The 1984 Ghostbusters film was a massive hit. It made $23 million in its first week, a studio record at the time. The supernatural comedy film had just about everything going for it. Saturday Night Live stars Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray, worked their comedic genius. Signourey Weaver, in the wake of her star turns in Alien, was thrilling as mild mannered Dana Barrett, turned into devil’s handmaiden. The theme song “Ghostbusters”, by Ray Parker Jr. topped the music charts for weeks. “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts” was the catchphrase of the decade. So lasting was its appeal, the iconic 1984 film’s 30th Anniversary re-release in 2014 earned nearly $2 million in its first weekend.
The 1984 film cost around $30 million to make and grossed nearly $300 million worldwide. The 2016 reboot? Well, some reports peg its budget at around $150 million. Not surprisingly, the special effects have a certain Walking Dead feel. Fear not though, as slime is still in ample supply. Plus, most of the original main characters make cameo appearances in the film. The Ghostbusters are female this time around; the film stars Saturday Night Live stalwarts Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. With the delicious Chris Hemsworth as their receptionist. Will it live up to the original? The jury is still out, but the film, which comes out on July 15th, 2016, has a promising 93% fan rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Here are 12 things you probably didn’t know about Ghostbusters, old and new.
12. Dan Aykroyd Originally Wrote The Film With John Belushi, Eddie Murphy and John Candy In Mind
Imagine if John Belushi, Eddie Murphy and John Candy, had joined Aykroyd in the film? The role of Peter Venkman (played by Bill Murray) was originally intended for Belushi and Louis (played by Rick Moranis), was written with comic genius John Candy in mind. In fact, Buzzfeed reports that both Chevy Chase and Michael Keaton turned down the role of Venkman before it went to Murray. Had Eddie Murphy taken on Winston (played by Ernie Hudson), the character would have played a much, much bigger part in the film. Aykroyd had also envisioned a time traveling format. But it was not to be. In 1982, John Belushi was found dead of a drug overdose in Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont Hotel, and Eddie Murphy and John Candy decided not to do the film. And the idea of time travel? Ruled too costly by director Ivan Reitman.
11. Sigourney Weaver’s Audition
Director Ivan Reitman, told the story to The Guardian. Here was this tall, elegant, intelligent actress Sigourney Weaver. When she came to audition for the part of cultured musician Dana Barrett, she told Reitman, “You know, I think when Dana Barrett is possessed she should turn into a dog.” Okay, Reitman thought. Then Weaver got on all fours and started howling like a dog, right on top of the director’s coffee table. This bit of inspiration led to some of the funniest lines in the movie. “My girlfriend’s a dog”. And Rick Moranis’ quip at the party: “Who brought the dog?” Indeed. Before Weaver’s suggestion, Reitman said that they had struggled with how to depict the whole Dana being possessed by Zuul, The Gatekeeper, thing.
10. There Were Over 20 Uncredited Extras In The 1984 Film and The 1989 Ghostbusters II
Adult film star Ron Jeremy was the uncredited man behind a barricade in one scene. The adult star is standing in the crowd that looks on as the Firehouse explodes following the Containment Unit being shut down. And to save money on voice actors, Ivan Reitman decided to voice the scary Zuul, The Gatekeeper. All My Children star John De Bello played Patrolman Matthews. And five years later when it came to making the pretty lackluster Ghostbusters II, none other than Game of Thrones’ Max von Sydow was the uncredited voice of bad guy, Vigo. And Ivan Reitman? In the second movie he voiced The Slimer, nicknamed by cast and crew as “Onionhead”. Still in money saving mode.
9. When The 1984 Movie Was First Released, A Trailer Provided A 1-800 Number To Call
According to IMDb’s Ghostbuster Trivia Page, canny Ivan Reitman had a brilliant idea when the film first came out. In the middle of the film’s initial release, he put out a trailer, which was basically the commercial the Ghostbusters use in the movie. In the movie, the number on the screen is a fake “555” number. But, in the trailer it is replaced with a 1-800 number. People got through to a recording of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd saying something like, “Hi. We’re out catching ghosts right now.” The trick worked big time. The number got 1,000 calls per hour, 24 hours a day, for six weeks. When the 30th Anniversary re-release came out, Sony used a similar trick, using a real “212” (New York) number with a prerecorded message.
8. A Lot Of The Scenes In The 1984 Movie Were Improvised
The famous party scene in which a nerdy Rick Moranis as Louis, cavorts around and is then chased by dog-like Zuul, The Gatekeeper, was almost completely improvised as they filmed. Rick Moranis is winging it, even down to seemingly embarrassing details about his friends’ carpet cleaning business. And Bill Murray cracked people up on set with ad-libbed lines. “We came. We saw. We kicked its a**” was one of his, as was: “Why worry? Each one of us is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.” Our favorite? On confronting Sigourney Weaver as Zuul, he says: “Let’s show this prehistoric b*tch how we do things downtown.”
7. Dan Aykroyd Referred To Slimer As The Ghost Of John Belushi
In the original movie, Slimer was played both in animation/special effects and by a cast member in a costume for some shots. The creature was so smelly that it was referred to as “Onionhead”. Dan Aykroyd had planned the 1984 movie as a vehicle for both John Belushi (who died in 1982) and himself. Aykroyd and Belushi had worked together on Saturday Night Live and in films such as the iconic Blues Brothers, in 1980. When it came to fashioning the smelly, comic Slimer in the original film, Aykroyd referred to him as “The Ghost of John Belushi”, and based Slimer on Belushi’s character in 1978’s Animal House.
6. Despite It Being Not All That Great, Ghostbusters II Was A Big Hit In 1989
They all returned for Ghostbusters II. Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Rick Moranis were all there. Ivan Reitman was on hand to direct. IMDb pronounced it just “OK”, with a score of 6.5 out of 10. In spite of a budget nearly 4 times as large as the original (some $112 million), the critics were not impressed. But faithful fans rolled up in numbers and the film grossed some $215 million worldwide. Fans were thrilled to hear, “We’re back”. The movie starts with the boys having been plagued by lawsuits and court orders and their once thriving business is bankrupt. They are even doing birthday parties. But then new villains (Max von Sydow as Vigo) and new ghosts appear and the boys are off and running.
5. Dan Aykroyd Believes in Ghosts?
Reports say that part of the reason Aykroyd originally developed the idea for parapsychologists chasing ghosts all around New York was his own admitted fascination with the paranormal. Apparently, when they filmed a scene in a jail for the original movie, Aykroyd was convinced the place was haunted. He’s written A History of Ghosts, and has told The Guardian that he still feels haunted by the ghost of his old friend, John Belushi. And he has also said that when he attended a seance, he saw a trumpet whizzing around in the air. He told Alan Carr, a British talk show host, that he believes.
4. Bad Vibes in 2016? The Remake Nobody Wanted?
Some reports say that Melissa McCarthy was a bit of a diva on set. And then there are fans of the original movie who have launched a “hate” campaign around the new film. On Jimmy Kimmel Live, McCarthy suggested that the people who hate the film are probably 45 year old men living in their mothers’ basements. Still, some uncharitable souls are calling the film ‘the remake nobody asked for’. The trailer on YouTube had over 1 million thumbs downs. Members of the original team, such as Dan Aykroyd, have defended the film. But then, maybe you have to take into account the fact he is also one of its writers and producers. But with the iconic status of the 1984 film, the new version maybe has its work cut out.
3. Sony Has Big Plans For A Ghostbusters Franchise Cinematic Universe
The 2016 film directed by Paul Feig, is female driven. That’s not the end of it. Sony has big plans for the franchise’s future. It has launched Ghost Corps headed by director Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd, to explore an all-male version. Reports are that Joe and Anthony Russo who directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, are on board for that project. There are also reports of an animated version of the films. And while there was a gap of some 27 years between Ghostbusters II and the 2016 film, you can bet fans won’t have to wait that long for a new film.
2. Rick Moranis & Emma Stone Turned Down Roles In The 2016 Movie
While Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver and Ernie Hudson, all rolled up for cameo roles in the movie, Rick Moranis turned them down. The guy took a long break from acting to raise his kids after his wife died. And he told The Hollywood Reporter, he just didn’t see the point of turning up for one day’s work to reprise something he did over 30 years ago. Sadly, Harold Ramis, who played Dr. Egon Spendler in the original film, died in 2014. Reportedly, Birdman star Emma Stone, didn’t feel the new Ghostbusters was right for her and turned down a role in the film. She told Variety that joining a franchise just was not the right thing for her now.
1. The 2016 Official Trailer Got Over 33 Million Views On YouTube
That’s the good news. The bad? With nearly 1 million dislikes, it was one of the most disliked trailers on YouTube as of May, 2016. One thing is for certain: The special effects are fabulous. Hundreds of special and visual effects technicians worked on the film. And with stars such as Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, it’s packed with some of the funniest people around. It’s a bit of a mystery what roles the likes of Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray are playing, but it’s been confirmed that it won’t be the characters from the 1984 film. It’s out on July 15th.