Ghostbusters 3 – Story pitch from Max Landis

Ghostbusters 3 rumours and news bites continue to plague us. There has been another slew of stories, this time surrounding potential story ideas (particularly now that Harold Ramis in no longer with us).

Of course the best idea is not to bother. We all know that when a project faces so many obstacles it seems like fate is doing its best to show us the mistake we are about to commit.

Bill Murray doesn’t want to be a part of it. Harold Ramis is dead. Dan Aykroyd is living a different life with his boutique alcohol products, Rik Moranis is very much retired….the only one you can see showing any real interest is Ernie Hudson, especially given his upcoming raft of TV movie fare. The odds just don’t stack up.


But hey, you can’t keep a bad idea down these days it seems and the latest high profile name to pitch an idea is Max Landis (Chronicle).

He gave his opening scene idea via twitter, which went like this:

“My Ghostbusters 3 began in the 1920s with Ivo Shandor murdering a gluttonous associate to protect his cult after he has a moral objection.

“Shandor tells the overweight man that nothing can stop the coming of Gozer; first, the gate will open in 1984, then again twenty years later

“The fat man, who now has all the details of Shandor’s plans, threatens to go to the police, and Shandor poisons him. It’s scary, but…

“As Shandor escapes, we see that we’re in the Sedgewick Hotel, and that the guy we just saw die…

“…Is Slimer.

“Cue theme.  Show title.”

Here’s the thing: I get that Landis is probably trying to elicit a reaction from studio execs that would make them say something like “Oooh look, it’s an exciting riff on the original film, we’ll get audience familiarity and therefore sell more tickets”, or maybe they’ll say “oooh an origin story for a character we know and love”. And to Landis’ credit the twitter reaction was very positive. But that’s really just a nice piece of vaguely thought out fluff.

I’ve seen Landis spill these opening scene pitches before. Another one came to light around the time of Man of Steel that told how his Superman story would start and it was a similar excited few minutes with a wry twist that makes the audience sit up and go “ooooooh” in unison. But with his Ghostbusters idea I doubt he’s even thought beyond those few minutes. I think he was fishing for interest and he may even get a call to pitch. After all, Sony wants to make this thing and I doubt any number of existing fan pleas to the contrary will have an impact.

Also the idea that a whole film can be pitched around the idea of a small scene revealing a character back story that nobody really benefits from is pretty silly. I’m sure Landis would agree with that.

At the end of the day there are millions of new stories to tell and millions of writers trying to get them told. If you want to see the perfect Ghostbusters movie just watch Ghostbusters. And if you want to see a brilliant attempt at recapturing that magic watch Ghostbusters 2. Otherwise let’s leave well alone.

James is a movie obsessive with a particular love for scores and screenplays. He has written for numerous blogs, sites and cinemas and has been involved in several screenwriting projects. He can usually be found in front of a large plasma screen devouring Westerns, 80s pulp, Jimmy Stewart movies or anything by the Coens.

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