What comes after Afterlife?

I guess we are going to find out. During their CinemaCon presentation this week in Las Vegas, Sony confirmed that work is underway on a new Ghostbusters movie. This would mark the fifth film in the long-running and sometimes beloved (and sometimes inexplicably controversial) franchise about a bunch of schlubs who catch ghosts. The most recent film in the saga, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, provided a proverbial resurrection for the series’ original continuity, and featured most of the surviving members of the original cast, including Bill Muirray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts.

Afterlife — which was directed by Jason Reitman and produced by Ivan Reitman before the filmmaker’s passing earlier this year — grossed $129 million in the United States and just $68 million overseas. That’s not exactly the sort of box-office total that typically qualifies as a blockbuster these days, but apparently it was good enough for Sony to begin work on yet another film.

The studio didn’t announce any actors or whether Jason Reitman is once again involved. If the plan is to continue with the characters established in Afterlife, the movie did leave things on a cliffhanger that could be picked back up in an After-Afterlife film. (Minor spoilers to follow.) In a post-credits scene, it turns out that former Ghostbuster Winston is now an enormously wealthy man, and he returns to the old firehouse in Tribeca where the group used to hang out, seemingly set on restarting their old business. Meanwhile, a light on the old ghost trap in the firehouse’s basement is flashing red.

Man, those Ghostbusters were really irresponsible tenants. They just left the ghosts when they moved out? Maybe Walter Peck had a point about them!

Nonetheless, that does leave some room for a new Ghostbusters movie to pick up those threads, with Winston and perhaps even some of the younger characters introduced in Afterlife launching a new team. Or Sony could discard all of that and start over from scratch. Or they could make a new movie featuring the cast of the Paul Feig Ghostbusters. Right now, all we know is that busting will make someone feel good again in the near future.

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