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– by Mark Cook

Ghostbusters has an extremely tried and true fanbase that can be compared to that of the Star Wars fanbase.  The first two movies were extremely entertaining for their time (and spawned subsequent cartoons, toys, and merchandise), while the most recent reboot tanked.  Now that we know July 11, 2020 will bring us Ghostbusters 3, there are some important factors that they must incorporate in order to be successful.

Dry Humor

One of the reasons why the reboot tanked was because it focused on being a comedy.  The 1984 original and its subsequent sequel are generally not deemed in the comedy genre, but succeeded due to its subtle, dry humor.

“Do–Ray–Egon!”  This line always stuck with me as an example of the type of humor that made it successful.  Was it corny?  Of course, but it reflected the time as well as the characters that had been developed.  That is absolutely something that would have come from the geeky, corny Egon Spengler (wonderfully portrayed by the late Harold Ramis).

Conversely, the reboot’s comedy felt forced at times, which missed the whole point. It wasn’t based in the characters, but rather the desire to tell a joke. That goes against what made the original successful.  Characters, action, then comedy.  Bustle released their top examples of the type of humor that made the original a success, which you can see by clicking on the link as a nice reminder, but below is a quick reminder as well.

The original 1984 film earned a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97%, and earned $292 million domestically according to Box Office Mojo (though it is worth noting that RT isn’t entirely reliable when it comes to rating films that came out before the site did), while Ghostbusters II (1989) earned a poor showing with Rotten Tomatoes at only 53%, but still earned $112 million, and the most recent reboot earned a 74% from Rotten Tomatoes and domestically earned only $121 million in 2016.  What is important to remember is that even though the reboot earned nine million dollars more than the 1989 sequel, there was also a 27-year difference, so inflation needs to be taken into account. The 1989 sequel may not have performed as well as the original, but it still carries a cult classic following because they excelled with…

Storyline and Casting

Our very own Joseph Jammer Medina reported last week on the most recent casting and character news which has revealed that this cast will be much younger:

“UNNAMED (LEAD BOY 2) To play 12 years old. Slender, pale, dark hair, piercing blue eyes, aquiline features, high cheekbones, withdrawn. He’s prodigious — bright, witty, stubborn, and remains playful in spite of hardship. He is also a brilliantly quick thinker under pressure, is at ease with technology, and has a high facility for problem-solving.”

“UNNAMED (LEAD GIRL 2): To play 13 years old. Fun-loving, a bit of an airhead. Always curious, haunted, charmed, dazed.”

“Sony and Jason Reitman are also currently casting two of the young leads which include the roles a 13-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl. The unnamed teenage boy character is described as a conspiracy theorist that is really into fantasy. The pre-teen girl certainly sounds like a Jason Reitman character, for sure, a science kid that has trouble connecting with others on an emotional level, understanding feelings and not be aware how hurtful her comments can be.”

While my colleagues Jammer and Fox Troilo are not fans of this approach, it could possibly work if done correctly. I have a feeling they are going for a Stranger Things-vibe in order to capitalize on the show’s success as they are somewhat similar when it comes to tone.  I mean look at the current Google Trends results for Stranger Things over the past year:

Viewings of the series are still relatively high and even though it has taken a little dip, I have a feeling it will spike prior to the new season coming out in July, but capitalizing on the type of tone and success of the show could definitely help as the two worlds have major similarities.  While the casting of younger characters could work, they also have to be sure that it doesn’t draw too many comparisons to the Netflix show.  How could this possibly work while also appeasing the fans of the original two films?  Well, the young group would need some mentors…

RELATED — Ghostbusters: Rumored Character Breakdowns Hit

The Original Cast

Listen, whether you like the first two films or not, the casting was amazing.  Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudon, Sigourney Weaver, and Rick Moranis were all notable actors in the 80s, but many also had a hand in the writing, or direction of the film.  Something that fans have been hoping for is another Ghostbusters movie with the original cast.  They need to be more than cameos, but an actual intricate part of the story.  The passing of the torch if you will. This may be more easily said than done as the status of the cast — most notably Bill Murray — is up in the air. Plus, Ernie Hudson has recently stated that there hasn’t been official discussions of him jumping on board yet.

Now this doesn’t mean that it won’t happen, and maybe they are playing it close to the chest, but in order for the movie to succeed, and connect to the original two, they must bring back to original cast.

Ghostbusters 3 can be successful, but in order to win over nostalgic fans and new viewers alike, they must focus on the dry humor, a connected story, and go all out to bring back the former cast.  What do you think?  Are you already assuming the film will tank, or do you expect it to be better than at least the reboot?  What does the film need in order to succeed?  Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!

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Sources: Bustle, Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Mojo , LRMonline