Two years ago, when we first broke the story that Ghostbusters 3 was going into production, and that Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg had secretly written a script behind the back of Ivan Reitman, we had information from a source close to the project that Columbia Pictures had never wanted Ivan Reitman to be a part of the project in the first place. The studio loved the first script that Eisenberg and Stupnitsky had drafted, but once Reitman found out that Ghostbusters 3 had been written behind his back, he was livid. Columbia, to appease Reitman, then agreed to allow him to collaborate with Stupnitsky and Eisenberg on a new script.
The problem, unfortunately, was that all of Reitman’s ideas were terrible. But, when you have a franchise this huge, and one that the original’s director is so tied to in the eyes of the audience, what can you do?
Well, apparently, Columbia decided to drag Reitman along for nearly two years, hoping that maybe he’d drop the project, because — as Vulture reports — they’d much rather have a younger director on board for the new generation of Ghostbusters. The problem, of course, is that Reitman (as well as Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Dan Akyroyd) has veto power. If Reitman wants to kill the project, he can. And he’s not terribly keen on letting the project go, either, this despite the fact that Reitman is not exactly current. The 63-year-old hasn’t had a hit in 15 years, and he’s clearly out of touch with modern comedy. Or at least modern commercial comedy (his last directing project was My Super Ex-Girlfriend).
Columbia had hoped they could throw him a bone and get him to abandon the project. That bone, according to Variety, came in the form of Fuckbuddies (or Friends With Benefits), a Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy scripted by Elizabeth Meriwether, about two fuck buddies who eventually develop something more intimate. That project is now a go. However, it appears that Reitman doesn’t want to let go of his grip on Ghostbusters 3. He wants to direct both. Cause he’s greedy. Also, because he’s apparently in denial about his age and cultural awareness. He’s probably also a prideful motherfucker.
So what does this mean for Ghostbusters 3? From what we know of the project, and from what we know of Reitman’s ideas for the third movie, I actually have a feeling that Columbia would rather abandon the movie all together rather than use Reitman. It would seem like an easy pot of Gold, but if Columbia sinks a lot of money into it, and they get the Ghostbusters equivalent of Year One (which Stupnitsky, Eisenberg, and Ramis collaborated on), they could get a major dud and tarnish the reputation of the franchise, basically putting it out of play for another 20 years.
So, the long and short of it is this: Ghosbusters 3 is definitely in danger. And for a lot of folks who didn’t want it in the first place, that’s probably a good thing.