Ghostbusters (also known as Ghostbusters: Answer the Call and marketed as such on home release) is a 2016 3D supernatural comedy film directed by Paul Feig, written by Feig and Katie Dippold and starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth. Telling the story of four women who start a ghost-catching business in New York City, it is the third feature film in the Ghostbusters franchise and serves as a reboot to the previous films.
A third Ghostbusters film had been in various stages of development following the release of Ghostbusters II in 1989. As a result of original cast member Bill Murray's refusal to commit to the project and the death of fellow cast member Harold Ramis in 2014, Sony decided to reboot the series. Much of the original film's cast make cameo appearances in new roles. The announcement of the female-led cast in 2015 drew a polarized response from the public and Internet backlash.
Distributed by Columbia Pictures, the film premiered at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on July 9, 2016 and was released theatrically in the United States on July 15, 2016, in 2D, 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D. The film grossed $229 million worldwide against a production budget of $144 million. Due to the high budget and large amount spent on marketing, the film is considered a box office bomb.
Physicists Abby Yates and Erin Gilbert are co-authors of a research book which posits the existence of paranormal phenomena, such as ghosts. Erin has disowned the work and become a professor at Columbia University, while Abby continues to study the paranormal at a technical college with eccentric engineer Jillian Holtzmann. Erin learns Abby has republished the book, threatening her bid for tenure at Columbia. She reunites with Abby and, in exchange for Abby removing the book from publication, reluctantly agrees to assist her and Jillian in a paranormal investigation.
The group witness the malevolent ghost of Gertrude Altridge, restoring Erin's belief in the paranormal. However, a video of their investigation is posted online, and Erin is fired by the university. She joins Abby and Jillian's project, but when a new institute director learns its nature, he dismisses them. They open an office above a Chinese restaurant and call themselves the "Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination". They build equipment to study and capture ghosts, and hire the dimwitted but handsome Kevin Beckman as a receptionist.
MTA staffer Patty Tolan witnesses a ghost in a subway line and contacts the group. They document the ghost and successfully test Jillian's proton containment laser, but their findings are again dismissed. They continue to develop their technology and advertise their services as what pundits have dubbed the "Ghostbusters". Patty joins the team, providing historical knowledge of New York City and a repurposed hearse, "Ecto-1".
Unbeknownst to the Ghostbusters, the ghosts are being summoned by devices built by Rowan North, an occultist attempting to bring about the apocalypse. When Rowan plants another device at a live music venue, the Ghostbusters are called in and capture the ghost in front of the audience. When supernatural debunker Dr. Martin Heiss challenges the Ghostbusters, the incensed Erin releases the ghost as proof; it throws Heiss out of a window and escapes. The Ghostbusters are brought to Mayor Bradley and his secretary Jennifer Lynch, who reveal that the city and the Department of Homeland Security are aware of New York's ghost problem. While privately supporting the team's work, the mayor's office and the DHS publicly denounce them as fraudsters.
The Ghostbusters realize that Rowan is planting his devices along ley lines, which intersect at the Mercado Hotel in Times Square, a site with a history of paranormal activity, and discover Rowan building a portal to the ghost dimension in the hotel basement. To avoid capture, Rowan electrocutes himself, after which Jillian deactivates the portal. Erin discovers a copy of her and Abby's book among Rowan's possessions and realizes that he killed himself so he could become a ghost and command a spirit army. Rowan returns as a powerful ghost, possessing Abby and then Kevin. As Kevin, he opens the portal and releases hundreds of ghosts. The police and DHS are subdued, but the Ghostbusters fight through the army of ghosts to reach the portal.
Rowan takes the form of the ghost in the Ghostbusters' logo, grows to enormous height, and attacks the city. The team devises a plan to use Ecto-1's nuclear reactor to close the portal and return the ghosts to their own dimension. The plan succeeds, but Rowan drags Abby into the portal with him; Erin leaps into the portal and rescues her as Rowan is obliterated. The mayor's office agrees to secretly fund the Ghostbusters' research while continuing to publicly denounce them as frauds. With new funding, the Ghostbusters move to a better facility, a disused fire house. New York lights up with thanks and tributes to the Ghostbusters.
In a post-credits scene, Patty listens to a recording of a ghost encounter and asks the others if they have heard of Zuul.
- Melissa McCarthy as Dr. Abigail "Abby" Yates, a physicist and paranormal researcher who founds the Ghostbusters with Gilbert and Holtzmann
- Kristen Wiig as Dr. Erin Gilbert, a physicist who co-founds the Ghostbusters after she loses tenure at Columbia University
- Kate McKinnon as Dr. Jillian "Holtz" Holtzmann, an eccentric engineer who co-founds the Ghostbusters and builds their equipment
- Leslie Jones as Patricia "Patty" Tolan, an MTA worker with extensive New York City knowledge who becomes the Ghostbusters' first recruit
- Chris Hemsworth as Kevin Beckman, the Ghostbusters' handsome but dimwitted secretary
- Neil Casey as Rowan North, an embittered mad scientist who unleashes ghosts on New York City
- Andy García as Mayor Bradley
- Cecily Strong as Jennifer Lynch, the mayor's assistant
- Charles Dance as Harold Filmore, the Dean of the Columbia University
- Michael K. Williams as Agent Hawkins
- Matt Walsh as Agent Rourke
- Ed Begley Jr. as Ed Mulgrave Jr.
- Steve Higgins as Thomas Shanks, the Dean of the Kenneth P. Higgins Institute
- Justin Kirk as Phil Hudson, Erin's boyfriend (Extended Edition)
- Elizabeth Perkins as Phyllis Adler (Extended Edition)
- Michael McDonald as Jonathan, a theater manager
- Karan Soni as Benny
- Zach Woods as Garett, a tour guide at the Aldridge Mansion
- Nate Corddry as Leif, a graffiti artist
- Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Potter, a guest in the Mercado Hotel (Extended Edition)
- Brian Baumgartner as Frank, a guest in the Mercado Hotel (Extended Edition)
- Toby Huss as Officer Stevenson
- Katie Dippold as a rental agent
- Jessica Chaffin as a waitress
- Jamie Denbo as a waitress
- Bess Rous as Gertrude Aldridge's ghost
- Dave Allen as an electrocuted ghost
- Steve Bannos as a flasher ghost
- Adam Ray as Slimer (voice)
- Sam Richardson as Basement Cop
- Bill Murray as Martin Heiss, a paranormal debunker
- Dan Aykroyd as a taxi driver
- Ernie Hudson as Bill Jenkins, Patty's funeral director uncle
- Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Rebecca Gorin, Holtzmann's mentor
- Annie Potts as Vanessa, the desk clerk at the Mercado Hotel
- Ozzy Osbourne as himself (listed as "Famous Rock Star")
- Al Roker as himself
- Pat Kiernan as himself
- Greg Kelly as himself
- Rosanna Scotto as herself
A bronze bust of the late Harold Ramis is seen in the hallway outside Dr. Gilbert's office, appearing when Dean Filmore leaves.