This past Saturday, the Ghostbusters franchise turned 35 years old. To mark the 1984 release of this historic horror-comedy (June 8th, 1984), Wizard World presented the Ghostbusters Fan Fest in the Sony Pictures Studio lot in downtown Culver City. Over 1,000 people, from all walks of life, all creeds and colors, filled the Sony studio back lot, with some Con-goers traveling in as far as Australia, Egypt and Brazil, all for the love of busting ghost.
Coming in at a little over three-decades long, The Ghostbusters franchise is a touchstone in the lives of many, spanning countless releases through medias such as comic books, videogames, music and, of course, movies. The fan fest operated side-by-side next to the Wizard World signing room, which featured the voice & acting talents of Dave Coulier, Maurice La Marche (The Real Ghostbusters), Slavitza Jovan (Gozer) and Violet Ramis-Stiel (The late Harold Ramis’s daughter) among many more. Unfortunately, while the fan Fest started out with a bang, it soon turned into a flat whimper of a disorganized mess. Lack of variety in activities, spars vendors (with the strange absence of T-shirts and hats), and long, unorganized lines that confusingly moved about the lot like soldiers marching in rows, made for a sour taste in the ectoplasm. The worst of it being the pricing class system, wherein some fest goers paid upwards of $1,500 USD to guarantee autographs and photo ops with the stars and directors of the movies, only to be ignored and miss-managed. From the grumbling and hmm-hawing of the ticketholders around me, I am sure that many letters will be sent in the future, possibly asking for refunds. But bad planning and line management aside, the panels were fantastic; Paranormal Ghost Hunting with Dan Aykroyd and The SFX of Ghostbusters being among my favorite.
The best panel of the night had to go to the Directors panel and the news about the new Ghostbusters movie that is filming this year and set for release late 2020. Jason Reitman, the son of Director Irvin Reitman (1984 Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II), was on stage to discuss the highly anticipated sequel to his father’s 1980’s work. The directors panel consisted of all three directors of the Ghostbusters movies; Ivan Reitman (GB 1&2), Paul Feig (GB 2016) and Jason Reitman (GB20). Reitman (Jason) announced that the original cast of Ghostbusters 1 and 2 have read the screenplay to his new movie, tentatively titled GB20, and so far, they have all signed up to ‘suit’ up. Dan Aykroyd will act as executive producer in addition to staring in the movie alongside Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver (who broke the news of the original cast being included a day before the Fan Fest on her twitter…sneaky), but the verdict is still out on Rick Moranis. Jason Reitman was also adamant that GB20 will not be a re-boot, but will be a totally new story in the series, set in the original universe. As he put it towards the end of the panel, “GB20 will be my love letter to my father’s legacy and to all of the fans of Ghostbusters worldwide!”
Reitman also hinted that, while the original cast has signed on, GB20 will center around a family of Ghostbusters. “I had a vision,” Reitman said, “and I don’t know how it came to me, but I saw a little girl… a little 12 year old girl, strapping on a proton pack. That image has stuck with me for years now.”
As the Fan fest was winding down, both Reitman’s were center stage for a newly discovered surprise; unedited footage (dailes) of the original Ghostbusters film found in a storage house in Kansas. It was a treat to see the outtakes (six in total) and after every clip, Ivan Reitman would share memories and anecdotes while his son playfully ribbed him on why he didn’t use all those great lines. As the festival was coming to a close, musician Ray Parker Jr. and his band treated the audience to a full show that kicked off with his signature song, ‘Ghostbusters’.