Will there be a sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife?
The future of the franchise is likely to rest on its box office.
The Ghostbusters franchise has had a tough time of it since the release of its groundbreaking first entry, with none of the subsequent instalments being able to capture the magic of the team's debut.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife looked poised to break that unfortunate trend, as a family project between original director Ivan Reitman and his Oscar-nominated son, Jason, but many feel that it fumbled the opportunity.
Reviews from critics have been decidedly mixed, with some praising the film for its performances and style, but others condemning its heavy reliance on fan service.
Ultimately, the film has been slapped with both a Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic score lower than that of 2016's divisive reboot featuring Bridesmaids stars Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, which may come as a surprise to that film's vocal detractors.
The film begins its global rollout this month, so we'll know soon enough if a sequel will be viable. Read on for all the details we have so far.
Will there be a Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel?
When it comes to the future of Ghostbusters, what really matters is box office; if the film turns a decent profit, there's no way that Sony Pictures won't continue to push the franchise forward.
At the time of writing, industry pundits are projecting an opening weekend in the United States of approximately $30 million, which is down from the 2016 reboot (which managed $46 million), but not an awful result by pandemic standards.
In its favour, Afterlife has a production budget that comes in at roughly half that of Paul Feig's incarnation, meaning it should have less ground to cover before reaching its breakeven point.
Remember, a commonly used rule of thumb is that a film has to make around two-and-a-half times its budget back in order to turn a profit, factoring in advertising costs and the cut taken off by cinemas.
More like this
That would have Ghostbusters: Afterlife targeting a worldwide gross of $200 million or above. Let's see what happens over the next few weeks.
If the film does find an audience, it's highly likely we'll see more Ghostbusters movies coming down the pipeline, with Sony Pictures owning a division named Ghost Corps that's devoted to solely working on the franchise.
For several years now the intention has been to create a Ghostbusters cinematic universe, with director Jason Reitman saying at New York Comic-Con that he wants to see a wide variety of distinct entries.
"We wanted to make a movie that opened the universe to all kinds of stories," Reitman said. "I want to see Ghostbusters movies from all of my favourite directors, and we hope that this movie sets the table for that."
Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2 cast: Who would return?
It remains to be seen which characters would return for a potential Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel, but it's likely that Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) and Mckenna Grace (Captain Marvel) would reprise their roles.
As the descendants of Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), they have been set up as the natural inheritors of this franchise, with classmates Lucky (Celeste O'Connor) and Podcast (Logan Kim) also being candidates to stick around.
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) and Carrie Coon (Fargo) could also return as school teacher Gary Grooberson and hard-working mother Callie Spengler, who were also drawn into the action in Afterlife's dramatic finale.
It's less certain whether the surviving members of the original Ghostbusters cast – Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts – would want to return for more cameos in the future.
What could happen in a Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel?
To avoid spoilers for the film, which has only recently been released in cinemas, we won't go into any specifics here, but it has been publicly teased since October that the Ghostbusters: Afterlife ending will set up something big for the franchise.
A message from director Jason Reitman reads: "Hey fellow Ghostbusters! So excited to be in the city for my first New York Comic Con! My father and I hope you enjoy this next chapter in the Ghostbuster mythology. We know you love movies as much as we do. Please keep the ending a secret! You’ll know why soon!"
Is there a Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2 trailer?
Nope! There's a chance the film might not even get made, so don't hold your breath for a trailer anytime soon.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is out now in cinemas. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.