Study Guide

Ghostbusters Wealth

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DEAN YEAGER: No! You're being moved off campus. The board of regents has decided to terminate your grant. You are to vacate these premises immediately.

PETER: This is preposterous. I demand an explanation.

DEAN YEAGER: Fine. The university will no longer continue any funding of any kind for your group's activities.

When we first meet our Ghostbusters-to-be they're having some serious money troubles. In some ways, the whole movie is a classic rags-to-riches kind of story. We also don't miss the irony here that they lose their funding right after they've just had their first real ghost sighting at the library. Maybe, they should've brought Dean Yeager down to that haunted library?

RAY: Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities. We didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college. You don't know what it's like out there. I've worked in the private sector. They expect results.

PETER: For whatever reasons, Ray, call it fate. Call it luck. Call it karma. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that we were destined to get thrown out of this dump.

Here, the movie suggests that the world of academia can be a bit cushier than the for-profit world of business. Venkman brushes aside Ray's worries, though. Our guess is that Peter is already cooking up the scheme to make some cash off of this ghost thing.

PETER: You're never going to regret this, Ray!

RAY: My parents left me that house! I was born there!

PETER: You're not going to lose the house. Everybody has three mortgages nowadays.

RAY: But at nineteen percent! You didn't even bargain with the guy!

EGON: Ray, for your information, the interest rate alone for the first five years comes to $95,000.

Ray is the one who takes the serious financial risk to fund the Ghostbusters—and it's a serious risk. Even though a lot of the movie is about far-out supernatural theories, it constantly keeps its characters grounded in everyday concerns. Some audiences want to root for heroes who have the same kinds of problems as them.

PETER: Will you guys relax? We are on the threshold of establishing the indispensable defense science of the next decade. Professional paranormal investigations and eliminations. The franchise rights alone will make us rich beyond our wildest dreams.

It's kind of hard to miss how Peter's motivation for starting the Ghostbusters is purely financial. Talk about a long shot, right? Ghostbusting? Even Amway is a safer bet.

RAY: Uh, this magnificent feast here represents the last of the petty cash.

The magnificent feast that Ray refers to here is some cheap Chinese food. Things look pretty bleak for our boys at this point in the story, though their fortunes quickly turn when they go bust Slimer in the hotel just after this. All through the early parts of the movie, the Ghostbusters' financial woes are used to up the stakes of their quest to bust ghosts.

PETER: Now, Let's talk seriously, now. For the entrapment, we're gonna have to ask you for four big ones. Four thousand dollars for that. But we are having a special this week on proton charging and storage of the beast, and that's only going to come to one thousand dollars, fortunately.

HOTEL MANAGER: Five thousand dollars? I had no idea it would be so much. I won't pay it.

PETER: Well, that's all right! We can just put it right back in there.

Funny how things have changed since the 80's, right? $5,000 actually seemed like a reasonable price to charge for a bunch of broke dudes trying to run a business in New York City. Also, don't miss how the boys aren't afraid to use a threat to get what they want here. They're desperate for cash, and they'll do what they have to get it.

JANINE: Do you believe in UFOs, astral projection, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trans-mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?

WINSTON: If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say.

When Winston first starts with the Ghostbusters, it's not about anything but money. The guy needs a job, even it does mean facing off with the undead. Over the course of the movie, as the situation gets worse and worse, it becomes less and less about money for Winston and more about saving the city.

WOMAN AT PARTY: Do you have any Excedrin or Extra Strength Tylenol?

LOUIS: Gee, I think all I got is this cedacelacytic acid. Generic. See, I can get six hundred tablets of that for the same price as three hundred of the name brand. Makes good financial sense. Good advice. Hey, this is real smoked salmon from Nova Scotia, Canada, $24.95 a pound. It only cost me $14.12 after tax, though. I'm giving this whole thing as a promotional expense. That's why I invited clients instead of friends.

An accountant, Louis seems to only be able to talk about money. Here, we see that it's his idea of fun party conversation. Everybody in this movie is so focused on cash that we wonder if the sickness that followers of Gozer saw in the world is somehow related how materialistic society has become.

PETER: You're gonna endanger us, you're gonna endanger our client. The nice lady who paid us in advance before she became a dog.

What's interesting about this line is the subtext. Peter isn't worried about Dana for financial reasons at all; he's worried about her as a person. The character has come from starting the Ghostbusters for profit to really caring about their mission and in particular their mission to save Dana—ever if she's turned into a demon dog.

LOUIS: Who are you guys?

RAY: We're the Ghostbusters.

LOUIS: Who does your taxes?

One of the major patterns in comedies is for characters to go back to making the same mistakes in the end that they were making in the beginning. Here, Louis goes right back to focusing on money, even though he's just been though some pretty extreme supernatural circumstances.

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