Ghostbusters, the Ivan Reitman-directed supernatural comedy starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Harold Ramis, released 36 years ago today on June 8, 1984. Following four New York ghost-catchers — Peter Venkman (Murray), Ray Stantz (Aykroyd), Winston Zeddemore (Hudson) and Egon Spengler (Ramis) — who set out to rid New York City of spooks, specters, and other paranormal pests, Ghostbusters pits the rookie crew against interdimensional deity Gozer The Destructor (Slavitza Jovan) after hauntee Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) hires the smarmy Venkman and the so-called Ghostbusters who ain't afraid of no ghosts.
The second highest-grossing movie of 1984 behind only the Eddie Murphy starring Beverly Hills Cop — which prevented Murphy from suiting up as a Ghostbuster alongside Aykroyd and John Belushi per Aykroyd's original plans — Ghostbusters grossed over $282 million, topping other hits including Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins and The Karate Kid.
Reitman, who also directed 1989's Ghostbusters II, previously recalled Aykroyd's original Ghostbusters treatment was "frankly impossible" to accomplish — particularly in the 1980s. "But it had this really brilliant idea at its core, which is: Here are a bunch of people looking very much like firemen, doing this important job, and that ghosts existed and it was possible to catch them," Reitman told Rolling Stone in 2016, ahead of the Paul Feig-directed reboot set outside the original canon.
On the enduring legacy of Ghostbusters — which will live again when Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a sequel to Reitman's two films directed by son Jason Reitman, releases into theaters next March after being pushed from its previous July 10 bow — Reitman credited its success to the concept of a funny ghost story and its starring foursome, who were joined by Annie Potts, William Atherton, and Rick Moranis.
"Remarkably, it worked as a family film. I mean kids are all worried about death and worried about those kinds of ghost-like things. By watching Ghostbusters, there's a sense that you can control this, that you can mitigate it somehow and it doesn't have to be that frightening," Reitman said. "It became this movie that parents liked to bring their kids to — they could appreciate it on different levels but still watch it together. There are very few films where you can do that as a family. I think it's really well made. I know that's a pat on my own back [laughs]. It's carefully made despite how quickly we had to make it."
"We all got lucky," added Reitman. "Sometimes magic occurs — and magic did occur when that movie got made."
Sony Pictures recently postponed plans to celebrate Ghostbusters Day, held annually on June 8, and will honor the film's 36th anniversary at a later date.
36 years ago today saw the general release of one of the greatest supernatural comedy films of all time. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! 👻 pic.twitter.com/pYupXQ6lCd— Lord Arse! 🕹️ (@Lord_Arse) June 8, 2020
Happy 36th anniversary to Ghostbusters! Released June 8, 1984.#ghostbusters #anniversary #whoyougonnacall #haroldramis #danaykroyd #erniehudson #billmurray #slimer #staypuft #ivanreitman #afterlife #ghostcorps #sony pic.twitter.com/6anTdS7v6y— Ghostbusters News (@GBNewsdotcom) June 8, 2020
Today is GHOSTBUSTERS DAY!
36 Years Ago (June 8th 1984) Ghostbusters Was Officially Released in Theaters. (6/7/84 in Westwood)June 8, 2020
Ghostbusters: Afterlife reunites the original cast alongside franchise newcomers Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, and Paul Rudd. The new movie opens March 5, 2021.
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