With any and all things related to Ghostbusters ready to be invigorated with not one, but two (possibly connected) franchise reboots of the film, people may be understandably curious about whether a critically indelible aspect of the property will be incorporated. Namely, the 1984 synth-funk masterpiece, "Ghostbusters" theme song by Ray Parker Jr. According to the director of next year’s all-female Ghostbusters film, he’s torn on whether or not to include the epochal earworm.
In an interview with E! Online at SXSW, Paul Feig, who will helm the all-female Ghostbusters film fielded the seemingly inevitable question regarding the iconic theme song. Apparently, it’s an issue on which the director is currently weighing, depending on how his film, which begins shooting this summer, will take shape. As Feig states of his current quandary,
It's such an iconic thing that part of you goes, 'I don't want to change it,' but then another part of you wants to update it. It's one of the biggest questions we're faced with.
From the look of things, it appears that next year’s film Y-chromosome-free primary cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon could serve as the launching point of a more comprehensive Ghostbusters franchise, with subsequent plans for an all-male counterpart with stars like Channing Tatum and the rumored addition of Chris Pratt. Consequently, it could also be the case that the studio may approach Feig with the notion that the theme song would need to be something more gender-specific than Parker’s vintage theme, seeing as it's almost the audio equivalent of a Members Only jacket.
One might also presume that there’s a certain temptation to bring a current star like Meghan Trainor on board to do some kind of silly, poppy updated rendition of the song that abandons the traditional synthesizers to be "all about that bass." In fact, that might be a safe bet; especially seeing as this upcoming estrogen-infused update will need to carve out its own identity, even with the specter (heh, heh) of the classic 1980’s property remaining as the basic framework on which it will operate.
However, Feig is definitely walking through treacherous territory with this reboot, already fielding Internet hate, based on not only the controversy over the casting, but the perceived temerity of bringing a film calling itself Ghostbusters to the big screen without THE surviving Ghostbusters of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson. While the comparison will be unavoidable, it could also be the case that a simple gesture of including the original Ray Parker Jr. theme song, unmolested in its original form, might be a small, but critical olive branch to the purists who are fuming over the changes.
It’s a sentiment that seems to be echoed by star, Melissa McCarthy, who tells E! Online that she’ll lip-sync the song if necessary to get it into the film,
I'll get the old pipes warmed up. I'm a horrible singer. I cannot sing. I'll do a Milli Vanilli.
The "Ghostbusters" theme is clearly critical to the property. Yet, its possible inclusion in the new film may be determined by how close the reboot ultimately resembles the property fans know and love. Of course, with the idea of its prominent usage or a new cover version comes the possibility of hefty residuals that may need to be paid to Huey Lewis, who famously filed suit after Parker’s "Ghostbusters" theme was found to closely resemble his 1983 hit, "I Want a New Drug."
It will be interesting to see which way the song ultimately does manifest in the upcoming spools of spookage when the ladies of Ghostbusters unleash (uncrossed) neutrino streams of hilarity at theaters on July 22, 2016.