Ghostbusters: Afterlife draws out superfans for premier of shot-in-Alberta movie

It’s opening weekend for the latest Ghostbusters instalment, and the movie, which was filmed in Alberta, is drumming up a lot of excitement.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the fourth film connected to the supernatural comedy franchise, and superfans are already flocking in costume to theatres across Calgary.

Albertans who aren’t franchise loyalists might be curious to see it, too. The movie, a sequel to 1984’s Ghostbusters, trades Manhattan for the fields and hoodoos of southern Alberta, with scenes shot in Calgary, Fort Macleod, Drumheller, Turner Valley, Beiseker, Dorothy and Crossfield.

Candace Schneider is the co-founder of Calgary Ghostbusters, whose members enjoy cosplay and giving back to the community.

She told the Calgary Eyeopener on Friday that Ghostbusters cartoons, and the all-female reboot in 2016, provided her with a sense of belonging.

“I feel like I was a nerdy, awkward child, and yet, all these misfits could kind of be Ghostbusters,” Schneider said.

Initially cast as an extra in the new film, her part was cut. But there are no hard feelings.

Schneider has already seen Ghostbusters: Afterlife once, and plans on seeing it at least twice more — including a screening at the Napier Theatre in Drumheller, Alta., on Friday night.

“[The Napier Theatre] was one of the filming locations which you’ll see in the movie, and we’ll all be dressed up and taking photos for charity to raise money for Alberta Children’s Hospital,” Schneider said.

‘A really special week’

Dustin Milne, another member of Calgary Ghostbusters, was dressed up at Scotiabank Theatre Chinook on Friday afternoon to take photos with kids.

Milne told CBC News that during filming, he scored a job working on the props team and at the production’s wrap party.

“A bunch of [the Calgary Ghostbusters] ended up working on it, and working with Sony and [director] Jason Reitman, so it’s been phenomenal,” Milne said.

The movie’s release was delayed by COVID-19. Finally getting to see it has been very exciting, he said.

“We had to pause and wait for two years [for it] to come out. So we’re finally at that point where we get to see it now, so it’s been a really special week.”

Filming locations across Alberta

For those planning on seeing the film to scope out familiar Alberta sights, there are plenty.

Fort Macleod, located 170 kilometres south of Calgary, was transformed into the fictional Oklahoma town of Summerville for the film.

The trailer includes shots of the historic Dorothy Ferry Bridge over the Red Deer River, Crossfield’s W.G. Murdoch School, Drumheller’s water tower and the Ecto-1 car careening toward Fort Macleod’s Empress Theatre, complete with a shot of actress Mckenna Grace firing a proton pack, hitting the theatre’s sign.

There is also a shot of what appears to be something strange in the century-old Turner Valley Gas Plant. 

After the release of the film’s official trailer in 2019, CBC mapped out all of the known filming locations.

You can take a look at the scenes from the trailer and their real-life Alberta counterparts below:

The Empress Theatre, in Fort Macleod, gets zapped by a proton pack in the trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. (Sony Pictures Entertainment, Google Maps)

The Ghostbusters trailer shows the entrance to Shandro Mining, which is actually the Dorothy Ferry Bridge. (Sony Pictures Entertainment, Google Maps)

This cafe in Beiseker has been transformed into Spinners Burgers & Shakes. (Sony Pictures Entertainment, Google Maps)

Drumheller’s water tower, right, is transformed into the water tower for the fictional Oklahoma town of Summerville. (Sony Pictures Entertainment, Google Maps)

Something spooky’s going on in the old Turner Valley Gas Plant. (Sony Pictures Entertainment, Google Maps)

With files from Sarah Rieger, Terri Trembath and the Calgary Eyeopener

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