Ghostbusters Needs To Go Away, Maybe Forever

By Christopher Isaac | Published

With a name as recognizable as Ghostbusters, newcomers to the franchise would probably assume it must have so many great movies to be so beloved. And at this point, the franchise does have plenty of movies, including the recently released Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. But to call them great would be a pretty big stretch. Most fans of the franchise would honestly probably admit that really only the original Ghostbusters was any good, and it’s time to take throw in the towel.

Hollywood Can’t Leave Good Titles Alone

This is a problem we see a lot in Hollywood, where good movies can’t simply be left alone. Someone winds up pointing out that some beloved movie has not had anything done with it in a few decades and that becomes a justification to try and create a sequel or reboot that nobody asked for. Ghostbusters came out in 1984 and remained largely dormant since the ‘80s. There was Ghostbusters II, but the lackluster returns on that movie wisely convinced everyone involved to quit while the original movie’s legacy was still intact.

Ghostbusters II Wasn’t Bad, But It Couldn’t Live Up To The Original

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The thing is, Ghostbusters II was not even some enormous failure. It made $215 million against a budget of about $40 million, which is not terrible. It just did not match the first movie, which made $295 million off of about $30 million. Critically it was nowhere near as well-received as the first one, but if we are just going off the finances, those kind of returns likely would not have deterred filmmakers today from going for a trilogy.

The 2016 Movie Was A Massive Flop

And we have the proof of that today, with three new Ghostbusters movies released in the last decade. The 2016 Ghostbusters got things off to a pretty bad start, although that was admittedly in part due to a very vocal group of fans feeling the movie’s all-female ghostbusting team was a case of forced diversity in movies. Regardless of where you stand on that, the movie did not do great critically or financially. This one was quietly ignored in the franchise’s canon going forward.

Nostalgia Overload

2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife tackled things from the perspective that fans wanted a bit more nostalgia in the movie. And it actually got middling reviews, so that led the creators to feel they were on the right track. This has now led us to Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, which cranks up the nostalgia with the old characters and references even more. But the early reviews are not looking good this time.

Time To Throw In The Towel

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It feels like the lesson Hollywood does not want to accept is that just because a movie is iconic does not mean there needs to be more of it. Sometimes fans are just content to go back and watch the original without any need for something new. Just look at how many scenes, one-liners, and gags from the original Ghostbusters still get referenced to this day. Now try and think of how much from any of the follow-up movies gets referenced. Much like the Jurassic Park movies, the original was the peak and everything that followed has been a pale imitation at best.

Sometimes it is better to stop chasing the diminishing returns. People don’t want more Ghostbusters movies, they just want to go back and watch the original Ghostbusters from the ‘80s that they loved. The newer movies might be able to slap the same name on these recent releases, but they just don’t have that same lightning in a bottle. With the predictably disappointing opening of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, it is time for the franchise to give up the ghost.