If you’re a fan of “Ghostbusters” movies, then you know that there are four of them in total. But what’s the correct order to watch them? Some say you should watch them in the order they were released, but others argue that chronological order is the way to go. So which is it?

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at both options and help you decide which is the best way for you to watch the Ghostbusters movies. We’ll start with a brief overview of each film and then recommend the best way to watch them. So whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual viewer, read on to find out which sequence is correct.

The “Ghostbusters” franchise follows the story of a group of paranormal investigators who use high-tech equipment to capture ghosts, and all subsequent Ghostbusters fiction is based on the same theme. These are supernatural comedies starring Bill Murray (as Dr. Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (as Ray Stantz), and Sigourney Weaver (as Dana Barrett).

Related: 10 Best Bill Murray Movies of All Time, Ranked by Viewers

The first two Ghostbusters movies were released in the 80s, and the later two were released almost after two decades, making it one of the most extended gaps between the release of any sequels.

So without further ado, let’s see in what order these Ghostbusters films were released.

Ghostbusters Movies In Order Of The Release Date

  • Ghostbusters (1984)
  • Ghostbusters II (1989)
  • Ghostbusters (2016)
  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

Ghostbusters (1984)

Director: Ivan Reitman
Producer: Ivan Reitman
Writers: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis
Ratings: Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 88% | IMDb – 7.8/10

Ghostbusters (1984)

The first Ghostbusters film was released in 1984, directed and produced by Ivan Reitman. Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, the film stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, and Harold Ramis.

In this comedy, three eccentric parapsychologists start a ghost-catching firm in New York City. Dr. Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore are more popularly known as the “Ghostbusters.” Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver are among the film’s stars, along with Annie Potts, William Atherton, and Ernie Hudson as supporting actors.

When Dana’s home is haunted by an evil spirit called Zuul, she contacts the Ghostbusters to set a ghost trap after seeing the TV commercial made by these paranormal investigators. When the Ghostbusters reach Dana’s house, Zuul, the servant of the God of Destruction, takes control of her body and begins claiming herself as the gatekeeper. Meanwhile, another demon possesses Lewis, the next-door neighbor Dana, and he claims himself as the key master.

Ghostbusters was released to considerable acclaim and became a cultural phenomenon. It received excellent reviews for its combination of humor, action, and horror, and Murray’s performance was often singled out for praise. It earned $282.2 million in the United States and Canada during its initial theatrical run, making it the second-highest-grossing film of 1984 in both countries and the then-highwater mark for comedies.

If you want to watch some excellent comedy with great action sequences, then the first Ghostbusters is the movie for you.

Ghostbusters II (1989)

Director: Ivan Reitman
Producer: Ivan Reitman
Writers: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis
Ratings: Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 61% | IMDb – 6.6/10

Ghostbusters II (1989)

The next film in the Ghostbusters movie franchise was released after five years; the hit supernatural comedy film, “Ghostbusters II,” was directed and produced by Ivan Reitman. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis wrote the screenplay, starring Bill Murray, Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts.

Five years after the original Ghostbusters defeated Gozer, they were sued and forced out of business. When a new paranormal threat appears, the busters must reunite to save the world again. Ray Stantz now runs an occult bookshop and works as a side job as an unfashionable children’s entertainer. In contrast, Egon Spengler works in a lab conducting human emotions experiments, and Peter Venkman hosts a TV talk show about psychics.

The sequel to “Ghostbusters,” “Ghostbuster II,” was met with harsh criticism when it debuted on June 16, 1989. Critics panned what they perceived as a primarily derivative follow-up that had toned down the film’s sardonic, dark humor in favor of something more family-friendly; however, MacNicol and Moranis’ performances were repeatedly praised.

Following the release of the then-highest-grossing comedy film of all time, “Ghostbusters II” was expected to bring in significantly more revenue than its predecessor. However, it only managed to make $215.4 million compared to the original’s $282.2 million.

However, the film has everything that made the first one great and more, i.e., ghost comedies. The humor is on point, the action is awesome, and the effects are top-notch. If you loved the first Ghostbusters, you would also enjoy this movie.

Ghostbusters (2016)

Director: Paul Feig
Producer: Ivan Reitman, Amy Pascal
Writers: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig
Ratings: Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 49% | IMDb – 6.9/10

Ghostbusters (2016)

Following the release of Ghostbusters II in 1989, the third film had been developing for several years. Bill Murray’s refusal to participate in the project and the death of Harold Ramis in 2014 delayed production.

Subsequently released in 2016, the critics praised the film for its humor, visual effects, and cast. However, the movie was a box office flop, grossing over $229 million worldwide, but losing over $70 million due to poor audience reviews. The Ghostbusters reboot had a budget of $144 million, making it one of the most expensive films in the Ghostbusters film series.

“Ghostbusters: Answer the Call” follows Ghostbusters Erin Gilbert, Abby Yates, Patty Tolan, and Jillian Holtzmann as they investigate ghosts in New York City. The all-female team was formed after Gilbert’s book about Ghostbusters went viral, and she lost her job.

You can take it as a remake of the 1989 film, with a new cast Starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. According to IMDb reviews, the film is one of the worst Ghostbusters films in the franchise. With an all-new cast, “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call” is a hard pass for most extreme ghostbusters fans.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

Director: Jason Reitman
Producer: Ivan Reitman
Writers: Gil Kenan, Jason Reitman
Ratings: Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 94% | IMDb – 7.1/10

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” the fourth and final film in the franchise, is a sequel to “Ghostbusters” (1984) and “Ghostbusters II” (1989), as well as the fourth installment in the franchise.

Thirty-two years after the events of Ghostbusters II, a mother and her children move to an Oklahoma farm they inherited from Egon Spengler, the single mother’s estranged father and member of the original Ghostbusters.

Jason Reitman announced he was developing a sequel to the original films in July 2019; by September, the cast had been set. Filming took place over three months, from July to October 2019. Jason Reitman’s directing and Gil Kenan’s writing come together to create the film featuring Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, and Annie Potts.

The cast was praised for their work, Reitman’s directing, nostalgic atmosphere, and respectful tribute to Ramis in the film, although the script and fan service received most of the criticism. It has grossed $204 million worldwide against a budget of $75 million.

The film’s sequel is expected to be released on December 20, 2023. If you have watched the franchise’s previous three Ghostbusters movies and want to have something to conclude the story, this film is for you. With awesome comedy, significant effects, and an all-new cast, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is an excellent conclusion to the franchise. If you’re a fan of Ghostbusters, this is a movie you don’t want to miss.

So here we are with all the Ghostbusters movies in order, from old ghost comedies to the latest ones. These films are part of the ghostbusters universe; one of them is a reboot film that tried to capture a new generation audience with the same story but a new cast.

FAQs about the Ghostbusters Movies in Order

In what order should I watch Ghostbusters movies?

The Ghostbusters franchise consists of four films: “Ghostbusters” (1984), “Ghostbusters II” (1989), “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call” (2016), and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (2021). The first two films are essential to establish the story and characters. The 2016 film is a franchise reboot with an all-new cast, and the 2021 Afterlife film is a sequel to the original films.

What is the best Ghostbusters movie?

The answer to this question is subjective, as different people will have different opinions. However, “Ghostbusters” (1984) and “Ghostbusters II” (1989) are generally considered to be the best films in the franchise, as they are the most essential to the story. The 2021 Afterlife film is also a good entry point for new fans of the franchise, as it includes new, younger cast members.

Do I need to watch Ghostbusters movies in order?

No, you do not need to watch Ghostbusters movies in order, but it is recommended that you watch the first two films as they establish the story and characters. 

Is there any new Ghostbusters movie releasing soon?

Yes, a new Ghostbusters film, a “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” sequel directed by Jason Reitman, is expected to be released on December 20, 2023.

How many Ghostbusters movies are there? Are there 3 or 4 Ghostbusters?

There are a total of four Ghostbusters movies released to date:

  • Ghostbusters (1984)
  • Ghostbusters II (1989)
  • Ghostbusters (2016)
  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

Is there a cartoon version of Ghostbusters?

Yes, there are two animated series of the Ghostbusters series; they are

  • The Real Ghostbusters (1991)
  • Extreme Ghostbusters (1997)

Is the 2016 Ghostbusters a sequel?

No, the 2016 Ghostbusters film was a box office failure that was supposed to be a reboot film of the original Ghostbusters movie.

Are all Ghostbusters movies connected?

No, the Ghostbusters 2016 film stands alone as it was a reboot and has no connection to previous films.

Is Ghostbusters: Afterlife a sequel to the original?

The first two movies in the Ghostbusters film series are tightly connected and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is a distant future sequel to these films.

Do I need to watch anything before “Ghostbusters: Afterlife?”

Yes, you should at least watch the original Ghostbusters (1984) film to understand the backstory of the original characters.

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