Ghostbusters is a supernatural comedy multi-media franchise created in 1984. Its inception was for the movie Ghostbusters, released on June 8, 1984 by Columbia Pictures. It centered around a group of eccentric New York City parapsychologist who investigate and capture ghost for a living. For the movie this franchise licensed action figures, novelization, and other original materials to be produced around the movies theme. After this initial success they released original stories in other fields such as a comic book, a video game, a television series, and a theme park attraction. With the 2009 release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game the characters within the Ghostbusters set up their own fictional version of a Ghostbusters franchise to open Ghostbusters locations in other cities, which in real life was earlier seen in two independent film not officially approved by Columbia Pictures.
The concept of the first film was inspired by Dan Aykroyd's own fascination with the paranormal, and it was conceived by Aykroyd as a vehicle for himself and friend and fellow Saturday Night Live alum John Belushi. Aykroyd came up with Ghostbusters after reading an article about quantum physics and parapsychology in the American Society of Psychical Research Journal and then watching movies like Ghostchasers. Aykroyd thought, "Let's redo one of those old ghost comedies, but let's use the research that's being done today. Even at that time, there was plausible research that could point to a device that could capture ectoplasm or materialization; at least visually."
The original story as written by Aykroyd was much more ambitious—and unfocused—than what would be eventually filmed; in Aykroyd's original vision, a group of Ghostbusters would travel through time, space and other dimensions taking on huge ghosts (of which the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man was just one of many). Also, the Ghostbusters wore S.W.A.T.-like outfits and used wands instead of Proton Packs to fight the ghosts; Ghostbusters storyboard show them wearing riotsquad-type helmets with movable transparent visor. The original draft of the script written by Aykroyd was very large, compared to a "phone book" by director Ivan Reitman.
Aykroyd pitched his story to director / producer Ivan Reitman, who liked the basic idea but immediately saw the budgetary impossibilities demanded by Aykroyd's first draft. At Reitman's suggestion, the story was given a major overhaul, eventually evolving into the final screenplay which Aykroyd and Harold Ramis hammered out over the course of a few months in a Martha's Vineyard bomb shelter (according to Ramis on the DVD Commentary Track for the movie). Aykroyd and Ramis initially wrote the script with roles written especially for Belushi, Eddie Murphy and John Candy. However, Belushi died due to a drug overdose during the writing of the screenplay, and neither Murphy nor Candy could commit to the movie due to prior engagements, so Aykroyd and Ramis shifted some of these changes around and polished a basic, yet sci-fi oriented screenplay for their final draft.
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