“He slimed me” – Dr. Peter Venkman
Ghostbusters has had an interesting and influential run as a franchise.
The first one is considered a childhood treasure by a generation of fanboys… while the last one supposedly ruined the childhood of that same group of passionate enthusiasts. And then there’s the one in the middle that no one seems to talk about—it’s the best one, by the way (controversial opinion alert!)
However you slice it, Ghostbusters is one of the funniest and most creative film series of all time. I mean it must have something special going for it: how many franchises manage to bring together a comedy dream team like that—and do it again over 30 years later!
So get those proton packs on and be careful not to cross streams—here are 38 paranormally funny facts about the Ghostbusters franchise.
38. It Runs in the Family
It’s almost as if it were Dan Aykroyd’s destiny to make Ghostbusters, as the obsession with the paranormal runs deep in his family. All the way from his great-grandfather to his father, the Aykroyd men have consistently been investigating or trying to communicate—legitimately—with the spirit world. They passed this on to Dan, and thankfully he saw the potential for a film in all of this instead and made Ghostbusters. Later on, he starred in a series called Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, created by his brother, Peter Aykroyd.
37. Mole People
Even though Aykroyd had a finished script before the film was greenlit by Columbia Pictures, it was far from the finished product they ended up making. The final version was written by Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ivan Reitman during a two-week long writing session in the basement of Aykroyd’s house in Martha’s Vineyard.
36. Ghost Stories
Aykroyd’s inspiration for the tone and feel of the film came from the ghost projects of comedic greats like Bob Hope, Abbott and Costello, and the Bowery Boys.
Abbott and Costello
35. The Original Dream Team
One of the factors that made Ghostbusters so iconic was the amazing cast that Aykroyd put together, a comedic dream team comprising himself, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. However, the original choice for the cast was just as impressive and would have seen Aykroyd team up with John Belushi and Eddie Murphy, instead.
34. That’s A Lot of Zero’s
A major issue that screenwriters face is that they never think of the potential budget needed to support the script as they write, and instead just let their imagination fly and write down any idea that comes to mind. That’s exactly what happened with the first draft of Aykroyd’s Ghostbusters script—it was estimated that it would have cost $300 million dollars to make.
33. To Infinity and Beyond!
Not only was the cast different in the first draft of the script, but the tone was darker, it took place in the future, and there was a lot more ghost-busting going on. Aykroyd wanted to see multiple Ghostbusters teams fight multiple ghosts not only on Earth but in different dimensions. That $300 million dollar budget is starting to make sense.
32. Different Approach
Rick Moranis was perfect as nosy neighbor Louis Tully, so it’s hard to imagine he was the second choice to play the part. Originally, Aykroyd offered the role to John Candy, but when Candy wanted to change the character to a German man with a thick German accent who has two dogs–German shepherds, of course—Aykroyd pulled the offer and gave it to Moranis, who loved the part.
31. One and Only
The iconic Ectomobile that the Ghostbusters drive around in was truly one of a kind, as they didn’t have any backup Ectomobiles for the entirety of the shoot. The vehicle ended up breaking down during production, but luckily they had already shot everything they needed with it.
30. Movie Magic
With such a short amount of time to put the movie together, the visual effects team had to improvise a lot on set to get certain shots. At one point, a green, spray painted peanut was used for Slimer to get a shot of the ghost in a hotel scene, spinning around a chandelier. The end result was quick and blurry, but it made the final cut of the film.
29. Listen Closely
Reitman never got an acting credit for his appearance in Ghostbusters, but he should have at least got a vocal credit—if that’s a thing—for providing his voice in the movie. He made the sound effects for Slimer when the ghost is eating food, and provided the voice for Zuul when it possesses Dana.
28. Is This Edible?
For the end of the movie, when the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man blows up and covers everyone in marshmallow, they weren’t able to get their hands on enough of the candy—and what a waste of perfectly good marshmallow that would have been—so instead, they used a boatload of shaving cream.
27. You Gotta Have Faith
Reitman was terrified during the first screening of Ghostbusters for an audience, as he was worried that the movie would be too absurd and that certain jokes would be lost on an audience. His concerns were obviously unnecessary, as the audience loved it and it became a massive success.
26. Put It on the DVD Cover
Ghostbusters was nominated for two Academy Awards, for Best Original Song and Best Visual Effects. It is the only one in the franchise to receive this honor.
25. Let’s Go Smash Some Ghosts!
The original title for the movie was Ghost Smashers and is one they almost had to use when they found out that Universal Studios already made a short-lived TV show called The Ghost Busters, in 1975. They were able to keep the name Ghostbusters—thankfully—as Ghost Smashers just sounds wrong on so many levels.
24. I’ve Heard That One Before
After Huey Lewis turned down an offer to write and perform a theme song for Ghostbusters, they got Ray Parker Jr. instead and asked him to make a song that was “Huey Lewis-esque.” It’s fair to say he accomplished just that, and was later sued by Lewis for plagiarizing his song, “I Want a New Drug.” They settled out of court, but if you listen to both songs, Lewis has a point.
23. Bring Your Kids to Work Day
Ivan’s son, Jason Reitman, and daughter, Catherine Reitman, both appear in Ghostbusters II, with Jason telling the Ghostbusters they’re, “full of crap”, and Catherine playing with a puppy in Egon’s lab. Jason went on to become a director as well, known for films like Juno and Young Adult, while Catherine created and stars in the TV show Workin’ Moms.
22. Inspired By
The popularity of the animated TV series The Real Ghostbusters played a huge part in shaping the final product of Ghostbusters II. Characters appearances were changed to match that of their animated counterparts, adult innuendos were toned down to make the movie more kid-friendly, and Slimer made an appearance because of his popularity on the TV show.
21. What’s This Thing Called Again?
Proton packs are heavily used throughout Ghostbusters, but those words are never actually said in the first film. It’s not until the sequel when the term is finally used in the subway scene.
20. Ghost Cameo
It turns out Slimer appears as himself in the Ghostbusters movies and isn’t playing a character, as he is billed as Slimer in the credits for Ghostbusters II. He must have retired from acting, as his film credits stop there.
19. Unfortunate Record
It’s fair to say that fans of Ghostbusters were not behind the all-female reboot, and made their displeasure known once the first trailer dropped. It quickly became the most disliked movie trailer of all-time on YouTube, and currently sits at over 1 million dislikes on Sony Pictures YouTube channel.
18. Not Another Franchise
Two high profile actresses, Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence, were both considered for roles in the Ghostbusters reboot, but both turned them down because of other movies franchises. Lawrence was wrapped up in filming X-Men: Apocalypse, while Stone simply didn’t want to commit to another franchise after finishing up her role as Gwen Stacey in The Amazing Spider-Man movies.
17. Character Development
In the Ghostbusters reboot, Kevin—played by Chris Hemsworth—was meant to be more apathetic, according to writer Katie Dippold, but Hemsworth decided to improvise the character as more of an idiot, and they went with it. So, in the end, Kevin doesn’t really care about the job, but it’s more to do with stupidity than apathy.
16. Try Something New
The role of Patty Tolan—played by Leslie Jones—was originally written with Melissa McCarthy in mind. However, director Paul Feig realized that he had seen McCarthy in that type of role before—in his own films—and decided to let her try a different character. It ended up being a win-win for Feig, as he kept McCarthy on board and added the mega-funny Jones!
15. New Generation
One of the main reasons why the 2016 Ghostbusters ended up being a reboot and not a sequel was because Feig wanted to bring the concept to a new generation of moviegoers, and give it a fresh start to develop an entirely new franchise. Unfortunately, this version may be one and done.
14. Familiar Faces
The cast of the first two Ghostbusters movies—minus Rick Moranis and Harold Ramis—appeared in the reboot, but in cameo roles as brand new characters and not the ones they were known for. An odd choice, but it helped keep the franchises separate.
13. New but Not Improved
Not only did Ghostbusters get remade, they also updated the catchy “Ghostbusters” song, by Ray Parker Jr. The new version, titled “Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid)” is performed by Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliot.
12. Good Ratings Equals More Money
Out of all three movies, Ghostbusters (1984) is the highest grossing worldwide at $282 million dollars, followed by Ghostbusters (2016) with $229 million and Ghostbusters II at $215 million. The Rotten Tomato scores are in the same order as well, with 97%, 73% and 53% from the critics, respectively.
11. If You Ain’t First, You’re Last
Even though Ghostbusters (2016) outperformed the first two movies opening weekend at the box office, it still wasn’t enough to open number one, a feat that the first two films were able to pull off.
10. Are We Thinking of the Same Movie?
While watching the 2016 version, some people may have noticed that the opening credits say Ghostbusters, but the end credits say Ghostbusters: Answer The Call. That’s because the movie technically has two names to help differentiate it from the original and help the studio catalog it. Why didn’t they just stick with the full version and avoid the confusion? Good question. I don’t have the answer, but it’s a good question.
9. Bad Sign
Back in 2013, Reitman was gearing up to direct a third Ghostbusters movie, titled Ghostbusters: Alive Again that would’ve seen the original cast pass the torch to a new, young group of Ghostbusters. However, after Ramis passed away, and Murray was hesitant to return, Reitman decided to drop the project altogether and let someone else take the reigns.
8. Plans Change
There were plans to make a sequel to the 2016 Ghostbusters movie, but after a poor performance at the box office, the plans were reportedly scrapped. The studio believed they needed to make at least $300 million dollars just to break even, but only got $229 million, leading to a nearly $80 million dollar loss!
7. Two Sides to Every Story
There is still hope for more Ghostbusters films in the future, though, as Reitman revealed plans for an animated movie, but with a twist. The movie would explore the Ghostbusters world but from the point of view of the ghosts. It’s just so crazy it might work! Or, fans will just revolt against that one too, because you can’t please everyone.
6. One Hell of an Idea!
Before it was decided to completely reboot the franchise, there were several ideas thrown around for a potential third movie. One of them came from a script Aykroyd wrote, called Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent, that would have seen the paranormal hunters go to—well—hell. The movie would be very topical today, as the villain of the film was a man named Lou Siffer—get it—who bore a striking resemblance to the President of the United States, Donald Trump! I can already imagine all of the tweets.
5. Who You Gonna Call? Not Bill Murray
As crazy as it may sound, Murray appeared to be far down the list of actors to play Peter Venkman. Aside from the original choice of Belushi, the role was also offered to Chevy Chase and a pre-Batman Michael Keaton before it eventually found its way to Murray.
4. Uncredited Cameo
When Belushi passed away before Ghostbusters was filmed, the role that was originally his ended up going to Murray. However, to honor their beloved friend, they found a way put him in the film, kind of. The character Slimer is apparently based on Belushi and is described by Aykroyd as a “gross-looking, gluttonous, party-guy” apparition. I feel like anyone other than Belushi would be offended if their friends saw them that way.
3. Describe the Movie in Five Words or Less
Director Ivan Reitman was able to sell Ghostbusters to Columbia Pictures with a one-sentence pitch—“Ghost janitors in New York.” The studio was also sold on the comedic trio of Aykroyd, Murray, and Ramis, and the successful comedies Reitman had already made, but it sounds better if they wanted to make the movie just because of those five words.
2. If It Walks Like a Dog, and Barks Like a Dog…
Sigourney Weaver got the part of Dana Barrett without uttering a single word in her audition. For her audition scene, she chose the one where her character gets turned into a dog by Gozer, and began running around the room on all fours and barking at Reitman. I’m surprised they didn’t try to save some money on special effects and just have Weaver do that in the movie, too.
1. Spooky Stuff
The scene in the original where the Ghostbusters are detained in a cell after being arrested was filmed in an actual old jail. While filming there, director Reitman noticed that the film dailies were covered with mysterious, violent scratches that couldn’t be explained by any camera malfunction or other cause. The prison was actually reportedly haunted, and fearing that something worse would happen if they returned to film there again, they cobbled together the usable footage to complete the scene.