Ghostbusters: Afterlife was a breath of fresh air when it came out in 2021. Originally directed by Jason Reitman, the series was a return to form that didn’t pretend the previous films didn’t exist – well, at least not Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II – and added a fresh chapter to the franchise. The latest reboot only banked $204 million, though considering that it came out in the middle of the pandemic likely means that most families weren’t interested in returning to the theaters so soon. It helps that the production budget was only $70 million; thus Ghostbusters: Afterlife was a box-office success. A sequel was immediately greenlit, with Jason Reitman returning. Well, until now.
Deadline has confirmed that Gil Kenan will now step into the director’s chair. The good news is that Kenan helped co-write the previous installment with Jason Reitman, who will still be on board as a producer. Kenan made a statement once the news was made about his hiring regarding Ghostbusters: Afterlife:
“It’s an absolute honor to pick up the proton and step behind the camera for the next chapter of the Spengler family saga. I just wish I could go back to 1984 and tell the kid in the sixth row of the Mann Valley West that one day he was going to get to direct a Ghostbusters film.”
In terms of the cast, the only name that’s been confirmed for the sequel is McKenna Grace, who played the granddaughter to Harold Ramis’ Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. There are rumors that Carrie Coon and Paul Rudd will return as well, though nothing has been confirmed just yet. The story of Afterlife was quite similar to the original Ghostbusters, so it would be wise for the sequel to continue respecting the legacy, yet carving its own path when it comes to the franchise. It’s currently unknown what exactly the plot for Afterlife 2 is, though it sounds as if they’re putting the finishing touches on the script. Ernie Hudson revealed in an interview with ComicBook.com that he had read one version and was “very happy with it”:
“I did read a version. I’m pretty sure they committed to doing another one. I’m very happy with it, but I also know this is early on. Jason has been incredible, and I really just love and appreciate him. I’m so thankful to be able to work with him. So, I’m excited about it but I haven’t negotiated anything, I haven’t, and I never assume anything. I’m still assuming that will be there.”
The sequel is expected to hit theaters in December 2023. It should be interesting to see how Afterlife 2 fares in theaters this time around. At the end of the day, the 2016 reboot did make slightly more – $229.1 million – than Afterlife. However, the huge difference is that the 2016 version had a production tag of $144 million, thus ultimately making the film a blockbuster bomb. It lost the studio a reported $70 million as an end result. During the release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, it seems as if the studios wanted to pretend the 2016 version didn’t exist as a box set without the Paul Feig film being released.
That film was met with controversy upon arrival, as fans seemed to genuinely hate Ghostbusters the moment the all-female cast was announced. Granted, the terrible trailers didn’t help, but the first attempt at a reboot flopped miserably. In retrospect, the 2016 Ghostbusters isn’t the worst thing you’ll ever see, but it’s essentially the same formula as the original film, but with an all-female cast. It does seem as if the latest reboot managed to escape the shadow of the 2016 feature, though the sequel will really define how big the franchise is with modern audiences.Paul Rudd
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