Ghostbusters is a 1984 American supernatural comedy film directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis as three eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business in New York City. Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis co-star as a client and her neighbor, and Ernie Hudson as the Ghostbusters’ first recruit.
Aykroyd conceived the film as a project for himself and fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus John Belushi, with the “Ghostmashers” travelling through time and space in the future with magic wands. He and Ramis dramatically rewrote the script following Belushi’s death and after Reitman deemed Aykroyd’s initial vision financially impractical.
Ghostbusters was released in the United States on June 8, 1984, to critical and commercial success, receiving a positive response from critics and audiences and grossing $242 million in the United States and more than $295 million worldwide. It was nominated for two Oscars at the 57th Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Original Song (for the eponymous theme song), but lost to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Woman in Red respectively. The American Film Institute ranked Ghostbusters 28th in its AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list of film comedies. In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
The film launched the Ghostbusters media franchise, which includes a 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II, two animated television series, The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters and several video games. A reboot, also titled Ghostbusters, was released on July 15, 2016, by Columbia Pictures.
After the success of the first film and the animated series The Real Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures pressured the producers to make a sequel. However, Aykroyd, Ramis and Reitman were uncomfortable with this, as the original film was intended to be conclusive and they wished to work on other projects. Eventually, they agreed and created a script. The second film, Ghostbusters II, was released in 1989.
A script for a potential third film was under development by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, the writing team that worked with Ramis on the 2009 comedy Year One; according to Ramis, the four main cast members from the original film were potentially to have minor on-screen roles: “The concept is that the old Ghostbusters would appear in the film in some mentor capacity.” Comments from Murray in August 2010, after Year One‘s release suggested the latter’s poor reception made a new Ghostbuster sequel unlikely. Two months later, Aykroyd downplayed Murray’s comments, saying Stupnitsky and Eisenberg “wrote Bill the comic role of a lifetime, and the new Ghostbusters and the old are all well represented in it”; they wrote a “strong first draft” that Aykroyd and Ramis would work on. In February 2012, Aykroyd said, “The script must be perfect. We cannot release a film that is any less than that. We have more work to do.”  On February 24, 2014, Ramis died, causing Sony Pictures to re-evaluate the script that they were writing for Ghostbusters III. Sony was planning on starting production in New York early in 2015, but Reitman decided to pull out of directing the film in light of Ramis’s death. Reitman, however, will help to find a new director. It was revealed on March 20, 2014, that Phil Lord and Chris Miller were in talks to direct the film, but by April 8, 2014, the duo had decided to pass on the project. On May 30, 2014, The Wrap reported that Ruben Fleischer is being considered to direct the third film. Weaver told Vanity Fair that her character’s son, Oscar, would be a Ghostbuster in the film.
On August 2, 2014, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the studio wanted Paul Feig to direct the film and wants to make it an all female Ghostbusters team. On September 17, 2014, Aykroyd told The Hollywood Reporter that he wants to do a Ghostbusters-style universe as what Marvel did with their own universe. On October 8, 2014, The Hollywood Reporter announced that screenwriter Katie Dippold and director Paul Feig would be writing the script. On December 10, 2014, both Rebel Wilson and Jennifer Lawrence revealed they have been approached for a role in the reboot, while Emma Stone, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer and Lizzy Caplan were all interested in appearing. On December 15, 2014, leaked emails from Sony revealed Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt’s ultimate plan to team up for a different Ghostbusters film, with Tatum comparing it to Batman Begins. In January 2015, the main cast members for the all-female lead film, were announced as McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. The global release dates for the reboot, entitled Ghostbusters, were across July 2016. In a February 2015 interview on Ron Bennington’s Unmasked radio show, Aykroyd stated that he would still like to see his idea for a sequel made.