Last year, the mega-budgeted reboot Ghostbusters: Answer the Call lost money at the box office. Despite that, Sony indicated that they would press on with the series. Talks of an all-animated Ghostbusters movie had happened, and that it would be the next attempt at rebooting the franchise for a modern audience. Now, it's looking like a reality.
In an interview with io9, original Ghostbusters writer/director Ivan Reitman outlined some of the plan. He says...
We jumped into an animated film [after the last movie] and we are developing live-action films. I want to bring all these stories together as a universe that makes sense within itself. Part of my job right now is to do that.
I'm honestly okay with Ghostbusters going animated for the big screen. It worked for the small screen, so why not? In a day and age where Disney gleefully assimilates its animated classics into superior live-action/photoreal CG, this is actually refreshing and kind of exciting. When's the last time you saw a live-action film franchise go animated? Outside of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I have no idea! And direct-to-video animated sequels like The Animatrix don't count!
You might bring up The Smurfs, but here's the thing... The first Smurfs movie - a package feature of roughly five previously-released animated shorts - came out in 1965, in Europe only. Then there was The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, which debuted in Europe in 1976, and came out in the US in 1983 after the success of Hanna-Barbera's Smurfs TV cartoon adaptation. So that went from animation to live-action/animation hybrid, and then back to animation. Headspinner! A Sony headspinner! Tintin flipped back and forth in Europe, there was a stop-motion film in 1947, followed by live-action films and traditionally animated films, long before Steven Spielberg's all performance-capture adaptation. Though Scooby-Doo is based on a long-running cartoon series, I guess that could count. Two live-action theatrical Scoobs, and now the all-animated one from Warner Animation Group is coming next year.
Given that Ghostbusters was arguably given closure in the form of 2009's Ghostbusters: The Game, I think they can go anywhere with it now. Perhaps Answer the Call should've been connected to the main master storyline, but it decided to be its own new story instead of a truly soft reboot. A sort of "Next Generation" kind of Ghostbusters story. Hopefully the animated film honors the original, but is also successfully its own thing as well. Ghostbusters is a bit of a hot button because of what happened last year, but really, I think Answer the Call's failure had more to do with its absurdly big budget and Sony's piss-poor marketing. Even Reitman thinks the budget ballooning was a big problem.
So apparently the animated movie will share a universe with new, in-development live-action movies. This sounds like a very Sony Pictures kind-of thing, as the company I believe has been making some rather tone-deaf decisions these says, especially since the post-hack management change. I mean... The Girl in the Spider's Web not bringing back Rooney Mara? An MCU-less Venom movie? C'mon...
But hey, if they can somehow make it work, I'm all for it. A shared universe having both live-action and animated movies? Either this is a big clustercuss in the making, or something that could change shared universes. Who knows!
Also, Reitman apparantly said he hopes the animated picture will be out by 2019 or 2020. Sony Pictures Animation has multiple "franchise" films set for 2019 and 2020, so it could fill one of those slots.
What say you on all this Ghostbusters business?