Back to IndieWire

Dan Aykroyd Says Bill Murray Has Abrogated His Rights To The ‘Ghostbusters’ Series; Hints At Two More Films In The New Franchise

Dan Aykroyd Says Bill Murray Has Abrogated His Rights To The 'Ghostbusters' Series; Hints At Two More Films In The New Franchise

Oh god, no. I mean, interesting news on the “Ghostbusters 3” front today. Dan Aykroyd, the self-appointed “cheerleader” of the “Ghostbusters” had a long sit down with Esquire and of course they delved into a long conversation about “Ghostbusters 3.” The script appears to be done. It appears to be as “ready” as it’s ever been (lord, when have we heard that one before). It’s apparently the script everyone wants to make and Aykroyd even talks about potential 4th and 5th “Ghostbusters” films. Have mercy.

At least no one’s getting ahead of themselves here. Here’s highlights from the conversation — oh, and make sure to buy his personal brand of vodka, especially if you’re a fan of the series because, the actor/writer says that “Ghostbusters 3” has no budget code over at Sony/Columbia and he’s been working on it for free all this time.. The highlights are as follows:

Aykroyd says Bill Murray has given up his rights to the series now that he he doesn’t want to be involved. 

I have one-fifth of the voice, along with the partners and the other owner of the property, the picture company, and Ivan, Billy [Murray], and myself, and Harold [Ramis]. We all have to sign off on it unanimously — uh, I’m not sure Billy does anymore, since he abrogated his rights by sort of, by saying, two years ago he said, “I don’t want to be involved,” and the picture company I think had some clause in there that if he actually passed on the third of fourth offer, he no longer has a view of the franchise. So, that’s for the lawyers to decide. Of course, I’d love to have Billy call me tomorrow and say, “Let’s go to work and start writing.”

The writer flat out asks (as had been rumored in the past), had that the second script, writen by former “The Office” scribes Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, been tossed out? Aykroyd doesn’t directly respond, but talks around the question.

You know, they did great work. There will be arbitration on it. And I hope that the arbitration may yield some kind of credit for them, but I don’t know what the final, final draft is gonna be. That’s to be determined. 

I’ve worked on every draft in the last three years, as Ivan has, and now we have a story and a draft that everybody seems to agree would make the third movie. At this point, I think we’re closer than we ever have been. And because of the ever-shifting sands and nature of the motion-picture business, I will just say that hopefully, at some point, it will be morphing into what is known in the business as a [Aykroyd mimes air quotes] “production number XP39789.” Then I will begin to rent cars, get hotel rooms, and bill for writing. But that point hasn’t come. All my work has been gratis to this point, as Ivan’s has, and I’m hoping that I can get that production number set up in L.A. and help everyone bring the movie to fruition, as the originator and creator of the concept. If it does not happen, the life of Dan Aykroyd and his family and friends will be quite full without Ghostbusters 3. 

The actor is convinced the Stupnitsky/Eisenberg draft was good enough to go and would have been a huge hit had Bill Murray approved it. 

Had Billy chosen to do the Eisenberg/Stupnitsky script of two years ago, it would be out this summer, and it would be a massive hit. If Billy had said yes, it would have satisfied his performance and what he wanted in the movie, it would have satisfied his performing skill and how he wanted to be depicted in the movie, it would have satisfied the studio, the writers who wrote it, everybody — Ivan, me, Harold, we were all happy with it. Then when he said, “Absolutely not, I’m not in this,” we had to go and really rethink things. He abrogated his say in the project, abrogated his rights to have any say in it by refusing the third offer from the picture company, which his lawyer put before him, and Billy said, “No, I can’t respond.” Now we have to move on, but we’ll always leave a hole for him. He’s always there. He can always come back at any time and be rebuilt into it, as far as I’m concerned. That’s up to his lawyer and the picture company to work out, but creatively, he will always be a part of it. 

Aykroyd suggests time is running out for Sony and if they don’t make the film soon, they will be shit out of luck and all the creative parties will move on to other projects.

Now, this would add quite a bump to Sony’s bottom line, quite a bump. If they make this movie, in its current shape, they would be looking at a pretty hefty, nine-figure return. And so I’m hoping they get on to move it, but if they don’t, I have multiple trains. I’ve got tracks six, seven, and nine, and that’s four. I’ll be moving on to other things, as will Ivan, by the way. We can’t wait forever. And now’s the time to tell the picture company, and I’d say this quite publically, it’s time now to sit down and make this movie, or you will lose your main principals, and you won’t be able to make it without us, because we have rights, and now is time to make the movie… You don’t take advantage of that in the next three or four months, I’ll see you in Australia, where we’ll be selling Crystal Head. 

“Ghostbusters films four and five named, “Man-hell-ttan” and “Ghostbusters in Hell“?

Listen, I tell ya, after this movie gets made, and maybe the next one: Man-hell-ttan. Man-hell-ttan, and the Ghostbusters in hell, would be so solid, but we gotta get maybe one or two made before that. But, oh, wow… I wrote that with Tom Davis, my writing partner, recently deceased, who wrote Coneheads with me and stuff on Saturday Night Live. There’s classic Tom Davis lines and funny stuff in there, really it’s probably the most humorous of all the Ghostbusters scripts that have generated in that last little while. But we’ll put the humor into this next one. It’s gotta be funny, or it’s not worth doing. It can be scary, it can be Ghostbusters, it can be the new franchise, the new people, but if it’s not funny … Wait a minute, it started as a comedy. Let’s make sure there’s laughs and no laugh unturned and that we really make that our priority, to make it funny and exciting, but mainly funny.

And yeah, again, Bill Murray won’t be in this film. However, if he somehow changes his mind, Ivan Reitman, Aykroyd and Harold Ramis would have him back in a heartbeat. “Of course, I’d love to have Billy call me tomorrow and say, ‘Let’s go to work and start writing.’ ”  Sony/Columbia is having its own issues at the moment which means no decision on whether ‘GB3’ gets a greenlight until at least March 2013.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox