Following the huge success of the soft reboot Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Sony has greenlit Ghostbusters 5 and fast-tracked its production. The Ghostbusters series started in 1984, and the classic fantasy comedy movie became a huge success thanks to its unique high concept, a hit theme song, and stellar chemistry between its comedic leads. However, following the beloved original film, the Ghostbusters series fell from grace, as Ghostbusters II was generally considered a disappointment. And following that, the 2016 reboot was negatively received by audiences and was the subject of major backlash for leaning too far into comedy.
However, 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife saved the franchise and was considered a significant return to form for the Ghostbusters series. The movie was full of energy, excitement, and fantasy, and it was surprisingly emotional too, as it brought back original characters including Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. The refreshing take was mostly thanks to writer-director Jason Reitman, who was previously known for emotionally resonant indie films, and Reitman injected that into the blockbuster movie. The 2021 movie is considered the official sequel to 1989’s Ghostbusters II, but it’s the fourth movie in the long-running franchise, and now, Ghostbusters 5 will hit theatres this year.
Ghostbusters 5 Release Date
The Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel’s release date is nearing quickly, as Ghostbusters 5 will release on December 20, 2023. However, though the movie would fit a Christmas setting considering that it’ll be based around Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s much younger characters, that isn’t the case. Its holiday season release date is not reflective of the tone of the movie, as the film was originally slated for a summer release. But despite the delay, it’s still such a shockingly quick turnaround for the sequel, as the first movie was released in November 2021, making the release gap between the two films just over two years.
As studios are increasingly changing movies’ release dates to avoid competition with other studios’ films, it comes as a surprise that Sony has stuck to the December 20 release date. Ghostbusters 5 is sandwiched between two major Warner Bros. movies, as Wonka, the Timothée Chalamet-starring movie about the iconic chocolatier, will be released on December 15, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will be released on December 25. That doesn’t give Ghostbusters 5 much leeway, but given that 2023 is so stacked with blockbuster movies, there’s no getting around the competition.
Ghostbusters 5 Cast
Part of the success of Ghostbusters: Afterlife was the refreshingly young cast, as the children’s perspectives on the existence of ghosts and having access to all the Ghostbusters’ tech was such an exciting concept. Thankfully, Ghostbusters 5 will continue that refreshing take on the series, as it’ll see Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, and Mckenna Grace return as Trevor, Callie, and Phoebe Spengler, respectively (via Deadline). The movie will also bring back Paul Rudd as Gary Grooberson, making 2023 a huge year for the actor with the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania too.
Aykroyd wants to return for Ghostbusters 5 and even has an idea for a whole new Ghostbusters trilogy. The actor explained, “Why not use the living Ghostbusters for four, five, and six?” Surprisingly, the original Ghostbusters cast’s return hasn’t been confirmed, even though a couple of them have been extremely vocal about wanting to return. However, while the original Ghostbusters are only in one Afterlife scene, that could change with Ghostbusters 5. Though they aren’t confirmed to return for the sequel, they were the most positively received part of Afterlife. It only makes sense that their appearances would be extended in the follow-up.
Ghostbusters 5 Director
Reitman didn’t return to direct Ghostbusters 5 (though he’s still a producer), which was initially disappointing, as his vision for Ghostbusters: Afterlife was what made it great. Adding to that fact is that it was something of a passion project for the filmmaker, as his father, Ivan Reitman, directed the original Ghostbusters. However, Ghostbusters 5 director Gil Kenan is no stranger to the series, as he co-wrote Ghostbusters: Afterlife with Reitman, so the sequel will undoubtedly have that emotional resonance too. Kenan isn’t a first-time director either, as he directed Monster House and the Netflix hit A Boy Called Christmas, so he knows how to make family adventure movies.
Ghostbusters 5 Plot Details
In Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s post-credits scene, Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) returns to the original Ghostbusters firehouse. It’s a spine-tingling moment when the character says he’ll “always be a Ghostbuster.” That moment did exactly what a post-credits scene should do — get audiences excited for the future. While it isn’t confirmed that Zeddemore will return for the sequel, even though Hudson claims to have read Ghostbusters 5’s script, Reitman has made it known that the movie will pick up where Ghostbusters: Afterlife left off, at the iconic firehouse in New York City (via Variety), which will more than make up for the lack of memorable locations in the 2021 movie.
Though the location will change in the Ghostbusters sequel, if it wasn’t clear from the returning cast, Ghostbusters 5 will still be based on the Spenglers. Along with being set in New York, Reitman confirmed that the movie will continue the Spengler family’s story, which is a relief given that the family was the beating heart of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. However, while Reitman knew the movie would focus on the Spenglers, according to Ghostbusters: Afterlife actor Mckenna Grace, Reitman kept the story close to his chest. Grace had no idea about the plot details even after she signed on to the sequel.
With Ghostbusters 5 being set in Manhattan and based in and around the Ghostbusters firehouse, making for a nostalgic trip down memory lane, it opens the door for the movie to revisit other original Ghostbusters locations. And even though the movie is revisiting old locations, it also keeps the series fresh, as the metropolitan setting will mark a stark difference from Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s mostly rural settings. But while the location is a drastic change, the quintessential Ghostbusters: Afterlife tone will remain given that the same creative team is behind it.
Ghostbusters 5 Title
Ghostbusters 5’s title hasn’t been revealed, but it probably isn’t Ghostbusters 5, as 2016’s Ghostbusters isn’t a direct sequel, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife wasn’t a numbered sequel. It will likely have another subtitle like Afterlife. Ghostbusters 5’s filming codename was Firehouse, and if that’s anything to go by, it could potentially be called Ghostbusters: Firehouse. A movie codename is given to a film when it’s being shot so the set doesn’t draw the attention of the press or public, but Ghostbusters 5’s codename was a sly nod to the movie’s main location. As the film’s setting is clearly an imperative part of Ghostbusters 5, Ghostbusters: Firehouse could be a perfect title.