‘Ghostbusters’ makes a triumphant 30th-anniversary return to theaters

Posted Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Five classic (and printable) Ghostbusters lines:

“Who you gonna call? … Ghostbusters!” — from Ray Parker Jr.’s theme song

“I slimed me.” — Bill Murray, after Venkman’s run-in with a ghost

“We came, we saw, we kicked its a--!” — Venkman after the team finally captures the Slimer

“I ain’t afraid of no ghost.” — also from the theme song

“Back off, man. I’m a scientist.” — Murray, after Venkman’s methods are questioned

Five other blockbusters celebrating the Big 3-0 this year:

•  Beverly Hills Cop

•  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

•  The Karate Kid

•  Footloose

•  Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

‘Ghostbusters’ 30th anniversary screenings

• 7 p.m. Thursday

Hulen Movie Tavern

4920 S. Hulen Road, Fort Worth

817-546-7091

and

• Friday-Sept. 4

Cinemark Alliance Town Center

9228 Sage Meadow Trail

Fort Worth

817-750-0560

Cinemark 12 Mansfield

2041 North U.S. 287, Suite 901

Mansfield

817-473-6979

Cinemark Tinseltown Grapevine

911 Texas 114 West

Grapevine

817-481-5040

• Check www.fandango.com for showtimes and ticket information.

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It’s great to be a Ghostbuster.

Hardly a day goes by without Ernie Hudson having that thought.

Three decades ago, the actor strapped an unlicensed nuclear accelerator to his back and helped Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and the late Harold Ramis save New York City from pesky poltergeists in one of the great comedies in movie history.

Today, Hudson is delighted that Ghostbusters, the summer 1984 box-office champ, will get to take a victory lap with a 30th-anniversary re-release. It will be in more than 700 theaters throughout North America for one week beginning Friday.

“The movie was a big hit and a phenomena during the summer of 1984,” Hudson says. “It stayed at the top of the box office for a number of weeks, and the song was playing everywhere. But who would have thought then that Ghostbusters would still be around today?

“I’ve certainly done enough movies that nobody wants to talk about anymore.”

But Ghostbusters still gets the love.

“Let me tell you about my morning,” Hudson says. “I’m in New York. I started the day by doing some writing. When I needed a break, I went down to Starbucks, where four guys in business suits came up to tell me how much they love the movie.

“Then I walked outside and a homeless guy shouted out the catchphrase, ‘Who you gonna call?’ It’s like this everywhere I go. There’s something extraordinary about the staying power of Ghostbusters.”

As Dr. Peter Venkman, Murray’s wisecracking character, declared, “We came, we saw, we kicked its a--!”

Unexpected success

Directed and produced by Ivan Reitman, with the screenplay written by Aykroyd and Ramis, Ghostbusters ranks No. 28 on the American Film Institute’s “100 Years … 100 Laughs” list of classic comedies.

It was the No. 2 grossing movie of the year, earning $229 million, topped only by Beverly Hills Cop, and the catchy theme song by Ray Parker Jr. was No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

The movie also spawned a 1989 sequel, a couple of animated TV series and constant rumors of a third movie that may never materialize. A remastered anniversary Blu-ray release comes out Sept. 16.

Upon its release in June 1984, critic Roger Ebert noted that the idea of turning a “sly dialogue movie” into a special-effects blockbuster was a recipe for disaster, but that Ghostbusters was “one of those rare movies where the original, fragile comic vision has survived a multimillion-dollar production.”

Indeed, it’s hard to say all these years later who got the bigger laughs: the irrepressible Murray — forever ready with a quip — or the ultimate special-effects sight gag, a smiling Stay Puft Marshmallow Man stomping through the city Godzilla-style.

When it comes to the movie’s lasting legacy, Hudson also cites the current crop of ghost-hunter shows that litter the TV airwaves.

“I’ve met several of these guys who do paranormal shows and they often tell me they got their inspiration from Ghostbusters,” he says. “It’s interesting, though. When I press them for specifics about their most memorable ghost encounters, they tend to come up a little short. Like, they heard weird sounds or they found cold spots in a room. It’s rarely anything bigger than that.

“Not that I’m a complete skeptic. Danny Aykroyd totally believes, so what do I know? But if there are ghosts, I’m happy I can’t experience them with my five senses. I don’t want any of them showing up in my bedroom at 3 in the morning scaring me out of my wits.”

Change in character

Hudson initially had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the movie. In the original script, his character, Winston Zeddemore, had a big backstory as an Air Force colonel.

“But the night before we were to start shooting in New York, after we had rehearsed for three weeks, they totally changed the script and lost all of Winston’s backstory and basically took him out of half the movie,” Hudson remembers.

Instead, Winston was just a guy who walked in off the street looking for a job when Drs. Venkman, Ray Stantz (Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler desperately needed help in a city overrun with ghosts.

“It was frustrating, what happened to my character,” Hudson says. “But looking back, I understand it now. And I think a lot of people relate to Winston because he was the Everyman of the group.”

It was during the mid-1990s that Hudson realized that Ghostbusters had true staying power.

“A lot of big movies come and go, but this one never went away, and it’s all because of the fans, since the studio never really did much to promote the franchise,” Hudson says. “People started forming Ghostbusters fan club chapters all over the world, making their own Ghostbusters jumpsuits and backpacks and turning their cars into Ectomobiles.

“I was traveling recently. When I was in Brussels, 50 guys in their outfits showed up to meet me. I was in the South of France and guys were there, too. When I was in Ireland, there had to be at least 60 guys who showed up.

“These different chapters are usually charity-based and they raise funds for different causes — and they do it because they really love the movie.

“It really is a part of movie history, and I’m so honored and appreciative that I have been able to be part of it.”

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