‘Ghostbusters’ back from the great beyond?

Sept. 05, 2008 | 12:46 a.m.

The Ghostbusters crew OK, I can’t resist: Who you gonna call?

Believe it or not, the answer might be the Ghostbusters. This just in from a Variety article:

Columbia Pictures is getting serious about scaring up a new installment of its blockbuster “Ghostbusters” franchise.

The studio has set “The Office” co-exec producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky to write a script for a film designed to bring back together the original cast of Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson.

Studio would not comment on the development and has been mum on recent rumors that there was interest in making another installment of the franchise.

The scribes just wrote “Year One,” a comedy that was directed by Ramis. Ramis with Aykroyd wrote the first two installments of the films. Ivan Reitman directed both the 1984 original and the sequel that was released in 1989. The close proximity between the writers and original Ghostbuster Ramis is evidence that the ghost chasers have sparked to the idea of returning.

“Ghostbusters” was Columbia’s highest grossing film ever, until it was beaten by “Men in Black” and then “Spider-Man.” An attempt to make a third installment of the franchise was stymied in the dealmaking stage. Sources said so much gross was pledged to the participants that it was next to impossible for the studio to make any money on a third installment.

No deals will be made with the original cast until the script is ready, but the gross percentage will certainly be an issue. Sony has a standing policy not to allow more than 25% of first dollar gross out the door.

There was a lot of talk down at Comic-Con International about a new “Ghostbusters” movie and it seemed like the natural place to announce it considering Aykroyd and Hudson were scheduled to appear at a panel promoting the upcoming video game based on the 1980s paranormal comedy. But the two stars ended up not appearing (it was probably the biggest cancellation at this year’s Con; I know I was bummed because I had an interview scheduled with Aykroyd on site).

On that “Ghostbusters” video game, Film Junk had a recent piece saying that its publishing status is in flux, and a scheduled Halloween release is no longer an option. Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the first film, so a delay will at least dovetail with the mandatory tie-in celebration.

Aykroyd has been pushing for a new “Ghostbusters” film for years now and has floated the idea of doing a computer-generated version (a la “Star Wars: Clone Wars” or “Beowulf”). If it were an animated film, that would certainly lower the cast costs that the Variety article refers to.

— Geoff Boucher

“Ghostbusters” photo from the Los Angeles Times archive and courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

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