After years of working towards a third film installment of Ghostbusters, Canadian movie mogul Ivan Reitman is stepping down as director of the planned production.
Reitman, who directed both the original 1984 film and its sequel in 1989, will not helm the new project but will remain on board as a producer, according to movie industry publication The Hollywood Reporter.
"The remarkable thing about [Ghostbusters] is how it has resonated through the 30 years since it has been made. It seems to be evolving into a kind of Wizard of Oz-like film, beloved by parents and their their kids," Reitman told CBC News in July.
"I'd like to do another one, if possible, if we can find what made that first one so special. We tried with the second one and even though I liked the second one, and even though it was financially successful, it was finally for me a creative disappointment. We didn't quite get it right, didn't find that magic that we had in the first one...I have a feeling there is a way of doing it and we are trying to find it and that is really what is delaying it all."
The 67-year-old filmmaker had been at work finalizing a script with screenwriters. However, news of his withdrawal comes just weeks after the death of Reitman's friend, actor and filmmaker Harold Ramis, who co-wrote and co-starred in the first two Ghostbuster films.
"He was like the brother I never had...like a more funny version of me," Reitman recalled of Ramis to CBC's As It Happens in February.
Ramis and Ghostbusters co-star Dan Ackroyd had been slated for small roles in the new project, which will purportedly revolve around a fresh, young crop of ghost-hunting heroes. Original cast member Bill Murray is not expected to reprise his role.
Producers had eyed an early 2015 production start for the third Ghostbusters.