious member of the community, I've been somewhat of a hermit in social gatherings and meeting people "IRL" as the kids say. Do they still say that? Whatever, it's irrelevant, Sony's Cary Grant theater quickly became overrun by flight suits, proton packs, and a whole lot of smiles.

Everyone was led into the theater and seated - fans were placed in the front rows, proton packs were catered to with care, and Ivan Reitman was up first to greet everyone and introduce Paul Feig. After quick introductions everyone was treated to the trailer...

I was so thankful that when fans chanted "one more time" because I was so overwhelmed with the first viewing of the trailer - after all this time, after all this waiting, it was too much of a blur to completely comprehend. A surreal experience where, by the time you realize you're watching a new Ghostbusters trailer, you're looking at the end sell cards at its tail. On the second viewing, I was able to have more of a genuine reaction (something that happened as well in watching The Force Awakens over the holidays, you're able to absorb more on the second viewing after so much anticipation).

Following the trailer viewing, a Q&A discussion with Ivan Reitman, Paul Feig and writer Katie Dippold commenced. It was a lively conversation, with so many great details that were revealed about the production process and the things that we've yet to still see. That entire discussion will be heard as a bonus episode of the Interdimensional Crossrip tomorrow.

The theatrical presentation came to a close and everyone flooded into the walkways of the lot outside, and back to the comfort of Ghost Corps' front yard which houses both Ectomobiles. Group photos were taken, autographs were signed, interviews for EPK, the Ghostheads documentary, and several other outlets were completed. And then Reitman took a position at the top of the stairs to the Grant Building and held court, presenting the franchises with certificates of their registration with Ghost Corps, shaking their hands, and posing for photos. After all of the certificates were handed out, more photos were taken and the crowd started to disperse. Paul Feig shook so many hands, graciously thanked everyone, and signed as many autographs as he could before his representatives shooed him away. During the Q&A, he made a point to talk about seeing the original Ghostbusters film for the first time and how much it impacted him. His love for the film, especially for all of the technology, is abundantly clear in the trailer and how he speaks of the film to come, and certainly was evident in the energy and enthusiasm he had for all of the fans on site.

That event in and of itself would have been extremely generous of all involved, but that's not where the day ended. Fans were then invited into a dining area near the theater for a catered lunch that featured themed foods and of course, gourmet Twinkies for dessert. As fans sat at giant roundtables and discussed everything that had just occurred (some lively discussions, some more tempered as exhaustion began to set in for some of those who had been up through the night), the room buzzed again as Ivan Reitman stepped in and went from table to table to have quick quality chats with each. As he sipped his coffee and the fans ate, they talked about the new film, the future of the franchise, and even shared laughs over how his other films like Meatballs were responsible for so many childhoods.

As shuttles and cars began to leave and the crowd thinned, the smiles were still present. It truly was a wonderful day in which the warmth, the love, and the respect between everyone involved was incredibly evident and it once again was clear that the fans are coming first. With so many dedicated fans, so many franchises, and so many active members of the community, not everyone could be included - but the gesture on the part of the studio and the production company was enormous and most likely only the first indication of many more things to come, in which I'm sure a greater number will be able to feel the love.

The New Ghostbusters Films: Just the Facts

All this editorializing keeps our hair up, right Joe?

"All-female" and "Guy-centric" Ghostbusters. Chances are if you've thrown a rock at the internet lately, you've seen either of those terms in every headline you've come across. But both of those distinctions were given to the upcoming Ghostbusters sequel/reboot/remake/restarts by editorialized comments beginning at their points of origin.

So let's do something, shall we? Let's take a cue from another of Dan Akyroyd's characters that I adore and stick to just the facts... No anonymous sources, no "speculation," no snarky comments. 

Here are the direct quotes from those involved without any editorializing:

October 8, 2014 c/o Paul Feig Twitter - Feig announces he is making a new film. Note, he says "will star hilarious women."

October 8, 2014 - c/o Entertainment Weekly - Feig elaborates on his Tweet directly to EW, in his own words.

"I had been contacted by Sony and Ivan a number of months ago when I was in Budapest shooting my new movie Spy. But I was like, I don’t know if I want to take that on because the first two are such classics and just because of how do you do it? Who do you bring in now that Harold’s gone? I know that Bill didn’t want to do it and I love Dan, but it was just like I don’t know how to do it.  Then I had lunch with [Sony Pictures co-chairman] Amy Pascal when I got back to town. She was just saying, gosh, nobody wants to do this. I said, yeah, it’s really hard to take that on, especially since it’s 25 years later. how do you come back into a world that’s had these ghosts and all this? It just felt too difficult. How do you do it and not screw it up? But then it was bugging me for the next few days because Ghostbusters is such a great thing and everybody knows it, and it’s such a great world. It’s a shame to just let this thing sit there. I want to see another one. My favorite thing to do is work with funny women. I was like, what if it was an all female cast? If they were all women?  Suddenly, my mind kind of exploded: that would be really fun. And then I thought, well, what if we just make it new? It’s not coming into the world that existed before. It’s always hard if the world has gone through this big ghost attack, how do you do it again? I wanted to come into our world where there’s talk of ghosts but they’re not really credible, and so what would happen in our world if this happened today?"
"We want to have fun with giving nods to what came before, but we don’t want to be bound by it because Katie and I already have talked at length and we have really fun ideas for things. But we want to tell the stories that we would like to tell, which means we want to tell the character arcs that we want to tell, which means we want to start with some of our characters in a different place or with different personalities and things they have to overcome and learn through the experience of this first movie. My number one thing is always about character and what is somebody learning from or transforming through whatever happens to them in the movie. So I think there will be definitely room to play with that. We want to do clever nods to it, but not cloying nods to it. We want to have the ability to really bring it into modern day."
"We have a very rough, rough outline that we’re working with, but definitely know the basic story, know what we want the basic characters to do, know what we want the world to do and what the rules of our world are, but nothing I want to discuss obviously. It’s cool. I think it’s a really strong origin story that feels real—as real as a ghost story is. It’s going to be really fun and real. We’ll make it scary and funny."
"Everything is up for grabs right now. I look at this the same way a superhero movie launches where it’s always fun to see, like, what are they going to do with the costumes this time? What are they going to do with the hardware this time? It’s not going to be, here is the exact same stuff. It’s also not going to go, screw you, if you like that stuff, it’s all completely different. We’re going to have fun with it, but again, bring it into our time period. I’m a big hardware nerd when it comes to sci-fi and all of that so I love all the gear and I love all that. We’re really going to have fun with playing with the science of it. I think fans will be very happy with what we do because it has fun with what came before but it’s new. It’s just a new, fun take on it."
"I just don’t understand why it’s ever an issue anymore. I’ve promoted both Bridesmaids and The Heat and myself and my cast are still hit constantly with the question, “will this answer the question of whether women can be funny?” I really cannot believe we’re still having this conversation. Some people accused it of kind of being a gimmick and it’s like, it would be a gimmick if I wasn’t somebody whose brain doesn’t automatically go to like, I want to just do more stuff with women. I just find funny women so great. For me it’s just more of a no-brainer. I just go, what would make me excited to do it? I go: four female Ghostbusters to me is really fun. I want to see that dynamic. I want to see that energy and that type of comedy and them going up against these ghosts and going up against human detractors and rivals and that kind of thing. When people accuse it of being a gimmick I go, why is a movie starring women considered a gimmick and a movie starring men is just a normal movie?"
"At the end of the day, all we want to make is a great movie and people are going to attach a lot of energy to either being nervous about this or being excited about it, and all Katie and I and the rest of the team, who we slowly assemble, can do is just make a great movie that’s super funny, that’s scary, that’s real, that has great characters that people identify with and want to see in these situations. It’s a world that they’ve experienced before in the old ones, but the hope is the minute they sit down they’ll go, “I love the old one, oh my god, I’m loving this new one.” Everything’s got to live on it’s own merits. It would be terrible if we just go, oh we’re just doing an update where we use the same dynamic and scripts. If we just flop four women into the exact same personalities and roles as original, then that’s lazy filmmaking on my behalf, and who wants to see that? I don’t want to do a shot by shot update of a movie that existed. It’s the difficult thing about remaking a great movie. So that’s why we’re not remaking a great movie. We’re doing our take on it."

January 15, 2015 - c/o Empire Magazine - Paul Feig talks directly to Empire. In his own words:

"It came out publically that we’re in talks with Melissa but there’s a lot to work out."
"There’s a lot of haters and I get it. The problem with the internet is that if 500 really angry men start bombarding me, I think, ‘Oh god, everybody hates this movie,’ but then you realise that it’s only 500 people. I don’t block anyone out or not read that stuff because I want to know what the most hardcore hater fan’s problem is."
"A lot of people ask why I didn’t create my own thing but Ghostbusters never ran out of steam, it’s such a great idea. It’s such a fun franchise so why not bring it to a new generation? The old movie is never going to not exist. It’s not my plan to erase every copy! Hopefully they can all live together."
"We’ve been working on laptops and passing flash drives back and forth. It’s very old school. We’re using paper, god forbid."

January 27, 2015 - c/o Paul Feig Twitter - Note, this is not an official announcement. It is not confirmation. It is a photo presented by Feig without anecdote. 

January 27, 2015 - c/o Sony-run Sony Pictures Twitter. - Release date announced.

 

January 28, 2015 - c/o Dan Aykroyd direct statement to The Hollywood Reporter - Aykroyd's official press response toward any of the above. No specifics given.

"The Aykroyd family is delighted by this inheritance of the ‘Ghostbusters’ torch by these most magnificent women in comedy. My great grandfather, Dr. Sam Aykroyd, the original Ghostbuster, was a man who empowered women in his day, and this is a beautiful development in the legacy of our family business."

January 29, 2015 - c/o Ernie Hudson Twitter/Hollywood Reporter

"Four fiercely funny, foxy, females busting ghosts ... phenomenal!"

Hudson also retweeted a PR post referring to third-party rumors:

February 11, 2015 - c/o Paul Feig Twitter - Feig contacted me directly through my Ghostbusters HQ Twitter to clarify (and I'm comfortable posting this publicly now as it's been confirmed/printed in the Boston Globe).

February 17, 2015 - c/o Howard Stern Show - Dan Aykroyd appears as guest. In his own words transcribed from radio interview.

"I'm very, very happy. I've got three daughters. I'm all for female empowerment. The thing needed to be stripped down. (Stumbles) As I've said take the Ecto car. Well the Ecto car now has a chassis and wheels, it needs new engine, it needs a new body. I wrote a version of it which we may end up shooting one time. It'll be different than the all-female. But I did write a Ghostbusters 3 and it exists as a script."
"Paul Feig's script is funny."

February 24, 2015 - c/o Variety - Tom Rothman is hired as new Sony Chairman of Motion Pictures, replacing Amy Pascal. He does not specifically talk Ghostbusters but comments on franchises being his priority. In Rothman's own words:

"Every studio needs franchises. That was the case when we took over at Fox and that took time to build it up and it will take time here. It’s very important but it’s equally important to have a diverse slate of films that perform profitably."

March 9, 2015 - c/o Deadline - New production company formed called Ghost Corps. Note, direct quotes from article only. Also note, original article was mysteriously revised and corrected without any explanation late in the day March 9, 2015. Note, casting and/or movie release plan not discussed. Ghost Corps' mission statement, in Ivan Reitman's own words:

"We want to expand the Ghostbusters universe in ways that will include different films, TV shows, merchandise, all things that are part of modern filmed entertainment. This is a branded entertainment, a scary supernatural premise mixed with comedy. Paul Feig’s film will be the first version of that, shooting in June to come out in July 2016. He’s got four of the funniest women in the world, and there will be other surprises to come. The second film has a wonderful idea that builds on that. Drew will start writing and the hope is to be ready for the Russo Brothers’ next window next summer to shoot, with the movie coming out the following year. It’s just the beginning of what I hope will be a lot of wonderful movies. My primary focus will be to build the Ghostbusters into the universe it always promised it might become. The original film is beloved, as is the cast, and we hope to create films we will continue to love."
"Sometimes things happen at the speed they are supposed to happen. The deals were so strong on that second movie that the franchise became frozen in place 25 years. Nothing got done, we all had the power to block whatever we didn’t like, but we finally got together and found a way.”

March 10, 2015 - c/o writer Drew Pearce's Twitter. Direct comments and responses from Pearce in his own words:

March 13, 2015 - c/o Variety - Paul Feig discusses the various films directly with Variety. In his words:

“The Internet is really funny – I love it, but I hate it at the same time. The first wave when you make an announcement like that is overwhelmingly positive. Everyone’s so happy and you’re like, This is great. Then comes the second wave and you’re like, Oh my God. Some of the most vile, misogynistic sh** I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“The biggest thing I’ve heard for the last four months is, ‘Thanks for ruining my childhood.’ It’s going to be on my tombstone when I die. It’s so dramatic. Honestly, the only way I could ruin your childhood is if I got into a time machine and went back and made you an orphan.”
ON GHOST CORPS ANNOUNCEMENT: “I’d heard some rumblings about it. All I know is my ladies are going to kick ass and I would not want to go into battle without them.”

March 14, 2015 - c/o Drew Pearce Twitter and East Grinstead Online

“There are a ton of different kind of jobs in screenwriting and directing out here – the two ends of the scale being ‘assignments’ (usually bigger movies with a pre-existing brand) and ‘specs’ (usually original ideas that you have to write speculatively, without knowing if someone will pay you for it at the end of the process). With some of the bigger movies I’ve worked on – the next Mission Impossible, and the new Ghostbusters movie I’ve just started – your role is part of a team – it’s not a very authored experience, and you know that from the get-go. Then I’ve also got smaller, original ideas like The Long Run, a movie I’m hoping to direct later this year at Fox. Plus I secretly work as a script doctor on occasion, as favours to other filmmakers. That’s basically my job in a nutshell.”
“I’m actually writing a new take, which will star Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt, both of whom are brilliant and very nice chaps to boot. It’s a different kind of story, set in the same universe as the other movies, but following an entirely new group of Ghostbusters.”

MARCH 16, 2015 - c/o reuters AND INDIEWIRE AND COMICBOOK.COM - paul feig comments from sxsw festival at spy premiere. in his words:

"It's a giant franchise and it's a big world. I completely understand wanting to create this whole (franchise) just like 'Star Wars' has. But for me, all I can concentrate on is my ladies and how much we're going to kick ass."
RE: Bill Murray's Possible Involvement in His Film: "We are ready for him. If Bill will show up, Bill is more than welcome. Nothing would make us happier."
"There were plenty of angry tweets to me that thought I did. It was purely a creative decision. I'd been contacted starting last year when I was in production on 'Spy.' I was getting calls from Sony, Ivan Reitman called, they wanted to do a sequel and I was so flattered because I love the franchise so much and wanted it to come back. I just couldn't figure out how to do a sequel 25 years later where two of the original cast members weren't even going to be in it. I'd read the original scripts that had been written to try and do it -- some of my favorite comedy writers wrote those scripts, and they were really good scripts -- but something felt off. The math was off. 

So I kept saying no and then finally had lunch with Amy Pascal and she was just like, 'Why doesn't anybody want to do this movie? None of you comedy directors want to do this!' I went on this whole thing, this is a sacred cow, this thing we all grew up with and thought, 'I don't know how to do it.' But there's this great franchise sitting there, this great idea of funny people battling the paranormal. That's an awesome canvas to paint on. So I thought, if I had to do it, what would I do? The most obvious things are the last things you think about. And I thought, if I made them all women, then I know how to do that. I get excited about that. I can see the comedy and the fun in that. But are they their daughters? What's their thing? I want to see them develop the technology and I want to see the world confront ghosts for the first time and I thought, 'Let's just reboot it.' 

It was as simple as that. It was no more evil than that and there was all this feeling of this evil plotting, I've had things come at me like 'We're so tired of this PC bullshit.' This isn't PC! There's all these funny women; I'm trying to figure out how to get more women's ensembles together and get more of these people working and here it is. That's it."
"Jesus, there's so much. Just put in my address and look at the things that are addressed to me any day. The worst of it was always 'Women can't be 'Ghostbusters'!' This flat statement of 'this can't happen.' I always try to find the germ of logic and, look, for a lot of guys -- I was in my early 20s when I first saw it and I thought it was groundbreaking comedy -- who saw it when they were seven, eight, nine, they kind of grew up playing it so I think to them it's much more a way of life, like a religion."
"No comment on that [laughs]. It does become a bit of a religion for people, like 'Star Wars.' All of our favorite movies are religious icons to us, I try to be sensitive to that and so, guys, I get that but I'm not going to destroy those first two movies. I can't. I almost feel like it would possibly hurt them more if I did it as a direct sequel because it would almost back-poison the well. If you don't like what I end up doing, you can say, 'Well that was the new one. Fuck that. We have these other ones.' You can only do what inspires you and what you think will be fun and what you know how to do for an audience to make them laugh and have a good time. My intentions are nothing but pure."
"We start shooting June 15 so we're still punching up the script, doing heavy prep of designing all our effects and our ghosts and nailing down what we're going to shoot. It's fast approaching."
"I love the original ones so I want to do enough nods to it that the fans go 'Oh, okay they're aware of it! That's fun that they're twisting this and that!' But I also want to make it so that a new generation can make it their own too. We'll make references but blow past them and go toward our own thing; I want to keep the same tone and style but I want it to be even scarier just because I think with the way we can do stuff now, we can really have fun with making it creepier. Comedy and scares go really well together. The original was very scary and if you look at it now, you still have that, but there's a chance to go even further with it."
ON USING RAY PARKER JR.'S ORIGINAL THEME: "We have ways to bring it in that we're playing with, so we'll see. It's such an iconic thing that part of you goes, 'I don't want to change it,' but then another part of you wants to update it. It's one of the biggest questions we're faced with.""

Will continue to update with direct quotes and statements as they're made...

Update 1: 3/11/15 3:27pm - Corrected Tom Rothman title and Amy Pascal spelling. / Added Howard Stern quotes from Dan Aykroyd. / 6:40pm - Added Ernie Hudson response from 1/29/15

Update 2: 3/13/15 1:00pm - Added Paul Feig comments to Variety at SXSW

Update 3: 3/14/15 10:51am - Added additional Drew Pearce comments.