Ghostbusters: Afterlife Sequel: Release Date, Cast, And More

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The first time Sony tried to revive the "Ghostbusters" franchise, it was with "Bridesmaids" and "Spy" director Paul Feig's film reboot of the same name. In contrast to the culture war it ignited, Feig's 2016 movie is a breezy, unassuming comedy about a group of capable, wise-cracking women (and one not-so-capable male secretary) who decide to start up a ghost-catching business. But despite earning mostly positive reviews, the film was unable to cover its $144 million budget and plans for a followup were scrapped.

Instead, Sony opted to make "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," a legacy sequel that saw most of the main cast of the 1984 "Ghostbusters" return (with one huge exception) under the direction of Jason Reitman, son of "Ghostbusters I and II" helmer Ivan Reitman. The film recycles the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" formula on steroids, practically remaking the 1984 movie in its third act and burying viewers under an avalanche of nostalgic Easter eggs. All criticisms aside, though, it succeeds where it counts, passing the torch from the old bustin' guard to a plucky new team of young, quirky heroes.

"Afterlife" was similarly able to make a healthy profit at the box office in 2021, which was all the incentive Sony needed to green-light its sequel. Here's everything we know about the untitled project at this juncture.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel release date and where you can watch it

As part of Ghostbusters Day 2022, which marks the annual release of the first "Ghostbusters" film on June 8, 1984, Sony confirmed its plans for all things "Ghostbusters" in the future. That includes not only the "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" sequel but also an animated "Ghostbusters" movie, Netflix cartoon series, Dark Horse comic book series, and a Muncher-themed Pop-Tarts line. Okay, fine, I made up that last one, but admit it, you weren't sure it was fake at first.

The "Afterlife" sequel is now scheduled to open in theaters on December 20, 2023. Far from being alone on that date, the film is slate to go head-to-head with Blitz Bazawule's movie adaptation of "The Color Musical" stage musical at the box office, with Matt Shakman's "Star Trek 4" due to arrive just two days after. As for the home market, Sony's lack of an in-house streaming service means the "Afterlife" sequel will debut on VOD platforms prior to making its way to Netflix (which struck a shiny new streaming deal with the studio in 2021).

What is the Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel about?

"Ghostbusters: Afterlife" ends with a post-credits scene, revealing that first-generation Ghostbuster Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) is now a very wealthy man who not only owns the Ghostbusters' old firehouse but has been keeping his pal Ray Stantz' (Dan Aykroyd) occult book shop afloat all these years. It was a clear setup for the sequel, which is going under the working title "Firehouse" and is confirmed to return to the New York setting of the first two "Ghostbusters" movies after "Afterlife" took a detour to small-town Oklahoma.

Beyond that, it appears the late Egon Spengler's grandkids, Trevor and Phoebe, will be following in their grandpa's footsteps by going into the ghost-catching business in the next film. With Phoebe and their friends now firmly established as the property's new leads, the hope is the "Afterlife" sequel will focus less on servicing older "Ghostbusters" fans (er, pardon the phrasing) and more on coming up with a compelling reason why this property should continue to stick around for the foreseeable future (besides lining Sony's pockets with money, obviously).

Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel cast and crew

Until someone working on the film says otherwise, we can safely assume the young stars of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" — Mckenna Grace (Phoebe), Finn Wolfhard (Trevor), Logan Kim (Podcast), and Celeste O'Connor (Lucky Domingo) — will be coming back for the sequel. Carrie Coon should also be back in some capacity as Trevor and Phoebe's mom, Callie Spengler, as should Paul Rudd as school teacher and amateur seismologist Gary Grooberson. Likewise, given the post-credits scene for "Afterlife," Ernie Hudson looks to play a key role as the financier behind the new "Ghostbusters" operations in New York.

Jason Reitman is set to direct the "Afterlife" followup and will once again co-pen the script with Gil Kenan. The "Juno" and "Up in the Air" director is overseeing all upcoming "Ghostbusters" projects at the moment, which is a major change of pace for him after a career spent helming off-beat indie comedies and mid-budget movies targeted at adults. Does he have a vision for the future of this franchise that involves more than simply rehashing its greatest hits? One certainly hopes so, lest the idea of having to watch more "Ghostbusters" films start to feel like a chore.