There are tons of massive Ghostbusters fans out there, but even the staunchest fans in the franchise may not have seen the original cut of the film known as “The Preview Cut.” While this cut is available on the Ultimate Collection 4K box set, you’d have to cough up hundreds of bucks on the resale market to see it. However, Screen Crush reported that the Alamo Drafthouse actually screened the cut recently at its Lower Manhattan location, making it the first time the cut has been shown theatrically since 1984.
Alamo Drafthouse gave the Preview Cut of Ghostbusters its very first theatrical screening.
Making this screening of The Preview Cut happen was no simple feat, as a Betamax copy of the cut had to be converted to DCP. Jason Reitman, director of Ghostbusters: Afterlife and son of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, presented the screening at the Alamo Drafthouse and mentioned that it took months to even find a transfer house that could covert Beta tapes.
According to Reitman, the original test screening of the Preview Cut went well in 1984, but there were quite a few changes made before the final cut eventually hit theaters.
While Ghostbusters: The Preview Cut adds some deleted scenes, there are quite a few lines and effects missing that would be added to the theatrical cut. For one, the giant Stay Puft marshmallow man only appears in one scene of the entire movie, as the special effects that would add Stay Puft and the other ghosts from the film wouldn’t be added until later. The cut is also devoid of music, so there’s no score from Elmer Bernstein, and Ray Parker Jr’s iconic theme song is nowhere to be found.
In the Preview Cut, Venkman is apparently far less charming and comes across as a bit more of a jerk rather than a likable and mischievous protagonist.
While the missing elements like special effects and music would obviously be added to the theatrical cut of Ghostbusters later, there were also smaller changes where scenes were cut or trimmed, and lines were changed, added, or left out entirely. The tone of the film also changed a bit, as the Screen Crush report points out that there is quite a bit more sexual innuendo and pervy moments in the Preview Cut of the film.
It’s for the better that these pervy moments were removed, as they especially negatively affected the flirting between Peter Venkman and Dana Barrett. In the Preview Cut, Venkman is apparently far less charming and comes across as a bit more of a jerk rather than a likable and mischievous protagonist.
Of course, the marketability of the movie would have also dramatically gone down without these cuts, as they would have risked earning Ghostbusters something higher than a PG rating, which would have undoubtedly at least partially affected the film’s widespread cultural influence in the 1980s.
More Screenings Of The Preview Cut?
In short, it certainly seems like the Ghostbusters: The Preview Cut is worth checking out for fans, but it’s far from the ideal way to see the film. But for now, it might be difficult to see your own showing of the film outside of those expensive box sets. The Alamo Drafthouse hasn’t announced additional screenings of the cut, but the fact that both screenings sold out could mean that we see a wider release of the Preview Cut in the future.