EXCLUSIVE: After successfully relaunching the franchise with 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Sony Pictures is ramping up pre-production on the sequel with the film’s writer and exec producer Gil Kenan set to take over directing reins. Sources tell Deadline that Jason Reitman, who directed the pervious pic, will move into the writer-producer role alongside co-scribe Kenan and Jason Blumenfeld. Insiders add that the Ghostbusters: Afterlife ensemble that includes Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon is on board to return.
“It’s an absolute honor to pick up the proton pack and step behind the camera for the next chapter of the Spengler family saga,” said Kenan. “I just wish I could go back to 1984 and tell the kid in the sixth row of the Mann Valley West that one day he was going to get to direct a Ghostbusters film.”
While not much is known about the sequel, but sources say the plan is to return to New York City and the iconic firehouse made famous in the original Ghostbusters films. It is slated for a December 2023 release.
“A few years ago, my father handed me the keys to Ecto-1, and together we made Ghostbusters: Afterlife” said Reitman. “Words will never express how grateful I am to have made a film with my father by my side. It’s now time to hand those keys to my creative partner and fellow Ghostbuster Gil Kenan, a brilliant director who will keep the Spengler spirit alive. I can only hope to provide him the same producorial care and support that my father showed me.”
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It’s been a high priority for Sony to get a sequel in production after Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the latest sequel to the 1984 iconic film, became a hit with its November 2021 opening. Directed and co-written by Reitman, and executive produced and co-written by Kenan, the pic opened as the pandemic was winding down with strong results that included a $44 million opening weekend. The film went on to make more than $200 million worldwide.
After the success of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Reitman and Kenan signed an overall producing deal with Sony Pictures and quickly began working on the script for the next pic. Production now is being eyed for the top of 2023, with casting underway for some new roles to be added to the ensemble.
Kenan has directed such films as Monster House, City of Ember and last year’s A Boy Called Christmas. For Monster House. He earned Best Animated Feature Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Monster House.
Reitman also has directed Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult, Tully and The Front Runner. As a producer,his credits include Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, Jean-Marc Vallee’s Demolition and Karyn Kusama’s cult hit Jennifer’s Body.
Kenan is repped by WME and Robert Offer. Reitman is repped by WME and Alan Wertheimer.