Blu-ray ain’t afraid of no ghosts. The budding hi-def format has scored one of the most anticipated releases of the year in “Ghostbusters,” and fans of the 1984 supernatural comedy couldn’t be happier to plunk down cash this Tuesday when the new special edition hits store shelves.
You can add another voice to the cheerful chorus: Ivan Reitman, who directed the iconic film and its 1989 sequel. MTV’s Josh Horowitz recently caught up with Reitman to discuss his film’s arrival on Blu-ray, how “Ghostbusters” was originally slated to be a space-faring epic, and the latest on plans for a third outing. Read on, and be sure to head after the jump for more of this week’s releases.
MTV: I remember “Ghostbusters” being this giant pop culture phenomenon when it came out in 1984. Can you put it into perspective how the film exploded in that summer and what it was like to be in the middle of all that?
Ivan Reitman: Well, it really felt amazing. We were always very confident when we were making it that there was something special about it. The mix of comedy and scariness, I always had a sense that it would catch on.
MTV: Even to this day a film like that is a hugely risky proposition. It’s one of the hardest blends to do. Was that mix of fantasy and comedy something that concerned you, or was it something that you were just blissfully ignorant of the challenge at the time.
IR: It was that part that excited me the most. It was one of the first movies that was a genre bender. It was primarily a comedy but it was also legitimately scary and I dealt with all of it in an honest way.
MTV: How early did you come onto the project?
IR: Dan Aykroyd had a treatment in the late ‘70s that he was going to do with John Belushi. It took place in outer space where there were these competing groups of ghostbusters fighting with each other. It was a big extravaganza without much comedy. When Belushi passed away, Aykroyd sent it to me to see if there was anything I could do with it. He had been talking to [Bill] Murray about it. I read it and I thought this is impossible to make. So I sat him down at lunch and pitched him what essentially became the movie.
MTV: Was your cast essentially set then? There were reports that Eddie Murphy was going to be involved, John Candy.
IR: Eddie Murphy was never involved. John Candy was going to play the neighbor down the hall. He never got the part. He wanted to play him as a German guy. I told him I just want you to be a straight guy. We really disagreed about it..
MTV: How closely were you involved in this Blu-ray release?
IR: Mostly in making sure the picture and sound are really good, which they are. And in terms of the extras.
MTV: Obviously "Ghostbusters" fans are excited that there’s a new film in development. But there were always a lot of rumors out there, like at one time Conan O’Brien and Chris Rock being involved. Were there ever any truth to that?
IR: Absolutely no truth at all. The three actors and I and Columbia Pictures, think of us as five equal powers, each with veto power. The real truth is the project just sat there. It was just lately when Columbia decided on their own to hire some writers to come up with a story that would entice the rest of us. It was a very prescient thing to do because you can feel it’s in the zeitgeist now. The movie has always been popular but now it seems to be more popular than ever. Partially that’s because of the game and the Blu-ray.
MTV: What’s the latest on the third film?
IR: The script is going to be turned in a month or so and we’ll see. All the casting and directing speculation is really just speculation.
MTV: Did Lee and Gene pitch you?
IR: They had a pitch and Harold Ramis and I met with them. I kind of liked the idea and suggested some ways that it could improve further. My biggest problem is that it’s taken them so long. They’ve been very busy with “Office.” We’ve frankly been delayed by almost a year from the moment that we met them until now.
MTV: Dan has said recently said the new film would revolve around five new ghostbusters with a couple women? True?
IR: That was certainly in the outline they proposed. I don’t know if that’s the way the script will finally turn out. I would just take everything with a grain of salt.
While “Ghostbusters” firms up the sci-fi corner of the release schedule, “Friday the 13th” will lock in the horror vote. The “Killer Cut” of the 2009 reimagining features a mini-doc on the rebirth of Jason Voorhees, while the Blu-ray version adds in a “7 Best Kills” segment, among other goodies. Released concurrently are the older “Friday the 13th Part 2” and “Part 3 3-D.”
A number of television shows are also dropping, led by the first two seasons of “Lost” arriving on Blu-ray. While no new extras have been added for the high-def release, fans of the show may have an easier time seeing what’s inside of the smoke monster at 1080p resolutions.
The popular “Secret Life of the American Teenager” gets its second season released, along with Volume 7 of “Family Guy.” Those who matured in the early 90s may find a reason to party as “Parker Lewis Can't Lose: The Complete First Season” also marches into stores.
Rounding out the week’s new releases are Blu-ray editions of “Dr. Strangelove,” “Spaceballs,” “Slingblade,” “Miracle” and HBO’s “Generation Kill” and “John Adams.”