Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse Monday renamed its new lower Manhattan theater the Ivan Reitman Cinema after the prolific director of Ghostbusters — and ahead of the theatrical release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, helmed by his son Jason Reitman.
Both Reitmans were on site for the solemn occasion to inaugurate a giant statue of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, complete with gothic columns and Terror Dog gargoyles.
It’s a great bit of marketing by Alamo. As the film rolls out at its 36 locations, the chain, which features full restaurant service and in-house bars, will offer Ghostbusters-themed cocktails (Ectoplasmic Residue, anyone?), original poster art and a custom pre-show featuring “a kaleidoscope of nostalgia-inducing pop ephemera that fans of the 1984 Ghostbusters will appreciate.”
The plaque dedicated today to Reitman reads:
“Director Ivan Reitman has entertained and influenced generations of film lovers with seminal films like Stripes, Meatballs, and Dave. In Ghostbusters, he made hilariously wild concepts feel grounded, and cemented his entire cast – including a 112-foot-tall marshmallow man – into New York icons. Because of his incalculable influence on cinema, as of Monday, November 15th 2021, this Alamo Drafthouse Cinema shall hereby and forevermore be known as the Ivan Reitman Cinema.”
Reitman made movie history in 1984 with the team of parapsychologists forced out of their university funding to set up shop as a ghost removal service in NYC. Bill Murray starred as Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz. Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler and Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore. The film also starred Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts and David Margulies. Many of the cast returned in 1989 for Ghostbusters II. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a direct sequel to that.
“As a wide eyed five-year-old breathlessly watching my first film in a packed theater of kids, I could only dream that this might be the magical path that my life would follow,” said (Ivan) Reitman. “Thank you Alamo Drafthouse for naming this theater after me, and more importantly, thank you for clearly demonstrating belief in the future of this art form by building a great movie palace – just blocks from the firehouse that the Ghostbusters occupy.”
Alamo is led by CEO Shelli Taylor and executive chairman Tim League, who founded the chain with his wife in 1997 and earlier this year joined an investor group to finance it out of bankruptcy as theaters struggled during Covid.
League had stepped down as CEO in 2020 to focus on marketing and creative initiatives. Alamo has been among the most successful chains in attracting younger audiences back to theaters as moviegoing ramps back up. Alamo shows a mix of wide release, specialty and arthouse films and curated content. It likes to work with filmmakers, including a guest series this month selected and presented by Edgar Wright (One Night In Soho).
The new NYC location includes The Press Room bar and museum where the Reitmans helped hand-crank a small batch of posters with historic Ghostbusters imagery on the bar’s 1938 Vandercook Letterpress. League is putting to use a cache of midcentury print plates of newspaper movie advertisements that he acquired a few years ago.
“Ivan Reitman’s movies have made a big impact on my life and maybe just maybe helped to forge my sense of humor,” said League. “I am humbled to be able to share his legacy with our guests in New York.”
The theater is hosting an advance screening tonight handing out embossed Ghostbusters movie tickets and a limited-edition 12×18” letterpress poster with original promotional art.