Ghostbusters (franchise)

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Ghostbusters (official logo).png
Official franchise logo
Created byDan Aykroyd
Original workGhostbusters (1984)
Films and television
Original series


Animated series
Video game(s)List of video games
Original music

Ghostbusters is an American supernatural comedy franchise created in 1984. Its first installment was the film Ghostbusters, by Columbia Pictures. It centers on a group of eccentric New York City scientists who investigate and capture ghosts for a living. For the film, the franchise licensed action figures, novelizations, and other original Ghostbusters-themed products. After the initial success, they released original material in other fields such as comic books, video games, television series, and several theme park attractions.



Ghostbusters Ectomobile - Cadillac Miller-Meteor


The Ghostbusters use a specialized set of equipment in the 1984 film, and all subsequent Ghostbusters fiction includes similar equipment to aid in the capture and containment of ghosts. In addition to the main technology used in the series, a script draft for Ghostbusters III includes the Ghostbusters developing a machine to transport themselves to an alternate Manhattan to save New York.[1]



Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s)
Original series
Ghostbusters June 8, 1984 Ivan Reitman Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis Ivan Reitman
Ghostbusters II June 16, 1989 (1989-06-16)
Ghostbusters: Afterlife November 19, 2021 (2021-11-19) Jason Reitman Gil Kenan & Jason Reitman
Ghostbusters July 15, 2016 (2016-07-15) Paul Feig Paul Feig & Katie Dippold Amy Pascal and Ivan Reitman

Ghostbusters (1984)[edit]

Ghostbusters, the first film in the series, is a 1984 sci-fi comedy film about three New York City scientists. After they are fired from Columbia University, they start their own business investigating and capturing ghosts. Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, and Ernie Hudson, it was released in the United States on June 8, 1984. It had been made on a US$30 million budget, but it grossed approximately US$240 million in the United States and over US$50 million abroad during its theatrical run, more than the domestic gross of the second Indiana Jones installment, making it the most successful film in America that year (after re-releases), and one of the most successful comedies of the 1980s. The American Film Institute ranked it 28th in its list of the top 100 comedies of all time.[2] IGN voted Ghostbusters the greatest comedy ever in 2005.[3] The TV Channel Bravo ranked Ghostbusters number 28 on their 100 Funniest Movies list in 2006.[4]

Ghostbusters II (1989)[edit]

The second film, Ghostbusters II, was released on June 16, 1989. Taking place five years after the first, the Ghostbusters have lost their credibility due to the amount of property damage they have caused, but identify a new threat to New York City after discovering a river of ectoplasmic slime that reacts to the great deal of negative emotions within the city. Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis, Hudson, Weaver, Potts, and Moranis reprised their roles from the first film, and were joined by Peter MacNicol and Wilhelm von Homburg, among others. After the success of the first film and the animated series The Real Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures pressed the producers to make a sequel. Aykroyd, Ramis, and Reitman were uncomfortable with this at first, as the original film was intended to be conclusive and they wished to work on other projects. Eventually, they agreed and created a script. The sequel earned US$215 million off a US$37 million budget, but received lukewarm reviews compared to the first film.

Ghostbusters (2016)[edit]

The 2016 film Ghostbusters: Answer the Call is a relaunch of the franchise which takes place in an alternate universe,[5][better source needed] featuring a new cast of characters, but follows a similar narrative as the original film. A group of eccentric researchers make discoveries within paranormal incidents with their intentions being to detect and capture ghosts, and protect New York City from those spirits. The film principally features a new cast, starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon as the all-female Ghostbuster team, along with Chris Hemsworth as their male receptionist.[6][7] Additionally, Aykroyd, Murray, Weaver, Hudson and Potts all had small cameo roles. The film was released on July 15, 2016 as Ghostbusters, with the home media released being rebranded to Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.[8] It received mixed reviews, and grossed US$229 million off a US$144 million budget. The film also was subject to controversy on social media in relation to the gender-driven culture war around the time of its release.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)[edit]

A new film serving as a sequel to the original two films, titled Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Ghostbusters: Legacy in some European regions), was revealed in January 2019, with its release planned for July 10, 2020, however it was moved to November 19, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[9] The new film is directed by Jason Reitman, son of original director Ivan Reitman, with a script co-written by himself and Gil Kenan, while Ivan Reitman will serve as a producer. The film is expected to be a direct sequel to the first two films of the franchise, following a single mother and her two children discovering the old Ghostbusters equipment. Among those cast include Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, and Carrie Coon as the sister and brother with their single mother, respectively and Paul Rudd is also cast as a teacher Mr. Grooberson.[10][11][12][13]


In October 2015, Reitman was reported to produce an animated film for Sony Pictures Animation, with Fletcher Moules overseeing the project as both animator and director.[14][15] The film is said to be told from the perspective of ghosts.[16] The film will begin production following the completion and release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife.[17]

In May 2019, Aykroyd announced that he wrote a prequel script with the working title of Ghostbusters High, and that there are two follow-up projects to Ghostbusters: Afterlife in development. The prequel will explore New Jersey during 1969, when the primary characters first met as teenagers. The project is being considered alternatively for a television series, with Jason Reitman involved with its development. Aykroyd says that he envisions the project as a "finale" to the franchise.[18]


Series Season Episodes First released Last released Network(s)
The Real Ghostbusters 7 140 September 13, 1986 October 5, 1991 ABC, Broadcast syndication
Extreme Ghostbusters 1 40 September 1, 1997 December 4, 1997 Broadcast syndication

The Real Ghostbusters (1986–1991)[edit]

From 1986 to 1991, Columbia Pictures Television and DIC Entertainment produced an animated spin-off television series created by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd, entitled The Real Ghostbusters. "The Real" was added to the title due to a dispute with Filmation and its Ghostbusters properties.[19] The series continues the adventures of paranormal investigators Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, Zeddemore, their secretary Melnitz, and their mascot ghost Slimer. The Real Ghostbusters was nominated for an Emmy.[20]

When the show's producers began to see the youth appeal of the character Slimer, he began to be featured more prominently. In 1988, the series was retooled and renamed Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters, and featured an hour-long format with a typical Real Ghostbusters episode leading into a more kid-friendly Slimer! cartoon. As the series progressed, the regular Real Ghostbusters episodes started to become lighter in tone so as not to frighten the growing fanbase of young children.[citation needed] Additionally, the characterizations became more one-dimensional, and the animation became less detailed.[citation needed] More changes went on behind the scenes as well with the departure of writer J. Michael Straczynski.[citation needed] Dave Coulier of Full House fame came on to fill the role of Peter (voiced by Lorenzo Music), Buster Jones took over Winston from Arsenio Hall, and Kath Soucie took on Janine after Laura Summer voiced the role. Straczynski returned to the series temporarily in the 1990 season.[citation needed] The only cast members who remained throughout the entire series were Frank Welker (voice of Stantz and Slimer) and Maurice LaMarche (voice of Spengler). The show was cancelled in 1991.

Extreme Ghostbusters (1997)[edit]

Extreme Ghostbusters was a sequel and spin-off of The Real Ghostbusters that aired in late 1997. The show featured a new team of younger Ghostbusters led by veteran Ghostbuster Egon Spengler, secretary Janine Melnitz, and the ghost Slimer. The premise is similar to the plot of Ghostbusters II. Set years after the end of The Real Ghostbusters, a lack of supernatural activity has put the Ghostbusters out of business. Each has gone his separate way, except for Egon, who still lives in the Firehouse to monitor the containment unit, further his studies, and teach a class on the paranormal at a local college. When ghosts start to reappear, Egon is forced to recruit his four students as the new Ghostbusters. The new Ghostbusters were Kylie Griffin, a genius, expert on the occult, and female counterpart to Egon; Eduardo Rivera, a hip, cynical Latino slacker and counterpart to Peter; Garrett Miller, a wheelchair-bound young athlete and counterpart to Winston; and Roland Jackson, a studious African-American machinery whiz and counterpart to Ray. The show was given the Los Angeles Commission on Disabilities Award for making one of its main characters (Garrett) disabled, but universally relatable.[citation needed]

Ghostbusters: Ecto Force (TBA)[edit]

In June 2016, a new animated series titled, Ghostbusters: Ecto Force, was announced to be in development, with an initial targeted release of early-2018. The series will be set in the year 2050 and follows a new team of Ghostbusters who capture ghosts from around the world.[21] In August 2017, Reitman revealed that the series had been postponed to prioritize development on the planned Ghostbusters animated spin-off film.[22]

Cast and crew[edit]

Principal cast[edit]

List indicator(s)

This section shows characters who will appear or have appeared in three or more films in the series.

  • An empty, dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film, or that the character's official presence has not yet been confirmed.
  •  A indicates an appearance through archival footage.
  •  C indicates a cameo role.
  •  E indicates an appearance not included in the theatrical cut.
  •  P indicates an appearance in onscreen photographs.
  •  U indicates an uncredited appearance.
Characters Original series Animated series Video game Reboot
Ghostbusters Ghostbusters II Ghostbusters:
The Real Ghostbusters Extreme Ghostbusters Ghostbusters:
The Video Game
Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6 Season 7
Peter Venkman Bill Murray[23] Lorenzo Music Dave Coulier Bill Murray
Ray Stantz Dan Aykroyd[24] Frank Welker Dan Aykroyd
Egon Spengler Harold Ramis Harold RamisAP Maurice LaMarche Harold Ramis Bronze head bust
Winston Zeddemore Ernie Hudson[24] Arsenio Hall Buster Jones Ernie Hudson
Janine Melnitz Annie Potts[25] Laura Summer Kath Soucie Pat Musick Annie Potts
Slimer Ivan Reitman
TBA Frank Welker Billy West Troy Baker Adam Ray
Louis Tully Rick Moranis TBA Roger Bumpass
Dana Barrett Sigourney Weaver[26]
Mayor Lenny Clotch David Margulies Aron Kincaid Frank Welker Robert Towers
Hal Smith
Walter Peck William Atherton TBA Neil Ross William Atherton
Gozer the Gozerian Slavitza Jovan Olivia Wilde[27] Silent cameo
Paddi Edwards
Gatekeeper of Gozer
Sigourney Weaver
(possessed form)
Ivan Reitman
Vinz Clortho
Keymaster of Gozer
Rick Moranis
(possessed form)
Ivan Reitman
Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Bill Bryan TBA Intro cameo Frank Welker John Stocker Frank Welker Silent cameo Misc voices CGI parade balloon
Dr. Eleanor Twitty Alice Drummond
Vigo the Carpathian Wilhelm von Homburg Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow
Oscar Barrett William T. Deutschendorf TBA
Hank J. Deutschendorf II
Dr. Janosz Poha Peter MacNicol
Jack Hardemeyer Kurt Fuller
Trevor Spengler Finn Wolfhard
Phoebe Spengler Mckenna Grace
Lucky Celeste O'Connor
Podcast Logan Kim
Callie Spengler Carrie Coon
Mr. Grooberson Paul Rudd
Sheriff Domingo Bokeem Woodbine
Elton Oliver Cooper
Erin Gilbert Kristen Wiig
Abigail "Abby" Yates Melissa McCarthy
Jillian Holtzmann Kate McKinnon
Patty Tolan Leslie Jones
Kevin Beckman Chris Hemsworth
Rowan North Neil Casey
Mayor Bradley Andy García
Jennifer Lynch Cecily Strong
Hawkins Michael K. Williams
Rourke Matt Walsh
Dr. Martin Heiss Bill Murray
Note: A gray cell indicates a character did not appear in that medium.



Original films (1984–1989)[edit]

The concept of the first film was inspired by Dan Aykroyd's own fascination with the paranormal, and it was conceived by Aykroyd as a vehicle for himself and friend and fellow Saturday Night Live alum John Belushi.[28][page needed] Aykroyd came up with Ghostbusters after reading an article about quantum physics and parapsychology in the American Society of Psychical Research Journal and then watching movies like Ghost Chasers. Aykroyd thought, "Let's redo one of those old ghost comedies, but let's use the research that's being done today. Even at that time, there was plausible research that could point to a device that could capture ectoplasm or materialization; at least visually."[29]

The original story as written by Aykroyd was much more ambitious, and unfocused, than what would be eventually filmed; in Aykroyd's original vision, a group of Ghostbusters would travel through time, space and other dimensions taking on huge ghosts (of which the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man was just one of many). Also, the Ghostbusters wore SWAT-like outfits and used Proton Packs to fight the ghosts; Ghostbusters storyboards show them wearing riot squad–type helmets with movable transparent visors.[30] The original draft of the script written by Aykroyd was very large, compared to a "phone book" by director Ivan Reitman.[31]

Aykroyd pitched his story to director and producer Ivan Reitman, who liked the basic idea but immediately saw the budgetary impossibilities demanded by Aykroyd's first draft. At Reitman's suggestion, the story was given a major overhaul, eventually evolving into the final screenplay which Aykroyd and Harold Ramis finalised during a few months in a Martha's Vineyard bomb shelter, according to Ramis on the DVD commentary track for the movie.[citation needed] When Belushi died from a drug overdose, Aykroyd and Reitman eventually turned to Bill Murray to replace Belushi's role.

Ghostbusters was a box office hit, prompting Columbia Pictures to produce an animated series based on the film, The Real Ghostbusters (renamed to avoid a conflict with Filmation's existing cartoon, Ghostbusters), as well as to seek out a sequel. Aykyoyd and Ramis had not been conformable with a sequel, believing the first film was meant to be self-contained, but eventually agreed.[32]

Struggles with a third film (1990–2014)[edit]

A second sequel to Ghostbusters had been of interest to Aykroyd and Ramis over the course of the 1990s. During this period Aykroyd wrote a script for a potential third film in the series, titled Ghostbusters III: Hellbent.[33][34] The concept had the characters transported to an alternate version of Manhattan called Manhellton, where the people and places are "hellish" versions of their originals and where the Ghostbusters meet the devil (a modified version of this script was later used in Ghostbusters: The Video Game).[35][36] At the time, Aykroyd and Ramis stated that while there was interest from Columbia Pictures, they were reluctant to move forward, as Murray had become less interested in the project, Reitman had stepped aside to let them (Aykroyd and Ramis) lead the discussions, and by this time Ramis was more interested in directing films than acting in them.[37] To deal with potential actor changes, the script was designed around introducing a new, younger cast serving as the starring roles, while the original cast members would return in supporting roles. This was framed to have the new Ghostbusters help Ray, Egon, and Winston with their struggling business after Peter had left to be with Dana; ultimately, Aykroyd had rewritten a version of the script that he said that Murray and Reitman would take part in, but by 2002, according to Aykroyd, Columbia had expressed concern over the film's high production costs, and felt that it had become too risky of a proposition.[36] Ramis also expressed that Murray had become "kind of obstructionist" about the film, further souring the film to Columbia.[38]

The fate of the script remained unknown until 2006, when Ramis affirmed that a variation of Aykroyd's Hellbent script was still being considered for the sequel; to reduce the need for special effects and reduce production costs, Ramis had conceived a framing device of having the alternate version of Manhattan exist between moments in time, and featured situations of constant gridlock and where everyone spoke a different language in an otherwise unmodified version of the city. Ramis felt this approach would also reflect the "mundane" qualities of the first two films.[35] Murray was still opposed to the film, according to both Ramis and Hudson as well as Aykroyd.[35][39][40] In 2009, Ramis shot down rumors that Chris Farley, Ben Stiller or Chris Rock had been under consideration to appear in the film.[41]

Lack of interest and motivation continued to hinder progress until 2008.[33] In September 2008, Columbia hired screenwriters Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg to write a new screenplay for a Ghostbusters film, still set to revolve around a new cast of Ghostbusters, with uncertain involvement from the original cast.[42] Aykroyd and Ramis stated filming for this script was expected to start in late 2009 or mid-2010, with a target release window of late 2011 to 2012,[43] and Reitman had committed to directing the film.[44][45] The question remains about Murray's participation on the film. Murray had stated in a 2010 talk show appearance that "I'd do it only if my character was killed off in the first reel."[46] Aykroyd had said that Murray had read the Stupnitsky-Eisenberg script, which Aykroyd claimed gave Murray the "comic role of a lifetime",[47] but Murray remained adamant about not participating in it.[48] Production on the film continued, working around Murray's lack of participation,[49] and was considering the possibility of recasting Murray's character.[50]

This version of the sequel stalled again, and by July 2012, a new writing team was engaged to revamp the screenplay. Aykroyd said that "[The screenplay has] got to be perfect. That's the whole thing. There's no point in doing it unless it's perfect."[51] Etan Cohen was hired as lead scriptwriter for this version.[52] The new script still centered on a wholly new cast, this time as students from Columbia University that become the new Ghostbusters due to discoveries from their research, with the original Ghostbusters actors, excluding Murray, reprising their roles in the supporting cast. Aykroyd stated that they left enough variability in the script that should Murray want to participate, they could account for him.[53][54]

Eventually, the revised script had been completed with plans to start production in 2015. However, Harold Ramis died on February 24, 2014.[55] Initially, Sony/Columbia stated that Ramis's role in the film had been minimal and would not affect production. However, Reitman felt that the screenplay had to be reworked to better account for this, and approached the studio with his concerns.[56] Following his meetings with Sony, Reitman instead decided to drop out as director of the film, a combination of the impact of Ramis' death on his outlook, the struggles to get a third Ghostbusters film made, and a desire to work on smaller projects such as the recently completed Draft Day. Reitman committed to Sony to remain on in production and helped Sony look for a new director for the film.[57] Over mid-2014, Sony pursued a short list of potential directors for the film. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were in talks to direct the film, but passed on the project.[58] Ruben Fleischer had also been considered.[59]

Reboot and Ghost Corps (2014–2018)[edit]

By late 2014, Paul Feig had been attached as the potential director for the third film, but Sony officially announced in August 2014 that Feig had been brought aboard to helm a reboot of Ghostbusters featuring an all-female cast.[60] Feig had been approached by Reitman and Sony's Amy Pascal to direct the sequel, but Feig turned this down, feeling the concept of the former Ghostbusters passing their roles to a new set of Ghostbusters would not allow him to give the new cast their proper time in the spotlight.[61] These talks resulted in the concept of the reboot as the best way to progress the franchise; this also allowed Feig to avoid issues with the canon from the previous films.[62] Feig partnered with Katie Dippold for the screenplay. Production started in mid-2015, and the film was released in July 2016 under the name Ghostbusters; it was later rebranded in home media as Ghostbusters: Answer the Call to distinguish it from the first film in the franchise.

During production of the 2016 Ghostbusters, Reitman stated that Sony Pictures had been coming off a series of flops, and were looking into a property comparable to the Marvel Cinematic Universe from which they could pull sequels, side stories, and other options for several years to follow. Reitman approached Sony with the idea of "Ghost Corps", a series of films based on the Ghostbusters franchise.[63] Sony founded Ghost Corps in 2015, with Reitman and Aykroyd overseeing its productions. Ghostbusters became the first film branded with the Ghost Corps name.[64]

During the production of Ghostbusters (2016), two additional Ghostbusters related projects emerged, tied to the Ghost Corps studio. In March 2015, Deadline wrote that an all-male lead Ghostbusters film was being developed by Sony's Ghost Corps label, with Channing Tatum and Chris Pratt starring.[65] Anthony and Joe Russo signed on as co-directors, from a script by Drew Pearce, while Reid Carolin and Peter Kiernan would produce the project.[66][67] In 2016, the movie was reportedly cancelled, with the Russo brothers no longer attached.[68] Ivan Reitman later stated that he was not involved with the project, but it never got past early-development stages, with 30-some pages of script written.[69]

The second Ghostbusters-related project reported during this time was an animated film, produced by Reitman and distributed by Sony Pictures Animation. Fletcher Moules will oversee the project as both an animator and the director.[14][15] The movie will be told from the perspective of ghosts.[70]

Following the release of Ghostbusters, Sony Pictures announced that a sequel to the film was in development.[71] In November 2016, Feig expressed his doubts that the sequel would be made, due to the film performing under expectation at the box office.[72] In response to Feig's comments, Reitman asserted that "there's going to be many other Ghostbusters movies, they're just in development right now."[73]

Return to the original series (2018–ongoing)[edit]

In an interview in November 2018, Aykroyd spoke of a new script being developed for a Ghostbusters film that would potentially bring together himself, Murray, and Hudson back in their previous roles, even considering Murray's previous reluctance to return.[74]

In January 2019, Entertainment Weekly announced that a new Ghostbusters film connected to the original two films was in development, with a target March 2021 release date with it originally being scheduled for July 10, 2020. Ivan Reitman's son Jason Reitman will direct, with a script co-written by Jason Reitman and Gil Kenan. Ivan Reitman will serve as a producer. The Montecito Picture Company will work on production. Ivan described the film as "passing the torch".[17][75]

Jason Reitman used the title "Rust City" during the development and pre-production stages to keep the project a secret.[76] An announcement trailer for the film was released the following day.[17]


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Ref.
North America Other territories Worldwide US and Canada Worldwide
Ghostbusters June 8, 1984 $242,212,467 $53,000,000 $295,212,467 #109 (#34(A)) #396 $30 million [77]
Ghostbusters II June 16, 1989 $112,494,738 $102,900,000 $215,394,738 #527 #596 $37 million [78]
Ghostbusters July 15, 2016 $128,350,574 $100,796,935 $229,147,509 #411 #552 $144 million [79]
Totals $483,057,779 $256,696,935 $739,754,714 $211 million [80]
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Ghostbusters 97% (73 reviews)[81] 71 (8 reviews)[82] N/A
Ghostbusters II 53% (38 reviews)[83] 56 (14 reviews)[84] A–[85]
Ghostbusters 74% (390 reviews)[86] 60 (52 reviews)[87] B+[85]
Ghostbusters: Afterlife 82% (28 reviews)[88] 69 (10 reviews)[89] N/A

Cultural impact[edit]

According to the director commentary on the Ghostbusters DVD, the movie's cultural impact was felt almost immediately. The building that was Dana Barrett's apartment building in Ghostbusters has, since the release of the film, been known as the Ghostbusters Building,[90] and along with the Hook and Ladder Firehouse, has become a real-world New York City tourist attraction.[91] In May 2010, the group Improv Everywhere, at the invitation of the New York Public Library, staged a Ghostbusters-themed "mission" in the same reading room used in the film.[92] The video game Burnout Paradise pays homage to the franchise with a car titled the 'Manhattan Spirit', which is based on the Ecto-1.[93]

The movie Be Kind Rewind includes a sequence in which Jack Black, Mos Def, and others recreate the first movie using props and costumes made by themselves, a guest appearance by Sigourney Weaver, and a version of the theme sung by Jack Black.[94]

On June 9, 2013, a trailer for a documentary called Spook Central, featuring clips from Ghostbusters alongside discussions of the perceived meanings in the film, mimicking the style of the documentary Room 237, was uploaded to YouTube.[95]

The movie's catchphrase, "Who you gonna call?", has been used in other media, like the 1990s Casper cartoon series.[96] In the 1995 film version of Casper, Dan Aykroyd appears in character as Ray Stantz having been hired to remove the Whipstaff Manor of ghosts but having been foiled by the Ghostly Trio, Stantz sheepishly tells the new owners, "Who ya gonna call? Someone else."[97]

In 2016, independent filmmakers produced a video titled Ghostheads, which showcases and profiles various "Ghostheads" (self-named fans of the franchise ala "Trekkers" for Star Trek), and different individual franchises throughout the United States and Canada.[98]

In 2018, the Carabinieri of Pavia named the plan to arrest an art thief who used a ghostly bed sheet to be unrecognizable "Operazione Ghostbusters" ("Operation Ghostbusters").[99]


Soundtrack title Release date Composer(s) Label
Ghostbusters: Original Soundtrack Album June 8, 1984 Arista
Ghostbusters II June 12, 1989 MCA
Ghostbusters: Original Motion Picture Score March 16, 2006 Elmer Bernstein Intrada / Sony Classical
Ghostbusters: Original Motion Picture Score (2016) July 8, 2016 Theodore Shapiro Sony Classical
Ghostbusters: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2016) July 15, 2016 RCA
Ghostbusters II: Original Motion Picture Score August 13, 2021 Randy Edelman Sony Classical

The first film sparked the catchphrases, "Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!" and "I ain't afraid of no ghost". Both came from the theme song performed by Ray Parker, Jr., who wrote it in a day and a half.[100] The song was a huge hit, staying at No. 1 for three weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and No. 1 for two weeks on the Black Singles chart. The song earned Parker an Academy Award nomination for "Best Original Song".

The music video produced for the song is considered one of the key productions in the early music video era, and was a No. 1 MTV video. Directed by Reitman, and produced by Jeffrey Abelson, the video organically integrated footage of the film in a specially designed haunted house, lined with neon in its entirety. The film footage was intercut with a humorous performance by Parker and featured cameo appearances by celebrities who joined in the call and response chorus, including Chevy Chase, Irene Cara, John Candy, Nickolas Ashford, Melissa Gilbert, Jeffrey Tambor, George Wendt, Al Franken, Danny DeVito, Carly Simon, Peter Falk, and Teri Garr. The video ends with footage of the four main Ghostbusters actors, in costume and character, dancing in Times Square behind Parker, joining in the singing.

The sequel spawned two singles from its soundtrack. R&B artist Bobby Brown had a successful hit with "On Our Own", while hip hop group Run-D.M.C. were commissioned to perform "Ghostbusters (rap version)" for the sequel.

Other media and merchandise[edit]

The film spawned a theme park special effects show at Universal Studios Florida that closed in 1996. The Ghostbusters were later featured in a lip-synching dance show including Beetlejuice on the steps of the New York Public Library facade at the park. The characters were all-new and "extreme" versions in the show, save for the Zeddemore character. Their Ecto-1 automobile was used to drive them around the park, and was often used in the park's annual "Macy's Holiday Parade." For the show, an experimental silicone skin was used on Slimer, which took two weeks to put together.[101] The show, Ecto-1, and all other Ghostbuster trademarks were discontinued in 2005 when Universal failed to renew the rights for theme park use, with the Firehouse facade being integrated with the park's Rip Ride Rockit rollercoaster after all decals and the Ghostbuster sign was removed from the building. In 2019, however, the Ghostbusters returned to the park as a deal between Universal and Sony Entertainment to create a haunted house based on the original film for their annual fall event, Halloween Horror Nights, in both their Orlando and Hollywood parks. The franchise's history with the park in Orlando was referenced in marketing promotion for the event and the house itself, as well as various easter eggs spotted during the event in Florida.

The National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) released a line of 7" scale action figures based on the first movie, but only produced a series of ghost characters, as Murray refused the rights to use his facial likeness. Their first and only series included Gozer, Slimer (or Onionhead), the Terror Dogs: Zuul and Vinz Clortho, and a massive Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, contrasting the diminutive figure that was in the original figure line.[102]

Ertl released a die-cast 1/25 scale Ectomobile, also known as the Ecto-1, the Ghostbusters' main transportation. Rubies' Costumes has produced a Ghostbusters Halloween costume, consisting of a one-piece jumpsuit with logos and an inflatable Proton Pack.

By 2007, Ghostbusters merchandise sales had exceeded $1 billion in revenue.[103]

Art Asylum's Minimates toy line features a Ghostbusters sub-line, including a box set of characters from the 2009 video game. Extreme Ghostbusters has also seen a line of children's toys released by Trendmasters.[104][unreliable source] Toys R Us released the Villains Series 3 of the Ghostbusters Minimates in January 2010.[105]

The Parallax Corporation[106] produces a line of marshmallows in a collectible box licensed under the Stay Puft Marshmallows brand.[107]

Mattel has produced a series of action figures based on characters from both the 1984 & 1989 movies and the 2009 video game, most of which were sold exclusively on their MattyCollector.Com webstore. This 6" line featured Peter, Ray, Egon, Winston, Gatekeeper Dana, Keymaster Louis, Walter Peck, Vigo the Carpathian, and most of the ghosts including a giant Mr Stay Puft. Mattel also offered a series of 12" figures with fabric clothing and light-up proton packs/slime blowers, as well as a number of replica toy props such as the PKE Meter & Ghost Trap. For retail stores, there was a "retro" series of 8-inch, cloth-costumed action figures based on the animated series, and a festive 6" Ghostbusters II set featuring the team in their dark grey uniforms with Santa hats.

At the February 2015 Toyfair Diamond Select Toys revealed several figures in a new 7" action figure line based on the first movie. These include Ray, Winston, Peter, Egon, Gozer, the Terror Dogs (Zuul & Vinz Clortho), Dana, and Louis. Each figure also includes pieces to assemble a diorama of the rooftop temple.

In 2017, Playmobil also produced a toy line featuring the Ghostbusters and essential elements from the first movie, including Dana Barret, the Marshmallow Man and Ecto-1.[108]

The Ghostbusters' firehouse, in reality the still-used Hook & Ladder Company 8 fire station in New York, has become an icon of the franchise. It has become the basis for, among other products, a 4,500-piece Lego set[109] and a Playmobil playset.[108]

Video games[edit]

Year Title System Developer Publisher
1984 Ghostbusters Commodore 64, Apple II, Atari 8-bit family, MSX Activision
1985 Ghostbusters Atari 2600, IBM PCjr/Tandy 1000
1985 Ghostbusters Amstrad CPC James Software Ltd. Activision
1986 Ghostbusters ZX Spectrum
1986 Ghostbusters NES/Famicom Bits Laboratory Activision, Tokuma Shoten (Japan only)
1987 Ghostbusters Master System Compile Sega
1987 The Real Ghostbusters Arcade Data East Data East
1989 The Real Ghostbusters Atari ST, Amiga, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum Activision
1989 Ghostbusters II MS-DOS Dynamix
1989 Ghostbusters II Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, MSX Foursfield
1990 Ghostbusters II NES Imagineering
1990 Ghostbusters Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Sega, Compile Sega
1990 New Ghostbusters II Game Boy, NES/Famicom Hal Laboratory Hal Laboratory, Activision (GB version, NA & EU only)
1992 Ghostbusters II Atari 2600 Avantgarde Software Activision, Salu Ltd.
1993 The Real Ghostbusters Game Boy Kemco Activision
2009 Ghostbusters: The Video Game Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows Terminal Reality Atari, Sony Computer Entertainment (PS3 version, Europe only)
2009 Ghostbusters: The Video Game Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable Red Fly Studios Atari, Sony Computer Entertainment (PS2 version, Europe only)
2009 Ghostbusters: The Video Game Nintendo DS Zen Studios Atari
2011 Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Steam Behaviour Santiago
2012 Ghostbusters: Paranormal Blast iOS, Android XMG Studio
2013 Beeline's Ghostbusters iOS Beeline Interactive Capcom
2014 Ghostbusters Pinball iOS, Android FarSight Studios
2016 Ghostbusters PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam FireForge Games Activision
2016 Ghostbusters: Slime City iOS, Android EightPixelsSquare
2018 Ghostbusters World iOS, Android NextAge Columbia Pictures, Ghost Corps, FourThirtyThree Inc.
2019 Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Epic Games Store, Steam Saber Interactive Mad Dog Games

In PlayStation Home, the PlayStation 3's online community-based social gaming network, Loot Interactive, in association with Atari and Terminal Reality, released a Ghostbusters-themed apartment space on June 18, 2009.[110][unreliable source] Called the "Ghostbusters Firehouse: On Location", this space is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Ghostbusters and its worldwide release on Blu-ray. The Firehouse personal space is a detailed replica of the three floor Ghostbusters headquarters from the original film, including the ghost containment unit in the basement, the garage and office areas on the 1st floor, plus the living room, laboratory, fire poles, bedroom and bathroom areas.

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff's 2014 Halloween event features a Ghostbusters theme to commemorate the film's 30th anniversary. The story involves Peter, Cleveland, Joe, and Quagmire becoming Ghostbusters to fight a paranormal invasion in Quahog. Included in the event are Ghostbuster uniforms for Peter and company, the Ghostbuster firehouse, and Ecto-1.[citation needed] The 2015 toys-to-life game Lego Dimensions features multiple characters, locations and stages based on the Ghostbusters franchise, including the original films and Paul Feig's Ghostbusters. On June 4, the theme park simulation game Planet Coaster added a Ghostbusters-themed pack.

Slot machine[edit]

The Ghostbusters slot machine was one of the most anticipated games released by International Game Technology in 2012. It is popular in the casinos of Las Vegas and there is also an online version of the game. It features 5 reels and 30 paylines with 3 interactive bonus rounds that can be unlocked.[citation needed]


Stern Pinball announced a Ghostbusters pinball game in March 2016. The game is available in three models: Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition. The game includes audio clips from the first two movies, as well as custom voice work from Ernie Hudson.[111]

Comic books[edit]

Comics and manga[edit]

Ray Stanz of the Ghostbusters battles a rampaging Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in this Graham Crackers variant cover to Ghostbusters: Legion #1. Published by 88MPH.

In the late 1980s, NOW Comics and Marvel UK published The Real Ghostbusters, comics based on the TV series of the same name.

In May 2003, Sony signed an agreement with 88MPH Studios to work on a comic update of the Ghostbusters film, to be released later in the year.[112][113][unreliable source?] Ghostbusters: Legion saw the return of the four Ghostbusters and the principal cast from the film. Legion updated the series by setting the events of the first film in 2004, rather than 1984. Set six months after the Gozer incident, the series was designed to follow the Ghostbusters as their initial fame faded and they returned to the regular chore of busting ghosts on a daily basis. The series sees the team run ragged as a spate of supernatural crimes and other related occurrences plague the city, as well as contemplating the greater effects of their success beyond the immediate media attention.

Manga publisher Tokyopop produced an original English-language manga around the same time the video game was announced. It was released in October 2008,[114][115] under the title Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted. Taking place between the second film and the game, the manga featured a series of one-shot stories from several different artists and writers, as well as a subplot involving Jack Hardemeyer (from the second movie) and a vengeful army of ghosts attempting to get revenge on the Ghostbusters.

IDW Publishing also released a comic book series based on the franchise. Their first series, Ghostbusters: The Other Side, was written by Keith Champagne, with art by Tom Nguyen.[116] A second series was later released in 2009 as Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression. A third series, Ghostbusters: Haunted Holidays was released in November 2010. From September 2011 through December 2012, IDW published an ongoing series that ran 16 issues, written by Erik Burnham with art by Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado.[117] From February 2013 through September 2014, a new ongoing series titled The New Ghostbusters, also by Burnham, Schoening, and Delgado, ran 20 issues.[118]

For the occasion of the mutual 30-year anniversary of both franchises, IDW published a limited crossover series titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters in 2014, featuring the IDW version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles joining forces with the comics Ghostbusters.[119] The success of the series launched a sequel—Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 2—three years later, with an accompanying assortment of action figures blending the Turtles' and the Ghostbusters' physical features.[120][121]


Ghostbusters: The Return[edit]

Ghostbusters: The Return is a 2004 novel written by Sholly Fisch in celebration of the franchise's 20th anniversary. Set two years after Ghostbusters II, the novel revolves around Venkman running for mayor of New York City and an ancient entity trying to conquer the world by bringing urban legends to life.[citation needed]


Tobin's Spirit Guide[edit]

Tobin's Spirit Guide: Official Ghostbusters Edition is a 2016 fiction reference book written by Erik Burnham to tie in with the release of the Ghostbusters reboot. The book is mentioned in the first film and later seen in a digital databank version in the sequel.[citation needed]

Ghosts from Our Past[edit]

Ghosts from Our Past: Both Literally and Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal is a 2016 fiction reference book written by Andrew Shaffer under the pen names of "Erin Gilbert" and "Abby L. Yates". The book appears in the reboot film, being the manual written by the two protagonists, which also ends up being the cause of their reunion.[citation needed]


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External links[edit]