The search for an eternally successful franchise is the film industry's equivalent of the search for the Holy Grail: it might not even exist, but Hollywood is determined to continue trying to find the magic formula to make the dream a reality.
Few franchises in film history manage to keep up the momentum for too long. Perhaps only the James Bond series has succeeded in spanning several generations, and it has done so only by being entirely formulaic and predictable, only tweaking the raw components slightly over the decades of its existence. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has likewise managed to avoid running its course through a combination of careful world building, cross overs and the steady hand of producer Kevin Feige.
But for many other franchises the future isn't so rose-tinted. Sequels and prequels fail to capture the spark of the originals, concepts and storylines become over-worn and repetitious, and audiences become bored of the same old thing as franchise fatigue wears them down. In short, they forget what it was that made them great in the first place, transforming into bland commodities to be consumed like junk food.
From classic comic book characters who've lost their way some of the most iconic action movies of the 1980s, some franchises really need to return to their roots.
Rumours of a third Ghostbusters film did the rounds on the internet for many years, with the original stars split on their willingness to reprise their roles, and the unfortunate passing of Harold Ramis in 2014 finally leading to original director Ivan Reitman quitting his role behind the camera. For a while it looked as if that 80s ghost bustin' magic would never be recaptured.
But in 2016 a reboot emerged, beginning with one of the most downvoted trailers in YouTube history and sparking a Twitter war between fans of the original series and all manner of politically motivated folks determined to defend the all-female reboot as a feminist mission statement. Politics aside, the film turned out to be close to terrible, proving that an action comedy movie featuring huge swathes of ad-libbed dialogue is no match for a tightly scripted movie like the original Ghostbusters.
With a reboot sequel off the table and Ivan Reitman's son Jason set to helm the upcoming Ghostbusters 3, there's great potential that the franchise can recapture the elements which made the original films so special. Dan Aykroyd certainly seems to think so: in a recent interview with Dan Rathers discussing the writers of the upcoming installment, he made the following statement:
"I can't say their names. They're a good team and they are making an effort to bring back all the emotion and spirit of the first two movies and then take it into the 21st century with a vernacular that's needed today to get it across," adding his thoughts on the return of Bill Murray, "The story is so good, he'll come, even if he plays a ghost."
Here's hoping it's succeeds in capturing the spirit (pardon the pun) and washes the unpleasant aftertaste of the 2016 reboot from fans' mouths.