UPDATED WITH LATEST: After a 51-year directing career, and longer as a producer, Ivan Reitman, the comedy architect behind such classics as the Ghostbusters franchise, Twins, Kindergarten Cop and more, died Saturday night, leaving a deep hole in many hearts.
2021 was quite a year for Reitman: He saw his son Jason Reitman successfully take over the Ghostbusters business with a lot of heart and soul, and plenty of laughs with Ghostbusters: Afterlife which wound up resurrecting the 38-year old series for Columbia Pictures; the movie making close to $200M WW. Ghostbusters spanned four movies, the first one in 1984 taking comedies to a special effects stratosphere, all in grossing $937.8M worldwide to date.
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“Tonight, the lady with the torch weeps, as do all of us at Columbia, and film lovers around the world,” said Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group Chairman and CEO Tom Rothman in a statement to Deadline, “Ivan Reitman was an inseparable part of this studio’s legacy, but more than that he was a friend. A great talent and an even finer man; he will be dearly missed. We send his family all our condolences.”
In addition to the Ghostbusters movies, Reitman also directed the 1981 Bill Murray summer hit Stripes for Columbia Pictures, as well as the 2001 co-production Evolution. He also produced the 1981 cult adult animated classic Heavy Metal for Columbia.
Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman were a big part of the press tour for Ghostbusters: Afterlife which kicked off at CinemaCon. The two were one of the few Hollywood celebrities to make an appearance at the Las Vegas exhibition confab as many shied away from it due to Covid.
Jason Reitman said on stage at CinemaCon back in August: “For 40 years, the one question I was asked more than any other was are you going to make a Ghostbusters movie?” He ultimately decided to do a Ghostbusters movie because he “wanted to make a movie for my father and I wanted to make a movie for my daughter… Ghostbusters is a rare franchise, it doesn’t belong to the filmmakers, it doesn’t belong to me, it doesn’t belong to my father — technically it belongs to Sony — but it belongs to you.” The two continued to NYC Comic-Con where they sprung a surprise screening for fans after a Q&A with the cast.
Other condolences from Reitman’s peers and the industry included:
Danny DeVito starred in two Reitman-directed tentpoles, Twins and Junior, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, which grossed back in their day, $325M WW.
DeVito tells Deadline on Monday morning, “My friend of 50 years has passed and I am very, very sad. He was a kind and loving man who, from the first moment we met nearly 50 years ago, exhibited warmth, love and kindness, and amazing contributions to the entertainment industry. Ivan and his family have meant so much to me and I know to so many others. I send my love and condolences to his family. He will be in my heart forever.”
DeVito’s Twins and Junior co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger also weighed in via his social media accounts, calling Reitman “a mensch – a wonderful father and husband, a fantastic friend, a great human being.”
Thanks for everything, Ivan. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/lEBmGB9eue
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 14, 2022
From Ghostbusters: Afterlife star Mckenna Grace posted on Instagram:
Paul Feig, who directed the femme reboot of Ghostbusters in 2016 starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, expressed his “absolute shock” and how Reitman, who produced that movie, was a mentor:
I’m in absolute shock. I had the honor of working so closely with Ivan and it was always such a learning experience. He directed some of my favorite comedies of all time. All of us in comedy owe him so very much. Thank you for everything, Ivan. Truly. ❤️❤️ https://t.co/SGnI7OcT9s
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) February 14, 2022
Ernie Hudson, who played Ghostbuster Winston Zeddemore in three movies and Uncle Bill in the Feig directed 2016 version said:
From Toronto Film Festival CEO Cameron Bailey:
“Ivan Reitman’s movies cultivated our taste for anarchic comedy, the sweetest of friendships, and a beautiful way of looking at the world that made everything seem possible,” said Cameron Bailey, CEO of TIFF. “We’re shocked at his passing, but take comfort in the joy and laughter that he brought to so many all over the world.”
“Ivan’s own story represents the best of Canada. Born to Holocaust survivors, he and his family came to Toronto as refugees. His grit, his commitment and his sense of humour all came from the same place — a deep appreciation for the gift of life. Those qualities that catapulted him to global success as a filmmaker also made him terrific company.
“The Ivan Reitman who started out producing David Cronenberg’s horror classics Rabid and Shivers is the same man who directed Ghostbusters, Kindergarten Cop and Dave, which is one more reason why we loved him. He understood the gamut of what movies can offer, and he embraced all of it.
“When we were looking to build a permanent home for TIFF, Ivan and the Reitman family contributed the land where their parents’ car wash business once stood. Even more, he supported TIFF’s vision of a home for film culture. Every day at TIFF Bell Lightbox, we show and champion movies thanks to Ivan.
“TIFF wouldn’t be what it is today without Ivan Reitman. We mourn his loss. We are devastated for his family and send our deepest sympathies to his wife Geneviève, his children Jason, Catherine and Caroline, and his sisters Agi and Susan. And we celebrate his remarkable legacy.”
Carrie Coon, who starred in the Ivan Reitman produced Ghostbusters: Afterlife, said the following:
Working with Ivan was an honor and a pleasure and I’m so grateful that I was invited into the universe he helped to build, one that continues to resonate with fans the world over. 💔 pic.twitter.com/24N3L6nOjY
— Carrie Coon (@carriecoon) February 14, 2022
Breckin Meyer starred in the Reitman executive produced 2000 feature comedy Road Trip which launched the major motion picture career of filmmaker Todd Phillips:
Ivan Reitman produced Road Trip and there wasn’t, and still isn’t, a day that we forgot what a COMEDIC MASTER he was. Growing up on his work & THEN getting to work with him was a dream. He was encouraging, brilliant and pretty much right about everything. RIP Ivan and thank you
— Breckin Meyer (@breckinmeyer) February 14, 2022
Mr. Ivan Reitman. Comic Maestro. He cast me in STRIPES and inspired me to be funny. Condolences to his family. pic.twitter.com/eSOkgh0NWz
— John B. Larroquette (@johnlarroquette) February 14, 2022
Hard to put into words how important Ivan Reitman’s films were to my childhood and my developing love of cinema. To me he was a giant. So glad I got to work with him on DRAFT DAY in 2013. Even more fortunate I was able to tell him how much he meant to me. RIP. pic.twitter.com/80g6hLUtBK
— Pat Healy (@Pat_Healy) February 14, 2022
Opening night of Ghostbusters at UA Plainview was like a rock concert. The place exploded with joy. It was one of the most memorable moments of my childhood. Ivan Reitman influenced everything we all love about film comedy. A true legend. https://t.co/AHKAoo1ahB
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) February 14, 2022
A legend. The number of great movies he made is absurd. RIP. https://t.co/1d1tWCdrcb
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) February 14, 2022
Rest In Peace Ivan Reitman 💙✌🏼
— ✌🏼rosanna arquette (@RoArquette) February 14, 2022
Meatballs, Stripes, & Ghostbusters = This trilogy truly shaped my career. Randal, Brodie, & Banky are the children of Tripper, Winger, & Venkman. So thank you, IVAN REITMAN; your movies made me make my movies. Your work is a part of my creative DNA. I’m lucky you ever existed. pic.twitter.com/omghEHJ53X
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) February 14, 2022
Tim Matheson, Animal House actor:
“These photos of Ivan Reitman from the set of Animal House tell you all you need to know about him: loving, supportive, kind, gracious and so very, very talented! A splendid artist who never said a harsh word about anyone.”
Courtesy of Tim Matheson
Courtesy of Tim Matheson
Courtesy of Tim Matheson
Courtesy of Tim Matheson
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