The Original 'Ghostbusters' Still Stands the Test of Time

Chrissy Bobic - Author

Oct. 27 2022, Updated 3:16 p.m. ET

Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray, and Dan Akroyd
Source: Columbia Pictures

Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Bill Murray, and Dan Akroyd.

The original Ghostbusters was released in 1984 and would go on to have insurmountable success for generations to come. And even though it's easy now to pick apart or joke about some of the special effects of that time, it was a revolutionary movie in many ways. So, how long did it take to actually make Ghostbusters and did the cast know it would be such a cult classic?

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There's never any way to tell ahead of time if a movie will reach cult status. But Ghostbusters still has a near 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and kids whose parents weren't even born during the movie's release still have a soft spot for the film. It paved the way for a sequel and other movies that were inspired by its original message of humor, horror, and ghosts.

Harold Ramis, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson
Source: Columbia Pictures

Harold Ramis, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson.

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How long did it take to make 'Ghostbusters'?

Dan Akroyd, one of Ghostbusters' leading men, wrote the script himself. His family owns a farmhouse in Ontario, which is known for its supernatural connections, from his family's relationship with psychic mediums to Dan Akroyd's father's book about ghosts. It made sense for him to write the movie.

But once it was greenlit, Ghostbusters had just a year to be made. Dan, along with co-star Harold Ramis, also had to work on script rewrites before production could actually begin. And moving forward with the effects needed proved difficult because of the special effects needed and, at the time, VFX professionals were in high demand.

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Filming in New York City lasted five weeks beginning in October 1983 and then the cast and crew traveled to California for the warmer weather and continued filming until January. Some of the major effects were put in afterward.

Ghostbusters features visual effects that were revolutionary for its time. But the right schedule meant that not all avenues of VFX could be explored.

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"We knew early on that due to the incredible deadline we wouldn't have much time for research and development, although there was some," visual effects artist John Bruno told American Cinematographer. "If there had been six to eight months to finish, we could have experimented longer for optical to massage scenes to produce even better results. Our approach on effects was very direct. After some discussion, we chose the way to achieve the most believable result."

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How much money did the original 'Ghostbusters' make in theaters?

With Saturday Night Live stars and other comedic icons at its helm, Ghostbusters became such a hit that it paved the way for a sequel in 1989. An all female-led Ghostbusters came out in 2016. And then, in 2021, Ghostbusters: Afterlife premiered as more of a third movie to the original two installments.

During its original run in theaters, the original Ghostbusters made more than $229 million domestically. This earned the film the spot of the highest-grossing comedy in the U.S. and Canada in 1984.

Although there is some controversy about the 2016 movie and nothing will ever quite love up to the first Ghostbusters, we can all at least agree that the OG movie stands the test of time.

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