Doc ‘Who You Gonna Call?’ Available on Digital June 7

Who You Gonna Call?, a documentary on the man who wrote the hit “Ghostbusters” song, will be released on digital June 7 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Filmmaker Fran Strine explores the riveting true story of Ray Parker Jr., the man who wrote and recorded the global smash hit song, which became a universally recognized pop culture classic.

Parker Jr. granted Strine unprecedented access to reveal his never-before-told life story — from overcoming nearly impossible odds growing up on the segregated streets of Detroit in the 1960s to achieving his dream of getting his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and winning a Grammy.

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Who You Gonna Call? pulls back the curtain to reveal Parker’s now little-known yet legendary career, with Clive Davis and other music legends sharing what it was like to collaborate with Parker, both on stage and off. 

 

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 2/1/22;
Sony Pictures;
Comedy;
Box Office $128.06 million;
$30.99 DVD, $38.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for supernatural action and some suggestive references.
Stars Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, Bob Gunton, J.K. Simmons, Bokeem Woodbine.

Somewhere out there, lost to the annals of time and space, is the ideal third “Ghostbusters” movie. While Ghostbusters: Afterlife might not achieve that lofty goal, the circumstances that led to its creation make it a valiant effort.

Following the 1984 original film and its 1989 sequel, plans for a third film eventually stalled out when the creative team couldn’t agree to a satisfactory story to tell. The 2014 death of Harold Ramis, who was one of the creative forces behind the franchise in addition to playing a key character, seemed to signal the end of attempts to continue the original storyline. The consolation prize for fans was the 2009 Ghostbusters video game, which franchise co-creator and co-star Dan Aykroyd referred to as essentially being a third movie.

In 2016 a third movie did come along, with director Paul Feig’s reboot of the original that severed ties with the continuity of the first two films, presenting a cast of talented female comedians whose characters invented the concept of and equipment for ghostbusting on their own, only to come across a villain who used similar equipment to summon ghosts. The remake, eventually dubbed Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, was largely rejected by franchise fans because it wasn’t rooted in a continuation of the lore, instead sticking original cast members into mostly awkward and bizarre cameos.

Then, director Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman, who directed the 1980s movies, had a vision of a girl discovering ghostbusting equipment, leading her to discover her family’s legacy. This idea eventually germinated into Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a true continuation of the storyline from the original films.

The girl is Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), who along with her brother, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), move to Oklahoma after their mother, Callie (Carrie Coon), inherits a derelict farm from her father, Phoebe and Trevor’s grandfather. While Callie tries to make sense of her father’s finances, Phoebe and Trevor discover their grandfather was one of the original Ghostbusters, who had settled in Oklahoma to combat supernatural forces that threatened to bring an end to the world. Along with some new friends and a teacher played by Paul Rudd, they take up his mission to avert the return of the evil forces.

Afterlife is far from a perfect movie and is at times almost too reverential to the 1980s films, with a third act that is essentially a re-creation of the end of the first film, relying more on nostalgia than originality. But it respects the lore, and that’s probably enough to earn the appreciation of longtime fans.

The “new generation” plot gives the younger characters an entry point into the mythology by making it a mystery for them to solve, which is a clever way to reintroduce the concept while also providing a touching way to address the absence of Ramis (though how it’s addressed in the film does raise a lot of questions that are left unanswered). However, longtime fans will see what’s coming from a mile away, as the retread elements of Afterlife really start to wear thin by the end.

In a way, this actually makes the existence of Answer the Call more infuriating, since its story arc of ghostbusting-like equipment being used to call forth the forces of darkness rather than stop them would have been a nice fit for a next-generation Ghostbusters movie and better served Afterlife. (In Answer the Call, the equipment isn’t ghostbusters gear per se, but similar hardware developed by a bad guy — the concept could have been adapted for a story about modifying ghostbuster tech).

So, what we are left with is a movie that is a bit of a double-edged sword. Up until some fan service in the third act, Afterlife works well as a standalone movie about a struggling family uncovering a lost legacy and learning who they are, playing more along Jason Reitman’s sensibilities as an indie filmmaker. But as a “Ghostbusters” movie, it’s more like a tribute band paying homage to the original, which might make it less appealing to viewers who don’t have the nostalgia for the 1980s films.

The Afterlife Blu-ray includes some thorough behind-the-scenes materials and a few featurettes aimed at the fandom.

The central making-of video is the 10-minute “Summoning the Spirit,” which starts with Jason Reitman’s concept for creating the film as previously mentioned, and picks up from there. Supplementary to this are a six-and-a-half-minute featurette about the visual effects.

For the fans, the eight-minute “We Got One!” looks at the many references to the earlier films layered into Afterlife. There’s also a six-minute guide to ghostbusting equipment, and a five-minute look at the return of the Ghostbusters’ car, the Ecto-1. The 10-minute “A Look Back” featurette offers a reminiscence with the surviving original cast members, while the four-minute “A Look Ahead” teases what might be yet to come.

Also included is a single deleted scene, running a minute-and-a-half, that offers a fun extension of a scene between Callie, Phoebe and one of the original cast members.

‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Due Digitally Jan. 4, on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 1

Ghostbusters: Afterlife will be available for digital purchase Jan. 4, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 1 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The next chapter in the original “Ghostbusters” universe, from director Jason Reitman and producer Ivan Reitman, it follows a single mom and her two kids who arrive in a small town and begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather, an original Ghostbuster, left behind.

Also due Feb. 1 is the “Ghostbusters Ultimate Collection 4K Ultra HD Set,” with Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II and Ghostbusters: Afterlife on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray, plus two discs of special features. The set includes more than 20 hours of behind-the-scenes and archival footage, including the full preview cut of the original movie. Presented in collectible “ghost trap” packaging with lights, it includes a 220-page reprint of the 1985 “Making Ghostbusters” book. Digital copies of the three films and Ghostbusters: Answer the Call are also included (see controversy).

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Silly ‘Ghostbusters’ Dispute Hinges on One Word

The notion that the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot wouldn’t be included in an upcoming franchise Blu-ray set seems to have touched a nerve in that film’s fans that it somehow isn’t getting the “respect” they think it’s due.

Nonsense.

The upcoming Ghostbusters Ultimate Collection Blu-ray/4K set appears to be the trilogy that includes 1984’s Ghostbusters, 1989’s Ghostbusters II and 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The first two films were directed by Ivan Reitman, the latter by his son, Jason.

The 2016 film, however, is a reboot directed by Paul Feig, with a story not set in the same narrative continuity as the 1980s films, as Afterlife is. That’s why the 2016 film is sometimes listed with the subtitle of Answer the Call, to distinguish it from the original.

The film takes the setup from the 1984 film — that a group of academics sets up a business to hunt ghosts — and famously recasts the main parts with female comedians, in contrast to the male team of the original cast.

That ATC didn’t continue the story of the first two films was a major complaint of fans, and its lackluster box office performance prompted Sony Pictures and Jason Reitman to start work on a true sequel to the original films, which we got in Afterlife.

Of course, the 2016 film has its supporters who aren’t happy that it’s apparently being swept under the rug, both with the existence of Afterlife and its omission from the Ultimate Collection. The most vocal of these fans have always had an iffy relationship with reality, many of them putting forth the absurd claim that people who don’t like the 2016 film were doing so out of racism or sexism, rather than admitting that it just isn’t very good (though that doesn’t justify some of the horrific social media attacks reportedly made against its cast members).

Answer the Call has a talented cast of female comedians, and the foundation of a decent Ghostbusters story, but the execution is botched. The humor seems forced and out of place, more like Bridesmaids (an earlier Feig comedy) with Ghostbusters cosplay rather than a true “Ghostbusters” movie. And the decision to do a reboot by showing the new characters developing the tech that is already familiar to fans of the franchise just seems disrespectful to the earlier films, especially with when it shoehorns in bizarre cameos from members of the original cast. (Its kind of ironic that fans of ATC are complaining that it’s being dishonored by Afterlife, when ATC dishonored the original films to begin with.)

The simple reality is that the same cast with almost the same plot being connected to the story of the 1980s films would have been embraced by fans. But that wasn’t the direction Feig wanted to go. Franchise co-creator Dan Aykroyd has stated in interviews that Feig ignored advice on how to construct the film, which later resulted in expensive reshoots that ballooned the budget and limited its potential for profitability (it reported lost $70 million for Sony Pictures). 

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Now, Afterlife is far from a perfect movie. It’s at times almost too reverential to the original films, and its third act is essentially a re-creation of the end of the first film, relying more on nostalgia than originality. But it respects the lore, which is why fans have embraced it over ATC.

Personally, I felt the retread elements of Afterlife really started to wear thin by the end — which actually only made me more mad that Answer the Call existed, since it wasted the core story — the idea of the ghostbusting tech falling into the wrong hands and being used to summon demons — that would have better served Afterlife.

But that’s neither here nor there. What’s done is done and we have the films we got, which is a Reitman trilogy and Feig’s reboot (likened by some on Twitter as a parody rather than an actual “Ghostbusters” film).

What seems to have set off fans of the 2016 film is Sony labeling the trilogy boxed set as the “ultimate” collection, as if using that word somehow mandates the inclusion of any movie with “Ghostbusters” in the title regardless of the story connection.

One comparison was made to the “Halloween” boxed set, which included every sequel and reboot regardless of story connection to previous films. It’s a fair point, but hardly one that stands up to scrutiny. The “Halloween” movies are pretty much a narrative mess with such confusing continuity that they might as well include everything. Plus, fans got a pretty steady flow of “Halloween” movies for 30 years. “Ghostbusters” fans waiting for that third film were pretty crushed by the idea of a reboot.

The better analogy was from another user who suggested that a “Star Wars” boxed set of movies was somehow incomplete without the derided Star Wars Holiday Special also included. Which, of course, it isn’t.

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Feig himself got in on the act by complaining about the omission on Twitter, an act that only served to heightened how much ATC was disconnected from the Reitman trilogy.

Fans of the 2016 film are overlooking the fact that that Feig’s reboot isn’t the only “Ghostbusters” project being left out of the Ultimate Collection. There’s the 1970s Filmation live-action show “The Ghost Busters,” which has nothing to do with the 1984 movie other than Columbia Pictures having to license the title. There’s the 1980s cartoon based on the 1970s show in response to the 1984 movie. Then there’s the “Real Ghostbusters” cartoon which is based on the movie and was made (and titled) in response to Filmation’s cartoon cash-in. Don’t forget the “Extreme Ghostbusters” cartoon from the 1990s, a follow-up to “Real Ghostbusters.” And there’s the video game that Aykroyd likened to a third movie — surely it has cut scenes that could be spliced into a narrative presentation. By the logic of those angry at the 2016 snub, shouldn’t an “ultimate” set also include all of this material as well? (Never mind that Sony doesn’t control the rights to some of it.)

Heck, for good measure why not throw in Bob Hope’s The Ghost Breakers, spiritual predecessor to Ghostbusters released in 1940 by Paramount (and on Blu-ray last year by Kino Lorber)? Ghostbreakers was one of the alternate titles considered for Ghostbusters if they couldn’t work out a deal with Filmation.

So it’s the “ultimate collection” of Reitman “Ghostbusters” movies. It’s not called The Ghostbusters Complete Collection. The studio could have called it the “Trilogy Collection” and the whiners wouldn’t have a leg to stand on (not that they still wouldn’t complain). But it’s called “Ultimate.” So what? The intent of what it’s meant to be is clear regardless of what word is used. It’s just a word. Get over it.

Those who insist that the 2016 film be included aren’t realizing that most people looking to buy this boxed set are fans of the original films who probably didn’t like ATC, and wouldn’t want it included with a collection of the Reitman films. If it were included, it would mostly be ignored anyway, and Sony would have released a bulkier, and thus pricier, boxed set for no good reason, costing them potential sales. Read the room.

And those who are fans of all the films probably already have ATC, or can buy it on its own, and stick it on their shelves next to the trilogy set the way it should be considered — separately.

Feig Tweet Fuels Debate Over 2016 ‘Ghostbusters’ Omission From Blu-ray Set

Fans of 2016’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call are up in arms over reports that the film won’t be included in a franchise boxed set slated for early next year, with the film’s director, Paul Feig, joining the fray.

At issue is the pending home entertainment release of the recent theatrical release Ghostbusters: Afterlife from director Jason Reitman, which served as a direct sequel to his father Ivan Reitman’s 1980s “Ghostbusters” films — 1984’s Ghostbusters and 1989’s Ghostbusters II — while Answer the Call was a reboot with no narrative connection to the earlier films, though it featured cameos from original cast members such as Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson as different characters.

While Blu-ray Disc and DVD plans for Afterlife have yet to be officially announced by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, an Amazon.com listing indicates the film will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Feb. 1. Among the release configurations are Blu-ray and DVD trilogy sets of the three Reitman films, as well as the Ghostbusters Ultimate Collectionwhich in the listing appears to be an eight-disc set of the three Reitman films, plus bonus feature discs and a making-of book within a case that mimics a ghost trap.

Many entertainment bloggers began pointing out that the Ultimate Collection appeared to snub director Paul Feig’s 2016 reboot version, which focused on a female-centric team of Ghostbusters that was not part of the continuity of the Reitman trilogy. This in turn prompted fans of the 2016 film to take to Twitter, YouTube and other social media outlets to express disappointment that the film wouldn’t be included in something labeled as an “ultimate” collection of the franchise, as if the studio were trying to erase it from existence. Feig himself tweeted his dismay Dec. 22:

Um … @SonyPictures, I know this must be a mistake. We do have a lot of fans and Bill, Dan and Ernie were in it and it won the Kids Choice Award for Best Feature Film the year it came out. So, I guess this was just an oversight? #weareallghostbusters — @paulfeig

Feig’s tweet was quickly “ratioed,” which is Twitter parlance for having more comments than likes, indicating a general disapproval of the tweet by the public. As of late Dec. 23, Feig’s tweet had over 2,200 comments compared with over 1,800 likes.

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Comments disagreeing with Feig and defending the omission ranged from stating the set was just focusing on the Reitman trilogy, of which the 2016 film wasn’t a part, to arguing the 2016 version wasn’t very good and deserved to be forgotten.

Answer the Call earned $229.1 million at the global box office compared with a reported $144 million budget, which after accounting for marketing and other costs supposedly took a $70 million loss for the studio. Afterlife, released during the pandemic, has thus far earned more than $175 million against a reported budget of $75 million.

 

JustWatch: ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Yellowstone’ Top Weekly Streamed Movie, TV Show

The “Ghostbusters” franchise, old and new, continues to resonate among moviegoers and consumers in the home. The third movie in the franchise, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, ranked as the most-popular movie streamed through Nov. 21, according to new data from JustWatch. Paramount series “Yellowstone” was the most-streamed TV show during the week.

JustWatch tracks more than 20 million users’ monthly streaming decisions across 54 countries. Among the most popular weekly movies were 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy and Sony Pictures’ 2002 release Spider-Man.

The top-three TV shows included Netflix’s “Cowboy Bepop” and Showtime OTT’s “Yellowjackets,” the latter a coming-of-age drama starring Melanie Lynskey, Tawny Cypress, Christina Ricci and Juliette Lewis.

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Sony Marking ‘Ghostbusters’ 35th Anniversary With Steelbook Ultra HD Blu-ray

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment June 11 will release 1984’s Ghostbusters and 1989’s Ghostbusters II in a special limited-edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook with new bonus material. The release marks the 35th anniversary of the original film and the 30th anniversary of the sequel.

The set includes both films on UHD and Blu-ray, plus a bonus disc of new extras. The films were fully restored from original camera negatives and are presented on 4K UHD Blu-ray with HDR and Dolby Atmos audio; the Blu-rays feature HD presentations also sourced from the 4K restorations.

New extras from the first film include deleted scenes; the full Ghostbusters TV commercial from the film with outtakes; the film’s 1984 ShoWest exhibitor reel; the original teaser; “A Moment With the Stars” vintage featurette; and a fan commentary.

New Ghostbusters II extras will include a commentary with director Ivan Reitman, star Dan Aykroyd and executive producer Joe Medjuck; the cast on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 1989; a vintage promotional featurette; and a rare unfinished teaser trailer containing the full commercial from the film.

The bonus disc will also include a fan restoration of the pitch concept pilot for the animated “The Real Ghostbusters” series.

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Legacy extras include a filmmaker commentary on the first film, a trivia track on the first film, deleted scenes, featurettes, music videos, photo galleries and trailers.

The anniversary celebration will also include a Ghostbusters Fan Fest June 7-8, an international Live Orchestra Tour for the original film throughout 2019, new documentaries and tie-in merchandise, including a Transformers/Ghostbusters crossover comic book.