It took five years for GHOSTBUSTERS 2 to reach the screen. One reason for the delay was the initial reluctance of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ivan Reitman to make a sequel to a film as phenomenally successful as Ghostbusters (1984).
What changed their minds was a four-hour lunch meeting in early 1988. Its purpose: to see if the team would reunite, but not necessarily for a Ghostbusters sequel.
Reitman: "We [felt] let's try something else together -- all the same people, different characters, different story. You start saying, well, what if we did do Ghostbusters? What would we do? What would that story be like?"
Murray: "I think walking into the meeting no one really felt we'd make [GHOSTBUSTERS 2]. But in the course of lunch we had so many laughs and so much fun that it became clear we'd really enjoy working together again."
With Aykroyd and Ramis once again writing the screenplay, and Industrial Light & Magic creating the visual effects, the key supporting cast members were reunited -- Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson -- and filming of GHOSTBUSTERS 2 began on November 28, 1988, in New York City. Among the locations used by Reitman and director of photography Michael Chapman was an old downtown customs house that stood in for the fictional Manhattan Museum of Art. After completion of the NYC exteriors, cast and crew returned to Los Angeles, where the remainder of the film was shot. While most of the production took place at The Burbank Studios, downtown LA stood in for Manhattan's E. 77th and 1st Avenue, where the Ghostbusters jackhammered a hole in the busy intersection.
To create the sequence with the four Ghostbusters atop the Statue of Liberty, a large-scale duplicate of the head was built on a soundstage. The mock-up was made 30 percent larger -- to make the actors more visible -- and mounted on gimbals to give it a rocking motion. These live-action scenes were intercut with miniatures and an actor dressed in a Liberty body costume.
One of the last scenes to be shot was that of the art museum being covered with a wall of slime. Physical effects supervisor Chuck Gaspar achieved the effect through the use of a mock-up of the museum front and jet sprays that oozed slime (red-colored methocel jelly) on cue. Principal photography was completed after 13 weeks of filming.
GHOSTBUSTERS 2 opened on June 16, 1989, and set a box-office record with a three-day take of $29.5 million. By the end of its domestic theatrical run, the film grossed over $112 million, making the Ghostbusters films one of the most financially successful comedy franchises of all time.