WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, now playing in theaters.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife does a pretty decent job of honoring the legacy of the two movies from the '80s, while also charting a new path for Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) to carry the franchise. As the granddaughter of Egon Spengler, the movie does pass the baton to her in the finale, with the mid and post-credits further hinting that the universe will be expanded.
With that in mind, let's look at the possibility of a sequel occurring based on the narrative of the movie and its box office performance thus far.
How Ghostbusters: Afterlife Sets Up a Sequel
Afterlife sets up sequels from two angles, the first of which has to do directly with Phoebe in Summerville, Oklahoma. She, her brother Trevor, Podcast and Lucky can dive into Egon's inventions on his farm, and along with their science teacher, Gary (who's also seemingly dating Callie, Egon's daughter), they can become the new generation of Ghostbusters.
Egon did leave behind a lot of tools and tech, and Phoebe and Gary are science aficionados so it'd feel organic for them to reverse-engineer and improve his work. However, the post-credits scene has Winston speaking to Janine about how he made millions in the financial world but missed the Ghostbustin' days. He did join Ray and Peter to help Phoebe's team banish Gozer, so clearly he's up for the job as a mentor and backer.
He ends Afterlife by opening up a new firehouse since their old one's a Starbucks now. The Ecto-1 comes in, as he promised Phoebe to refurbish it, so he seems poised to be the benefactor who helps them upgrade. Winston would be perfect as a leader with his money and experience, maybe even helping them jet all over the world to fight ghosts unleashed when Gozer rose up. Ray and Peter can also join them, or help lead various teams around the world akin to an Avengers-like setup, as director Jason Reitman did admit he wants to build a huge universe.
Ernie Hudson & Jason Reitman Have Already Hinted at Ghostbusters 4
Ernie Hudson has always loved playing Winston but the older movies didn't do him justice, putting him in the background as a non-founding member just seeking a salary. Winston is like the Nick Fury of this world now, though, with his funds and an assertive voice, which makes him ideal to help lead a fourth Ghostbusters film with his resources.
In October, he told Jake's Takes, "If they threw it, I would be honored to do it. I've heard rumors they're writing a new one, so we'll see." He was clearly playing coy so as not to spoil secrets and reveals, thus the road's clear for him to truly become a face of the franchise along with the new batch of teens.
As for Reitman, he also said in a panel last month, "We wanted to make a movie that opened the universe to all kinds of stories. I want to see Ghostbusters movies from all of my favorite directors, and we hope that this movie sets the table for that." It could mean different movies, maybe in different timelines or countries, but the point is, he wants the series to continue. Some fans have even toyed with a Ghostbusters multiverse emerging due to Gozer's portal affecting space and time, but what's for sure is the possibilities are endless in terms of the story told so far.
Ghostbusters 4 Will Depend Upon Afterlife's Box Office
Ultimately, sequels depend on how much money the original earns Ghostbusters: Afterlife has been labeled as a potential "holiday sleeper," with families seeking fun movies going into the Thanksgiving weekend. The film's domestic opening weekend was projected for $30 million to $35 million, but Afterlife it exceeded that, with $40.5 million from 4,315 theaters across the United States and Canada. It earned another $16 million from international markets.
Notably, Ghostbusters: Afterlife has garnered mixed reviews from critics, currently sitting at 63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite these middling appraisals, however, Afterlife has a strong audience score of 95 percent as of this writing. It's clear fans love the nostalgia of seeing both generations teaming up, which augurs well for those hoping that the studio will green-light a sequel sooner rather than later.
To see how it sets up a fourth film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is in theaters now.
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