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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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'Ghostbusters 3': A sequel that will happen over Bill Murray's dead body?

Bill_murray You could argue that Hollywood's sequel mania really began in earnest in 1989, when the box-office grosses started piling up for both "Ghostbusters 2" and "Lethal Weapon 2," proving that there was no good reason -- from the business end of the equation -- why you had to come up with an original idea for a blockbuster movie when you could just milk something that had already worked. "Lethal Weapon" went on to a long and happy sequel life.

But Sony has never been able to mount another installment in the "Ghostbusters" franchise -- though you can't say it hasn't been for lack of trying. It feels as if every time I turn around, I read a story about how sequel efforts are moving ahead with another round of screenwriters at work, trying to figure out how to spin something off from the landmark 1984 comedy that ushered in an entire era of "Men in Black"-style comic special effects films.

If there's always one fly in the ointment, it's Bill Murray. Even though pretty much everyone else involved with the project seems to have a vested interest in making a "Ghostbusters 3," Murray, who is nothing if not an iconoclastic free spirit, keeps saying -- no way, Jose.

That doesn't mean that Sony couldn't just write him out of the movie, although some recent stories have argued that Murray, along with his fellow original stars, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, have veto power over any new project moving ahead.

But everyone seems to want his blessing. But bless his heart, Murray seems to feel the same way about sequels that I do: that with rare exception (and yes, Geoff Boucher, I'm willing to admit that "The Dark Knight" is a worthy exception), studio sequels are almost always more dutiful than inspired. In New York, promoting his new film, "Get Low," Murray laid it on the line. Asked if "Ghostbusters 3" was ever going to happen, he replied:

"No, it's ridiculous. That's an absolutely -- that's just a horrible rumor. It's like illegitimate children in Antarctica, it's ridiculous.... Mind you, we only made two, and the first one was still the better one, so another one wouldn't seem to be any better. The studio wants to make it because they can re-create the franchise and put new Ghostbusters in it. That's what it's about."

If you're laying odds, I'd say the odds of Murray giving his blessing to a new "Ghostbusters" sequel are about as good as the odds of Sandra Bullock getting back together with Jesse James.

Photo: Bill Murray smoking a cigar at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am earlier this year. Credit: Dan Honda / Contra Costa Times/MCT

 

 
Comments () | Archives (29)

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Hollywood likes sequels because Hollywood talent is largely devoid of imagination and originality. Of course this is a direct result of the dumbing-down of America. I fully expect that within the next 20 years the typical movie will consist of this dialogue: like you know, like yeah you know like...I'm going in...cover me.

Please do not ruin Ghostbusters. It is a totally fantastically bland film with comedy and humor that simply cannot be recreated with even the best of actors today. Murray, Ramis, Akroyd, and Winston Stance cannot be replaced. Ghostbusters was one of my top three favorite cartoons as a kid.

I order you to part to the nearest parallel dimension....!

I agree with Murray that GB2 wasn't nearly as good as GB1, but I disagree that all sequels suck. Enough time has gone by and the world has changed sufficiently that a GB3 could be as fresh and entertaining as GB1. First of all, current effects capabilities would certainly make the ghosts a lot more interesting to the younger audience. But, more importantly, the story of three aging, reticent Ghostbusters being called back to duty would certainly resonate with a lot Baby Boomers who saw the first film. It all boils down to the writing rather than whether or not the idea of another film makes sense. Of course, a Ghostbusters film without Bill Murray would have no chance of being a blockbuster movie.

". . . the odds of Sandra Bullock getting back together with Jesse James."

Actually, if you talk to divorce lawyers, they'll tell you the odds on 'reunification' aren't all that bad.

they should do it with an all new 20-something cast, but make bill murray a big giant angry funny possessed ghost. he could come back from the dead and wreak havoc on the town with his life's knowledge of ghost behavior. the new hot young 20 something ghost busters could visit dan aykroyd in a nursing home (cameo) to find out how to stop his old friend. no one else from the original should be allowed anywhere near it including writers, directors and producers.

jeffsd, that is an absolutely awful idea. As this point I must assume you are a powerful producer.

I'm in favor of a reboot. There are many talented funny young people out there. And the special effects would be spectacular. The originals usually scoff at the thought of a remake. If it's done well, and sometimes it is, it serves to enhance the original.

Sadly "Zombie Land" may be the closest we come to getting GB3. I actually enjoy GB2, but it also falls in that huge nostalgic phase of my life called adolescence. Also it's Raymond Stance and Winston Zedmore. The actor's name is Ernie Hudson. Show the everyman ghostbuster the respect he deserves.

I've seen interviews with Murray, especially on YouTube where he seems into the idea if the conditions are right. If I did the script I would bring the old cast back together separately as an interview series. Then some apocalyptic event would happen involving ghosts rendered with modern wizardry. The cast would don their gear and be sucked into an astral plane. There they would be rendered as gratuitous hero characters. Murray with long flowing black hair and a mustache, Aykroyd with a washboard chest, Ramis as a blond Nordic god (yeah). Weaver would appear as a beautiful dignified woman unless Murray is looking at her, when she transforms into an hourglass stereotype. The ghosts here would be live action. Awesomeness ensues and in the end they return to their present selves.

Sequels are just slop for the pigs that are the general moviegoing public.

 
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