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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

Celebrating 30 Years with “Ghostbusters”

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

With this summer spewing high-budget blockbusters left and right, there’s one film that has already won the hearts of audiences and fans alike, inspiring genuine admiration and enthusiasm. This month marks the 30th anniversary of Ivan Reitman’s classic Ghostbusters—a film regarded most fondly today by fans, both new and old.

If you’re not familiar with Ghostbusters, you might just be living under a rock. It is one of the most well-known films of the 1980s and has had a massive impact on our modern pop culture. The film which coined the popular phrase, “Who you gonna call?”, has been ranked among the best comedies of all time with memorable quotes and a song that everyone can remember and sing along to. The American Film Institute placed the 1984 film in a handful of lists, including a ranking at No. 28 in its list of Top 100 comedies. In 2005, IGN voted Ghostbusters as the greatest comedy ever, with Entertainment Weekly calling it the “Funniest Movie of the Past 25 Years”.

Directed by the adept and brilliant filmmaker Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters follows three eccentric parapsychologists played by Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray in New York City who start a ghost-hunting business after their government grant runs out and are no longer able to pursue their studies on the university campus. As their business begins to boom and they trap unfriendly spirits with their electronic devices (“unlicensed nuclear  accelerators”), the team with their trusty secretary (Annie Potts) hire another Ghostbuster (Ernie Hudson) and battle an uptown Babylonian spirit nesting in a high-rise apartment building that threatens to engulf not just their business, but the whole planet.

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures/ghostofcheney

The climax of the film is an outstanding and memorable parody of every Godzilla movie in cinematic history. Who would ever imagine that a chubby and cheerful Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man—complete in sailor attire—could be one of the most villainous and malevolent threats to man?

The charm of Ghostbusters has always been found not just in the script written by comedic geniuses Ramis and Akyroyd, but in the casting. From the outside in, the premise may sound more like a supernatural-horror feature similarly to 1982’s Poltergeist or even A Nightmare on Elm Street which released months after the Reitman directed film, but it is a straight up comedy first—with supernatural elements second—thanks to the actors portraying such vibrant and eccentric characters. The casting is pitch-perfect! With stars from the likes of Bill Murray (Dr. Peter Venkman), Harold Ramis (Dr. Egon Spengler), Dan Aykroyd (Dr. Ray Stantz), Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddemore), Sigourney Weaver (Dana Barrett), Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz) and Rick Moranis (Louis Tully), the film is able to blend horror with comedy very well, and often in the same scene thanks to the dialogue delivery from each respected talent. In many ways, the actors catapult the writing towards a humorous accent within the supernatural elements.

Murray’s spot-on as the sarcastic and easy-going Venkman, while Aykroyd as Stantz, and Ramis as Spengler are extremely amiable as the geeky, science-centric members of the team. Hudson is a true delight and shines as the skeptical down-on-his-luck newbie, Zeddemore who fits in almost immediately (“If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say”), while Weaver is flawless and perfect as classic cellist, Dana who definitely complements Murray’s character. The two have amazing chemistry and a fancy bit of sexual tension that brings to life the humor found in the script. With Potts as the sardonic Janine, she is not only hilarious but a character one really loves watching on-screen. Lastly, Moranis as Louis is just what any classic comedy needs—the shy, token nerd. With his thick-framed glasses, wide-eyed baby expressions and tiny stature, he is able to sport a great level of social awkwardness that eclipses even Spengler’s.

Though it may seem like a popular film with children today, generating countless birthday party ideas and Halloween costumes, there is a great deal of the film meant for adults. Whether it’s the sexual innuendo or the quips at pop culture from the 80s, Ghostbusters has a great sophisticated humor that can only truly be appreciated by adults, especially with the one-liners and the wacky-subject matter.

Image Credit: GIFrific/Columbia Pictures

The supernatural comedy which released nationwide June 8, 1984, was a critical and commercial success. At the time, the film set records for Columbia Pictures as it grossed $13.6 million on its opening weekend and $23 million in its first week. The film went on to be number one at the box office for five consecutive weeks, grossing $99.8 million. In a rare occasion, the film was eventually knocked off from the top spot by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but regained the top spot the week after and for another six weeks. It grossed $229.2 million, making it the second highest-grossing film of 1984, behind Beverly Hills Cop. With a theatrical re-release in 1985, the film went on to gross a total of $238.6 million and noted as one of the most successful comedies of the 1980s.

That season, the film went on to win the Saturn Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films for Best Fantasy Film in 1985; earned two Academy Awards nominations, one including Best Effects/Visual Effects, and three Golden Globes nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy for Bill Murray.

After the success of Ghostbusters and the animated series, The Real Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures felt pressure to create a sequel and repeat such box office success. At the time, the film’s director and stars were uncomfortable with creating another film as they believed the first was conclusive enough, but later agreedGhostbusters II opened to mixed reviews by critics and fans during the summer of 1989, pulling in an average of 2 million more people from their box office debut in 1984. Despite having the biggest three-day opening weekend gross in history, the film went on to earn a total of $215.3 million worldwide, performing way below Columbia Pictures’ expectations and was ultimately written off as a commercial flop.

Since the 1989 film, there has been talk and rumors over the years about creating another Ghostbusters movie. When asked about the future of the franchise, Aykroyd and Ramis spoke candidly about the prospect of another film, hoping they could eventually work on a script they all enjoyed and were satisfied with. Such plans met with a bump when earlier this year, the Ghostbusters community mourned the loss of Harold Ramis who passed away from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis. His passing and the outpouring of love he received even after his passing was evidence from the many heartbroken fans that the admiration for the film and franchise was alive and well. Fans in New York City created a mini-memorial outside the Tribeca firehouse where much of the first film was shot, as many paid tribute in their own way with candles, flowers, notes, and of course, Twinkies.

Image Credit: Ghostbusters News

Two months after Ramis’ passing, it was announced by Ivan Reitman that a third film was finally in the works. “A lot of directors are throwing their hats in. We’re starting the meetings. We’re going to do it,” he told People. Of course the community was abuzz with the news, some expressing joy, others disappointment considering it took so long to finalize. However, despite the unfortunate loss of Ramis, it’s something Hudson says is about to happen, going on to share with People, ” It’s going to be really, really good, which is why it’s taken so long.”

In an article from Vanity Fair, Etan Cohen (Men in Black 3, Tropic Thunder) who is now the principal writer for the project says he and Reitman are together for hours, working on the script very closely, with Aykroyd overseeing the content and material as a “Ghostbusters writer emeritus”. It might be another few years till the script is fully developed, but you can be sure that audiences will be extremely excited to see how the story-line progresses.

In honor of the film’s epic milestone, Gallery1988 is holding a traveling art show featuring original artwork inspired by the film, limited edition prints and apparel. The show will be in Chicago at the designer toy store, Rotofugi from June 20 to 22, and the San Diego Comic-Con this July. Jensen Karp, who co-owns and co-curates Gallery1988 told LA Weekly that the anniversary of the film was a big deal to him and mostly, anyone who follows pop culture.

As this weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the film’s initial release, there has been so much going on these past few months to applaud the cinematic phenomenon. Like Star Wars, the film has made quite a cultural impact on audiences throughout the years and left behind a magnetic and enjoyable legacy for an ever-growing fanbase. Not only has Ghostbusters spawned two Saturday morning cartoons in the late 80s/early 90s; mounds of merchandise through video games, apparel, newly released LEGO and POP! Vinyl items, and much more; but it has made believers out of skeptics. Through the film’s popularity, many paranormal groups created their own “Ghostbuster” type agencies either in hopes to raise money for charity or literally bust ghosts and investigate the paranormal.

There are also abounding sci-fi conventions where fans can not only meet other fans of the beloved franchise, but even the stars like the ever-humble Ernie Hudson who tells People how amazing the fans have been. “Without any studio support, they make their outfits and cars and Ectomobiles. I was in Brussels, and about 50 guys showed up with their Ghostbuster outfits on. In every state in the country, there are Ghostbuster chapters. It’s cool. It’s nice to be a part of.”

Image Credit: Blu-ray.com

This Saturday, fans can celebrate in their own way at 3pm ET as Twitter and Facebook users will be taking part in the “Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Global Viewing Party” using the hashtag, #GB30. And if you’re like me, you’re probably someone who wished they had the chance to see Ghostbusters in theaters, right? Well, you’re in luck because Sony Pictures has announced that they are going to re-release the film for a limited engagement on 700 screens in both the United States and Canada beginning August 29, just ahead of Labor Day weekend.

In addition to the film’s re-release, the global viewing party, the special editions of Lego, Mattel, Mad Engine and Funko memorabilia, fans can also own the film on Blu-ray this fall. On September 16, the 30th anniversary edition of the film will be available to buy, along with the 25th anniversary edition of Ghostbusters II, marking the sequel’s Blu-ray debut. For a limited time, fans will be able to buy the two-disc anniversary edition Blu-ray digibook which includes both films and a limited edition gift set that features an exclusive collective Slimer figurine.

Personally, I am ecstatic about the film’s 30th anniversary and quite frankly, can’t believe so much time has passed since falling in love with this franchise. It really has grown with me and I’ve noticed each time I watch the film, I realize how much more there is to love whether it be identifying with a different character for a moment, or catching something in the background. There’s so much to see and notice, and even learn from with the film. I was one of the lucky fans fortunate enough to live through the first generation of such a cultural phenomenon. Seeing young fans embrace the film the way I did as a child is honestly—as cheesy as it sounds, a beautiful thing for me. I love seeing these children light up when they see the Ghostbusters zap spirits for the first time, or a giggle at the awkward deadpan humor. It’s a film that really does stand the test of time even today and no film means so much to me like this one.

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

I like to think I’m still one of the biggest Ghostbuster fans I know (besides my best friend who has one up on me and started his own paranormal group with his buddies growing up), because of the value this film holds for me. I was that little girl who wasn’t afraid of the things that went bump in the night because I believed in the four ‘Busters the very same way kids my age believed in Santa Claus. Venkman, Stantz, Winston, and Spengler—each one of the Ghostbusters meant everything to me, and they still do to this day.

Whether you watch it on the big screen or in the comfort of your home, Ghostbusters has always been a fun movie to experience time and time again. The success of the franchise, as magical and charming as it is has continuously captured the imagination and admiration of audiences from around the world and redefined the comedy genre in the process.

* * * * *

For more information on Ghostbusters, visit their official website, complete with access to franchise news, collectibles, music and much more. Follow and connect with the real “Ghostbusters” on social media: Ernie Hudson on Twitter and Facebook; and Dan Aykroyd on Twitter and Facebook; and the one and only Louis Tully himself, Rick Moranis on Twitter and Facebook.

And because you should do it regardless, follow the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man on Twitter.

For more information on Gallery1988‘s traveling art show and where you can attend, be sure to visit their Ghostbusters inspired gallery at Ghostbusters 30th and follow them on Twitter for updates.

Connect with Tania Hussain on Twitter and Google+!

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  1. Celebrating 30 Years with “Ghostbusters” | westlifebunny - June 7, 2014

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