One of the most famous commercials in movie history comes from Ghostbusters. Without it, we wouldn’t have seen the power of advertising. Conveniently a TV that was mysteriously left on for Dana (foreshadowing) let her know who to call (and with no address or obvious map) how to get to this new GHOSTBUSTERS business.
Before their can be a movie based on real events or a commercial, it has to be filmed. Sure my employers had a real commercial, it would have looked a little out of place with the rest of Ghostbusters being those comedic actors.
Also because Columbia Pictures hadn’t worked out the movie rights for the name GHØSTBUSTERS from those other fictional guys and a deal hadn’t been finalized with the Ghostbusters, all those involved with filming Ghostbusters filmed alternate takes with different “business” names. Ya know, just in case and it wouldn’t need to be re-filmed (which might not have been as great) in post production.
To differentiate from the real biz, an original movie commercial was written as part of the script. It wasn’t filmed in part due to time constraints. More about it from author Don Shay and film makers Michael Gross and Ivan Reitman.
The television commercial, as written, was never filmed-partly because no one was able to come up with an appropriate jingle in time for principle photography. Substitute scenes, shot in New York, feature the Ghostbusters awkwardly delivering their own pitch – in the worst tradition of do-it-yourself advertising – intercut with a few quick shots of them supposedly in action.
After the film was out and doing well – just to keep the phenomenon going – Ivan came up with the idea of taking a ‘junk-buy’ cross-country on late-night TV and running the commercial just as it appeared in the film, only with the superimposed phone number changed to an 800 number. Then people could call in and get an answering machine with Danny’s and Bill’s voices saying: ‘Hi, we’re the Ghostbusters. We’re not in right now – we’re out catching ghosts…’ Well, they did that, and they got a thousand calls per hour, 24-hours-a-day for six weeks.
At one point, we planned to do a second commercial for the film-one that we could work into the montage after they’ve become famous. I was going to do it as an elaborate MTV music video, with the guys singing the ‘Ghostbusters’ song-which we later could have actually played on MTV. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the song we liked until late in postproduction, and by that time it was too late to go back and do it.
I think most ghostheads know one of these alternate business names was Ghoststoppers. A lot of us might have been surprised by the name Ghostblasters. However, because of The Real Ghostbusters and a certain food promotion during 1989 became more familiar.
The alternate takes video was able to surface in part because it was suppose to be included with Ghostbusters: The Video Game.