‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’: Trailer, release date and everything else we know about the sequel

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Ghostbusters: Afterlife has a big jump suit to fill. A sequel/reboot of the classic ‘80s comedy Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is hoping to play off the nostalgia of the original’s fans while also snaring a bunch of new moviegoers to the iconic franchise.

It’s not the first attempt to try and reignite Ghostbusters for the 21st century. In 2016 we got a female-led reboot that starred Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones and was directed by Paul Feig. Critics were meh on it, but many toxic commenters inundated the film with negative and often sexist takes. Ultimately, the film made $229 million worldwide.

The newest Ghostbusters movie is keeping things in the family, though. Here’s how, as well as everything you need to know about Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

What is the plot of ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’?

A single mother and her two kids move to a small town to live in the house left behind by their grandfather. Never really knowing their grandfather, Egon Spengler, they soon learn about the Ghostbusters and discover things he left behind, like the Ecto-1, proton packs and ghost traps.

It’s a good thing too, because there’s more to this small town than first meets the eye. Not too long after their arrival, ghosts and ghouls begin showing up and reeking havoc.

Who is in the ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ cast?

Ghostbusters: Afterlife takes place in the same timeline of the original Ghostbusters movies, but while it is a direct sequel it is also a potential reboot of the franchise with Egon’s grandkids, played by Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard and McKenna Grace, taking charge.

However, it would be practically sacrilegious to have a Ghostbusters movie and not include the original stars (not including Harold Ramis, RIP). Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts are all coming back to their original roles; to what extent — cameos or integral parts of the story — we don’t know.

But here’s the list of new cast members you’ll see and who they are playing:

  • Finn Wolfhard - Trevor 
  • McKenna Grace - Phoebe 
  • Carrie Coon - Callie 
  • Paul Rudd - Mr. Grooberson 
  • Logan Kim - Podcast 
  • Celeste O’Connor - Lucky 
  • Oliver Cooper - Elton 
  • Sydney Mae Diaz - Swayze 
  • Marlon Kazadi - Thickneck 
  • Bokeem Woodbine - Sheriff Domingo 

If you’ve seen the trailer you may also recognize Tracey Letts appearing as a shop owner. As Coon, who is married to Letts, described it to The Hollywood Reporter, his appearance in the film was total happenstance. 

Who is directing ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’?

It’s not just the cast that are returning familiar names. Just like with Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, a Reitman will be behind the camera. This time it is Jason Reitman.

Jason Reitman is the son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman (told you it was a family affair). The younger Reitman is an Oscar-nominated director best known for directing Up in the Air, Juno and Thank You for Smoking. In addition to directing, he also wrote the Ghostbusters: Afterlife screenplay with Gil Kenan.

Ivan Reitman isn’t sitting this one out, though; he is attached as a producer on the film.

When is the ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ release date?

Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which was one of many films that decided to push back its original July 2020 release due to the pandemic, is making one more change, but don't worry it isn't that dramatic.

Following the news that Top Gun: Maverick is moving to 2022, Deadline reports that Sony is moving Ghostbusters: Afterlife from its previous Nov. 11 release date to the now vacated Nov. 19.

On the movie's release date of Nov. 19, Collider has reported that Sony and IMAX are teaming on a one-night-only IMAX exclusive fan event for Ghostbusters: Afterlife that will feature a Q&A session with director Jason Reitman. The event will take place at 2 IMAX theaters across the country.

When Ghostbusters: Afterlife is released, it will only be available in theaters. While day-and-date release strategies have been popular among the likes of Warner Bros. and Disney, Columbia Pictures (owned by Sony) doesn’t have its own streaming service to facilitate such a move.

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Where and when it may head to streaming after its theatrical run is still TBD.

Is there a ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ trailer?

With less than four months to go before its release, Ghostbusters: Afterlife debuted a brand new trailer recently to get fans hyped, mixing its new characters and storylines with plenty of nods to the original Ghostbusters.

In the trailer you’ll spot Annie Potts’ Janine Melnitz, miniature Stay Puft Marshmallow men, possibly one of Zuul’s dogs and a phone number that our young heroes decide to call. Check out the full trailer below.

All of the previous Ghostbusters movies are available to rent online.

What's the buzz on 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'?

About two-and-a-half months ahead of its Nov. 11 release date, Sony Pictures screened Ghostbusters: Afterlife to its first public audience at CinemaCon, the Las Vegas-based convention for movie theater owners. Film critic Scott Menzel describing the movie as "nostalgia done right." 

Since then, a number of reviews have come in and has put the film at 74% on Rotten Tomatoes (as of Nov. 8). The other popular review aggregator, Metacritic, has the film at a score of 61 (just within its top level).

What to Watch will have its own review for Ghostbusters: Afterlife closer to its release.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.