Ivan Reitman, Director of Ghostbusters, Dead at 75

Jason and Ivan Reitman, in black suits, stand in front of a Ghostbusters: Afterlife placard.

Jason (left) and Ivan Reitman (right) at the Ghostbusters: Afterlife premiere in New York City on November 15, 2021.
Photo: Mike Coppola (Getty Images)

Ivan Reitmandirector of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters IIand producer of the 2016 Ghostbusters and last year’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife films, passed away this past Saturday. He was 75.

Born in Czechoslovakia, Reitman came to Canada when he was 4 years old. His directing career began in 1971 with Foxy Ladystarring Eugene Levy, but encompassed the hit comedies Stripes, Meatballs, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Dave, and Junior. But he was even more prolific as a producer, who brought films like Animal House, the original animated Heavy Metal movie, Stop! Or My Mom Will ShootHoward Stern’s Private Partsthe Will Smith superhero film Hancockthe 2017 Baywatch movie, and more.

Reitman will likely be best remembered as the co-creator and steward of the Ghostbusters franchise. He’s the one who took Dan Aykroyd’s original script—Which involved a cadre of intergalactic ghostbusters across time and space, which would have been catastrophically expensive to make in the early ’80 —and convinced him to set it on Earth, give it a more realistic vibe, and pass the screenplay to Harold Ramis . He also convinced Columbia Pictures to make the movie, which was no small feat as it was one of the most expensive comedies ever made at the time.

The popularity of the original 1984 led to a great deal of interest in turning the movie into a franchise. In addition to the 1989 sequel Ghostbusters II and the 1986 cartoon The Real Ghostbustersa third Ghostbusters The film was pretty much in development since the first sequel premiered. Reitman also announced a cartoon series called Ghostbusters: Ecto Force in 2016, but nothing has ever been seen from the project.

Other projects that Reitman had been announced to make were a Batman film in the early ’80s starring Bill Murray as Bruce Wayne and David Bowie as Joker, along with a Wonder Woman movie in 1996. He was also one of the candidates to direct Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He’s survived by his son, Jason, who also directed last year Ghostbusters sequel Afterlifestarring much of the original two movies’ cast.

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