Ghostbusters II

Ghostbusters II

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Produced by Ivan Reitman
Written by
Based on Characters created
by Dan Aykroyd
Harold Ramis
Music by Randy Edelman
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Edited by
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • June 16, 1989 (1989-06-16)
Running time
108 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $37 million
Box office $215.4 million[1]

Ghostbusters II is a 1989 American supernatural comedy film directed and produced by Ivan Reitman, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and starring Bill Murray, Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Rick Moranis. It is the sequel to the 1984 film Ghostbusters, and follows the further adventures of the four parapsychologists and their organization which combats paranormal activities.

Despite generally mixed reviews from critics, the film grossed $112.5 million in the United States and $215.4 million worldwide, becoming the eighth-highest-grossing film of 1989.


After saving New York City from the demi-god Gozer, the Ghostbusters—Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore—were sued by several city and state agencies for the property damage. Rather than face financial ruin, they accepted a restraining order barring them from operating as paranormal investigators and eliminators—forcing them out of business. In the eyes of the city, they are now considered frauds.

Five years later, Ray owns an occult bookstore and works as an unpopular children's entertainer with Winston; Egon has returned to Columbia University to conduct experiments into human emotion; and Peter hosts a pseudo-psychic television show. Peter's former girlfriend Dana Barrett has had a son, Oscar, with a violinist whom she married then divorced when he received an offer to join the London Symphony Orchestra. In order to take care of her baby, Dana quit performing and now works as a restorer at the fictional Manhattan Museum of Art, working to prepare a malevolent-looking portrait of a legendary sixteenth-century tyrant named Vigo the Carpathian of Moldavia for an upcoming exhibition.

After an incident in which Oscar's baby carriage is controlled by an unseen force and drawn to a busy intersection, Dana turns to the Ghostbusters for help. Meanwhile, Dana's colleague Dr. Janosz Poha has become increasingly obsessed with the glowering image of Vigo in the painting and falls under its spell. Vigo, whose spirit inhabits the painting, orders Janosz to locate a child that he can possess, allowing him to return to life on the New Year. Janosz, infatuated with Dana, offers to bring baby Oscar to Vigo in exchange for Dana, a deal which Vigo accepts.

The Ghostbusters' investigation leads them to illegally excavate First Avenue at the point where the baby carriage stopped. Lowered underneath, Ray discovers a vast river of pink slime filling an abandoned pneumatic transit line. Attacked by the slime after obtaining a sample, Ray causes a city-wide blackout by accidentally kicking a cast iron pipe that breaks, falls, and shorts out an electric cable. After this, the Ghostbusters are arrested by the NYPD. Ineffectually defended by Louis Tully, they are found guilty of violating the restraining order by Judge Wexler, aka "The Hammer." Before they are taken to Riker's Island, Wexler angrily berates them. In response, the slime recovered by Ray and taken as evidence explodes, releasing the ghosts of two murderers that the judge had condemned to death that proceed to devastate the courtroom. The Ghostbusters capture the ghosts in return for the cancellation of the restraining order.

Later, the slime invades Dana's apartment via the bathtub and attacks her and Oscar. She seeks refuge with Peter, and the two begin to renew their relationship. Investigating the 'psychomagnatheric' slime and Vigo's history, the Ghostbusters discover that it reacts to emotions; it can be charged positively or negatively. They suspect that it has been generated by the negative attitudes of New Yorkers. While Peter and Dana have dinner together, Egon, Ray, and Winston explore the underground river of slime. While measuring its depth, Winston gets pulled into the slime flow, and Ray and Egon jump in after him. After they escape back to the surface Ray and Winston begin an angry argument, but Egon realizes that they are being influenced by the slime, so they strip off their clothes. They also learn the river is flowing underground directly to the museum where Dana works.

The Ghostbusters go to the mayor with their suspicions, but are dismissed; the mayor's assistant, Jack Hardemeyer, has them committed to a psychiatric hospital to protect the mayor's campaign for governor. Meanwhile, a spirit resembling Janosz as a nanny kidnaps Oscar from Peter's apartment, and Dana pursues them to the museum alone. After she enters, the museum is covered with a cocoon of impenetrable slime.

New Year's Eve sees a sudden increase of supernatural activity as the slime rises from the subway line and onto the city streets, causing widespread paranormal activity with ghosts attacking citizens. In response, the mayor fires Hardemeyer and has the Ghostbusters released. After heading to the museum, they are unable to breach the slime barrier with their proton packs. Determining that they need a powerful symbol to rally the citizens and weaken the slime, the Ghostbusters use positively charged mood slime and a remix of "Higher and Higher" to animate the Statue of Liberty and pilot it through the streets before the cheering crowds. As they arrive at the museum, the slime begins to recede and they use the Statue's flaming torch to break through a skylight to attack Vigo and Janosz.

Janosz is neutralized with positively charged mood slime, but Vigo immobilizes the Ghostbusters and attempts to transfer into Oscar's body. The positive feelings accompanying a chorus of "Auld Lang Syne" by the citizens outside weakens Vigo, returning him to the painting and freeing the Ghostbusters. Vigo momentarily possesses Ray, and the other Ghostbusters attack him with a combination of proton streams and positively charged mood slime. This destroys Vigo and changes the painting to a likeness of the four Ghostbusters standing protectively around Oscar. Outside, the Ghostbusters receive a standing ovation from the crowd and, at a later ceremony to restore the Statue, the Key to the City from the mayor.


Some notable cast members in the film include one of Bill Murray's siblings, Brian Doyle-Murray, who played the psychiatric doctor, Dan Aykroyd's niece, Karen Humber, who played one of the school children, and Ben Stein, who played a public works official for the mayor. Jason Reitman, son of director Ivan Reitman, plays the boy who insults the Ghostbusters at a birthday party. Cheech Marin is the dock supervisor who witnesses the arrival of the Titanic, and Philip Baker Hall is the city police chief. Bobby Brown is the doorman to Gracie Mansion when the Ghostbusters go to see the mayor of New York City (also performing on the soundtrack). The physical role of Vigo was played by Wilhelm von Homburg, and his dialog was dubbed by Max von Sydow.


After the success of the first film and the animated series, The Real Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures pressed the producers to make a sequel.[2] Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ivan Reitman were uncomfortable with this, as the original film was intended to be conclusive and they wished to work on other projects. Eventually, they agreed and created a script.[3]


Box office

During its release, Ghostbusters II was the biggest three-day opening weekend gross in history,[4] a record that was broken one week later by Batman ($40,505,884).[5] Ghostbusters II eventually grossed $112.4 million in North America and $102.9 million internationally for a total of $215.3 million worldwide.[6]

Critical response

Based on 36 reviews, the film received mixed reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with a score of 51%. The site's consensus said about the film: "Thanks to the cast, Ghostbusters 2 is reasonably amusing, but it lacks the charm, wit, and energy of its predecessor."[7] At Metacritic the film received a score of 56/100 based on reviews from 14 critics, signifying "mixed or average reviews".[8]

Variety said the film had amusing visuals and a clever plot, while Nick Shager of Screengrab opined that it "Effectively slimed everyone's fond memories of the original".[9] On their show, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert gave the picture two thumbs down, disappointed that the film did not try anything new and like many sequels, merely re-treated the first film. Siskel stated "The film contains little comic invention. It looks as if the filmmakers, particularly the writers, simply didn't try to do anything special. As if they simply filmed the first draft." Ebert stated that he saw the movie in a theater in Michigan and out of a packed house, there was only one laugh.[10] Murray remarked how disappointed he was with it all as "Those special-effects guys took over. It was too much of the slime and not enough of us."

Home media

The Blu Ray version, released in September 2014, was scanned and mastered in 4K and preserves the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. An earlier DVD version was also transferred in the correct scope ratio. The VHS and Laserdisc releases of Ghostbusters II were made differently, however: instead of being produced in either the original 2.35:1 or panned and scanned at 1.33:1, the movie was panned and scanned in a 1.66:1 frame. This version, often shown on television, shows slightly more image at the edges than a "proper" pan and scan version at 1.33:1.


A great deal of merchandise (such as coloring books) came out with the release of this film. As was the case with the Real Ghostbusters cartoon, the makers of this material may have wanted to avoid likeness fees and as a result, the main characters in these bear little resemblance to any other version of the characters.

As a tie-in with the release of the movie, approximately 3,100 Hardee’s fast food restaurants offered a kids meal-deal that included a toy called the “Ghostblaster”, a small noisemaker embossed with the movie’s signature logo on one side and made different sounds when one of two buttons were activated. However, officials at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission deemed that the toy posed a potential choking hazard to small children due to the fact that the toy was operated with small watch-sized batteries and recalled at least 2 million units.

Comic book adaptation

During this period, The Real Ghostbusters comic book produced by NOW Comics ran a three-part adaptation of the film, using the cartoon character designs instead of the likenesses of the actors. The overall story received minor alterations to run as a three-part series, and includes several scenes that were in the shooting script but were not included in the released movie. An example is a scene set after their first visit at the museum (and Ray's first encounter with Vigo). In this scene, Ray is momentarily possessed while driving the Ecto-1A, and as a result tries to crash the car and kill the Ghostbusters. They soon bring Ray around to his senses after speeding through New York streets, and he apologizes, unable to account for his actions. They never connect it to Vigo since, while possessed, Ray never mentions him. The comic panels further reinforce the movie's scene where Ray is briefly hypnotized by Vigo (leading to him being chosen as a host at the end).


In a novelization of the movie by Ed Naha, Hardemeyer rushes at the museum's slime shell, which engulfs him, and the book does not mention him again. In the end credits of the film, he is shown in the crowd outside the museum, singing with them.

Video games


Ghostbusters II
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released 1989
Genre New jack swing,[11][12] R&B,[12] rap[12]
Length 45:40
Label MCA Records
Ghostbusters soundtrack chronology
Ghostbusters Ghostbusters II
Singles from Ghostbusters II
  1. "On Our Own"
    Released: May 1989
Original Soundtrack Album[13]
No. TitleWriter(s)Performer(s) Length
1. "On Our Own"  L.A. Reid, Babyface, Daryl Simmons[14][15]Bobby Brown 4:54
2. "Supernatural"  Jellybean Johnson, Jimmy Jam and Terry LewisNew Edition 4:34
3. "The Promised Land"  Bobby Caldwell, Paul GordonJames "J.T." Taylor 4:17
4. "We're Back"  Bobby Brown, Dennis Austin, Larry White, Kirk Crumple OriginalBobby Brown 5:10
5. "Spirit"  Doug E. Fresh, Bernard WrightDoug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew 5:03
6. "Ghostbusters"  Ray Parker, Jr.Run-D.M.C. 4:10
7. "Flesh 'N Blood"  Danny ElfmanOingo Boingo 4:17
8. "Love is a Cannibal"  Elton John, Bernie TaupinElton John 3:54
9. "Flip City"  Glenn Frey, Hawk WolinskiGlenn Frey 5:12
10. "Higher and Higher"  Gary Jackson, Carl Smith, Raynard MinerHoward Huntsberry 4:09
Total length:

The film also features the original versions of "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker, Jr. and "Higher and Higher" by Jackie Wilson, though neither appears on the soundtrack album.

The album was made available in digital form on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.

Cancelled sequel and reboot

In 1999, Dan Aykroyd wrote a script for a possible third film, titled Ghostbusters III: Hellbent.[16] In a 2004 interview, Bill Murray stated that he didn't want to appear in a potential third installment and for that reason, the cast considered replacing him with Ben Stiller.[17]

In 2014, after Harold Ramis' death, Ivan Reitman abandoned the project.[18] Film directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were in talks to direct the film, but passed on the project,[19] leading to his cancellation. In August 2014, Paul Feig revealed that he was in talks for direct a third film in the franchise, but with women in the lead roles.[20] He later revealed that the film will be a reboot and not a sequel for Ghostbusters II. Ghostbusters: Answer the Call was released on July 15, 2016.

See also


  1. "Ghostbusters II (1989)". Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  2. Park, Jeannie (1988-12-25). "FILM; Slime? Don't Worry! The Ghostbusters Are Back". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
  3. Klady, Leonard (1987-05-17). "Ghostly Movie". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
  4. Puig, Claudia (1989-06-20). "Record-Busting Opening for 'Ghostbusters II". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
  5. "Batman Sets Record And So Does Hollywood". The New York Times. 1989-06-27. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
  6. Dick, Bernard F. (1992) "Columbia Pictures: Portrait of a Studio" (p. 51). The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1769-0.
  7. "Ghostbusters II (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  8. "Ghostbusters II Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  9. "Ghostbusters II". Variety. 1988-12-31. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
  10. Murphy, Jim. "Batman/Honey, I Shrunk the Kids/Tummy Trouble/Ghostbusters II/Kung-Fu Master!" (June 24, 1989). Television: Siskel & Ebert. Burbank: Buena Vista Television.
  11. Patrin, Nate (June 30, 2016). "Something Strange Indeed: The Music of Ghostbusters". Stereogum. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  12. 1 2 3 Heaney, Gregory. "Original Soundtrack – Ghostbusters II". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  13. Ghostbusters II – Original Soundtrack at AllMusic
  14. "Bobby Brown: On Our Own (1989)", 80s Music Channel, October 1, 2008, retrieved January 10, 2009.
  15. Grein, Paul; Goldstein, Patrick (1989-04-09). "Ghostbusters Sequel: The red-hot Bobby Brown, coming off...". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
  16. Van Camp, Jeffrey (December 29, 2009). "Could Ghostbusters 3 Start Filming This Summer?". Retrieved December 30, 2009.
  17. Setoodeh, Ramin (October 14, 2014). "'Ghostbusters' Reboot: Will Bill Murray Return in Smaller Role?". Variety. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  18. Reed, Ryan (March 19, 2014). "Director Ivan Reitman Backs Out of 'Ghostbusters' Sequel". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  19. "Twitter / NikkiFinke: Hot duo to direct #Ghostbusters3? ...". Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  20. Whitney, Erin (August 2, 2014). "Paul Feig Reportedly In Talks To Direct Female-Centered 'Ghostbusters' Reboot". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 2, 2014.

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