Ghostbusters movies ranked from worst to best

The fifth Ghostbusters film, Frozen Empire, is set to be released

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (Sony Pictures)
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is out this month. (Sony Pictures)

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire sees the Ghostbusters returning to cinemas this week.

The sequel to 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife sees the Spengler family returning to the New York City firehouse where ghoul-hunters Peter (Bill Murray), Ray (Dan Aykroyd), Winston (Ernie Hudson) and Egon (Harold Ramis) first got into the supernatural business.

It’s been 40 years since the first movie which was a huge hit and became a cult classic. And while the spooky franchise has been revisited over the years, so far none of the films have reached the highs of the original.

As Ghostbusters fans gear up to see the fifth instalment, we have a look at how the previous movies have fared on IMDb, ranking them from worst to best.

Ghostbusters II wasn't as popular as its predecessor. (PA Images/Alamy)

Ghostbusters II was released in 1989, five years after the first film, but failed to make the same splash. At the time, some critics suggested it was a copy of the original and said it didn’t quite recapture the magic.

Set five years after the events of Ghostbusters, it saw the team down on their luck and no longer working as ghost exterminators after their mission to save New York from Gozer caused some costly damage to the city. However, when an ancient tyrant targets Dana Barrett's (Sigourney Weaver) baby boy, they strap on their proton packs once again.

In 2008, Murray hinted that the reason the cast didn’t go on to do Ghostbusters III could be traced back to Ghostbusters II.

Peter MacNicol standing in front of the haunted painting of Vigo the Carpathian in Ghostbusters II. (Alamy)
Janosz (Peter MacNicol) standing in front of the haunted painting of Vigo the Carpathian in Ghostbusters II. (Alamy)

“When we did the sequel it was rather unsatisfying for me, because the first one to me was the goods,” he told Gizmodo. “It was the real thing. The sequel, it was a few years later, there was an idea pitched. They got us all together in a room and we all just laughed for a couple of hours and thought up a few ideas. So we had this idea.

"But it didn't turn out to be that idea, when I arrived on set. It was a whole different movie… So there was never any interest in a third Ghostbusters because the second one was so disappointing for me at heart.”

Ghostbusters Year : 2016 USA / Australia Director : Paul Feig Melissa McCarthy, Kate Mckinnon, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones
Ghostbusters was brought back with a female cast in 2016. (PA Images/Alamy)

Ghostbusters was rebooted in 2016, but with a twist. Director Paul Feig’s film focused on four ghost hunters who start a business in New York but this time the Ghostbusters were female.

The film — which starred Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones — divided opinion before it was even released, with some people objecting to the fact the much-loved movie was being remade with a female cast. By May 2016, the backlash was in full flow and the trailer had even become the most disliked film trailer on YouTube.

Feig was later quoted as telling the Hollywood Reporter at the SXSW festival that he both loved and hated the internet. He explained: “The first wave when you make an announcement like that is overwhelmingly positive. Everyone’s so happy, and you’re like, ‘This is great.’ Then comes the second wave, and you’re like, ‘Oh my God.’ [It’s] some of the most vile, misogynistic s*** I’ve ever seen in my life'.”

Once the film was unveiled reviews were mixed, but on IMDb it did score higher than Ghostbusters II.

S.O.S. FANTOMES : L'HERITAGE GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE 2021 de Jason Reitman Mckenna Grace Finn Wolfhard. Prod DB © Columbia Pictures - BRON Studios - G
Afterlife was released in 2021. (Columbia Pictures - BRON Studios)

In 2021 new life was breathed into the franchise when Jason Reitman directed this tale set 32 years after the events of Ghostbusters II. Starring Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon, the film followed a mum and her children who inherit a farm from her dad, who it turns out was Egon.

Original stars Murrey, Aykroyd and Hudson appeared in the film, but Egon star Ramis passed away in 2014.

However, his character was very much a part of the story and in moving scenes tech wizardry allowed a digital likeness of him to be in the movie.

The first Ghostbusters is the most popular. (PA Images/Alamy)

Topping the list is the original Ghostbusters, which is widely considered to be the best film in the series. With its charismatic cast and memorable ghosts like Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, not to mention the foursome’s battle with evil Gozer, it went down a storm with viewers.

Ghostbusters earned its place in popular culture, with endless merchandise and a catchy theme song that's become a big thing in its own right.

A box office hit, it has made close to 300 million dollars and many consider Ghostbusters to be among the first examples of a real blockbuster.