Ghostbusters franchise co-creator and producer Dan Aykroyd admits to encountering “a little conflict” with director Paul Feig on his 2016 reboot but says all issues raised in the making of that film are “in the past.” Aykroyd, who co-founded Sony-based Ghost Corps with original franchise director Ivan Reitman to exclusively shepherd Ghostbusters films, has long defended the reboot led by Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, but earlier publicly blasted Feig for spending too much when the reboot went millions over budget in additional photography — costs that worsened the expensive film’s poor box office performance in the summer of 2016.
“Great film. Really good film. Those girls were superb,” Aykroyd said on the Joe Rogan Experience when talk turned to the attempted franchise revival. “But I should have been there as a producer watching costs a little more.”
Feig’s Ghostbusters reportedly cost more than $140 million to produce, a number inflated when Feig shot material Aykroyd and Reitman argued was unnecessary.
“Paul Feig and I, and Ivan, we had our little conflicts over things we didn’t think would work, why shoot it, why spend the money? But you know, he’s a director. We’ve got to have faith,” Aykroyd said. “So there was a little conflict there, and I’ve spoken about it before, but all that’s in the past. I love it, I think they’re all great in it. Really, he treated the movie with a tribute kind of legacy, respect, and there were some great new spirits in there. And the girls were great.”
When appearing on Britain’s Channel 4 in June 2017 — one year after Ghostbusters earned just $229 million worldwide — Aykroyd praised the “wonderful” cast and said he was “really happy” with the movie, but “it cost too much.”
“And Sony does not like to lose money, they don’t,” Aykroyd continued. “It made a lot of money around the world but just cost too much, making it economically not feasible to do another one. So that’s too bad.”
Pressed to elaborate, Aykroyd said of Feig, “He didn’t shoot scenes we suggested to him and several scenes that were going to be needed and he said ‘Nah, we don’t need them.’ Then we tested the movie and they needed them and he had to go back. About $30 to $40 million in reshoots. So he will not be back on the Sony lot any time soon.”
That towering figure was later refuted by Sony, who told Deadline Aykroyd misspoke. According to the studio, reshoots cost between $3 million and $4 million.
In June, Feig participated in a director’s panel at Ghostbusters Fan Fest alongside Ghostbusters/Ghostbusters II director Ivan Reitman and son Jason Reitman, who is now filming Ghostbusters 2020, a sequel to his father’s films ignoring the new continuity established in Feig’s reboot. There the younger Reitman publicly thanked Feig for “kicking down the door on what a Ghostbuster and who a Ghostbuster can be” despite triggering harsh reactions over the decision to reboot the franchise with an all-woman team.
Feig earlier wrote on Twitter he’s “very open” to GB20 but admitted he was “also sad that our 2016 team may not get to bust again.”
“We all are,” Feig added of a cast that included Chris Hemsworth as dimwitted secretary and wannabe Ghostbuster Kevin. “We’re forever proud of our movie.” Feig has since said he hopes to answer the call for a sequel.
Reitman’s GB20 will star Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon and Paul Rudd alongside Aykroyd, who confirmed his on-screen participation in his interview with Joe Rogan. GB20 opens July 10, 2020.