Ghostbusters 3 is happening.
Columbia has hired Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky to write a script for a possible third film. This would make GB3 the first one not written by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. Eisenberg and Stupnitsky aren’t the worst possible choices, as they have mainstream comedy cred as executive producers of The Office (the less good US one). And they wrote Year One, the script Harold Ramis recently directed for Judd Apatow, so Columbia isn’t going completely off the reservation on this one.
But beyond that connection, little to nothing is known about the involvement of the original principles. Dan Aykroyd recently said positive things about ‘sharp’ young writers on the script, which bodes well. A site called Pajiba claims that Ramis didn’t know that Eisenberg and Stupnitsky were working on a script and threw a shit-fit when he found out and hated what they wrote. In turn, Columbia hates all of Ramis’ ideas, according to the site.
What’s the real story? The rumors have been bubbling for a while, but the Eisenberg/Stupnitsky team were confirmed in a trade break today. I take it to mean that either the rumors were getting out of hand or Columbia’s ready to move ahead with it all. If Aykroyd is saying nice things about these guys, and he’s worked with Ramis on the Ghostbusters video game and Ramis has directed a number of episodes of The Office… well, I’m not sure I’m buying all the behind the scenes fighting and weirdness. I’m sure there’s jockeying going on for control and credit, but the duo from The Office being hired does make this feel like a ‘keeping it in the family’ sort of situation.
I imagine there’s almost no chance of getting Bill Murray back – he simply doesn’t need the money and picks his projects based on his own internal barometer, which has shown little to no interest in being Venckman again – and the rumors have been swirling around about a new generation (a concept that has been kicked around for decades, since Chris Farley was alive), so I bet we’ll see some of the originals return to essentially hand off the franchise to younger kids.
Look, this is a bad idea. There’s no getting around that. Going back to the well decades later has been proven again and again to be trouble. I already know the trajectory of this one: grumbling, some hope thanks to good casting, a leaked script review that will give more hope but only because the reviewer doesn’t know what he’s talking about/is a plant, a set visit where nerds like me get swayed simply because we’re touching proton packs and talking to guys in Ghostbusters outfits and then the eventual release, where we’ll all spend a weekend convincing ourselves it wasn’t terrible before finally admitting that yeah, it sucked dick. It’s called The Crystal Skull Syndrome.
One major way to avoid this is to NOT REMAKE THE FIRST FILM, the mistake that Ghostbusters II made. Don’t start with the reforming of Ghostbusters or a new franchise trying to get off the ground. Start with Ghostbusters as a thriving business. Start from a new point, and don’t make the new Ghostbusters clones of the original. Make it all new, using only the incredibly resilient concept that Aykroyd and Ramis used in the first film. I know this advice will not be heeded and Ghostbusters III will probably be an almost beat for beat redo of the first, but this is the only way to possibly salvage this suspect project. And this project will be suspect no matter who is involved or how big the budget is.