On March 22, 2024, we will get our fifth film in the Ghostbusters movie series. Also known as Ghostbusters IV and the sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Frozen Empire will be the third Ghostbusters movie in eight years and the second in three years. In the 1980s, there were two Ghostbusters movies in five years, and those stories weren’t exactly left open-ended or in need of a reboot – given the reverence for the first film.
Regardless, reboots, remakes, and sequels are the in-things for Hollywood studios right now, and so we’ll be getting another Ghostbusters. While this introduction certainly skews towards the skeptical, Ghostbusters is still beloved, a bankable name at the box office, and can be graded a good film regardless of the above if the writing holds up. So, without much by way of a sci-fi comedy competitor, perhaps we could do with a Frozen Empire.
A legendary movie that still holds up
The original Ghostbusters is hailed as one of the all-time greats for many reasons – including many that go beyond the realms of filmmaking. The marketing, for example, was superb and helped greatly by the famed No-Ghost Sign created by the late artist Michael Gross. Mystery was the aim of the game, with the teaser trailer only featuring the logo and completely avoiding mention of the cast, and a toll-free telephone number was available to call.
Slimer can also be pointed to as evidence of its legacy. The green gooey blob with a huge mouth and flailing arms was so popular that it even got its own spin-off cartoon and slot game. Among the top online slots, Ghostbusters: Triple Slime continues to draw in fans of the franchise. In the game, the original cast is reunited with Slimer and the infamous Stay Puff Marshmallow Man and spun to the backing track of the movie.
Of course, that song by Ray Parker Jr. is another element that has enabled Ghostbusters to remain so well-known. As our review grades, it’s a top-class movie that holds up to this day, and not adjusted for inflation, the 1984 flick is the highest earner at the worldwide box office. The Numbers records it as earning $296 million on a $30 million budget. The 2016 reboot comes in second with $229 million from a $144 million budget.
The direct sequel did manage to draw in $126 million five years after the first film, and adjusted for inflation, it would easily be the clear second only to Ghostbusters. Either way, the box-office returns have diminished with each installment. Even with Ghostbusters: Afterlife receiving more praise – generally speaking – than the reboot from five years prior, its box-office return wasn’t as high. That said, it did cost nearly half as much to make at $75 million.
A bounceback worth jumping on?
Ghostbusters was such a good film and continues to be held in such high regard that even three subsequent films that didn’t match its quality haven’t tarnished the brand enough. Having said that, Metacritic only holds a 71/100 Metascore. Ghostbusters II does then sink to 56/100, and then there was both a lot of scepticism around a reboot in 2016 as well as people wanting to back the sex-flip of the cast. Either way, the 2016 reboot sits at 60/100.
Coming across with more reverence for the original movies and treating the original characters with far more respect than the reboot, Ghostbusters: Afterlife received praise in our review. Many elements came together well enough, but critics were rather soured on the outing, landing it a 45/100 score. However, Afterlife collected a 7.7/10 from users, while the 2016 reboot still sits at 2.8/10.
Both of the recent Ghostbusters outings can generously be considered as mixed bags in the eyes of audiences and critics, but with the distinctly more positive fan response – and box-office haul from a relatively small budget – for Afterlife, it seems as though momentum is going in the right direction. A $204 million return on a $75 million budget will have been the deciding factor for the studio (Sony Pictures), of course, but now there can at least be optimism to build further.
After all, the Ghostbusters setting could be vast. There are all manner of ghosts, poltergeists, and other supernatural beings that can come into play, tap into different themes, and provoke different comedic moments to make further sequels work well. Plus, with the original cast reprising its role alongside the likes of Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon will only help to keep bringing back fans of the originals.
Now that a reboot and a third part already exist, it can be argued that we do need Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. There’s still a great deal of intrigue in the classic movies and overall, the series deserves another film that can win over the masses and offer another comedic battle with the supernatural.
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