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Ghostbusters: Watch every movie and series in this classic comedy franchise in order

Never mind who you gonna call, how are you gonna do it?

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire
Image credit: Columbia Pictures

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Is it too obvious to make a joke about the fact that the release of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire proves that the long-running franchise can’t stay on ice…? Probably, but the fact remains — what started as a one-off comedy from SNL and National Lampoon alumni 40 years ago has proven to have quite the afterlife. Okay, that one wasn’t meant to be a joke, this time.

With a franchise that spans five movies, two television series, and at least three different continuities — no, really — you might be wondering just how to catch up with the series as a whole and find out if bustin’ does, as advertised, make you feel good as well. Here’s how to watch the entire Ghostbusters franchise, from start to finish… in all its incarnations.

How to watch the Ghostbusters franchise in release order

Ghostbusters 1984 cast
Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

The Ghostbusters franchise is relatively small when it comes to output to date (although it still spans three different timelines; keep reading) — which makes a comprehensive listing particularly easy, even if it does span film and television, thanks to the animated spin-off(s) from the original movie. Are they canon? You’ll find out soon enough. The full Ghostbusters line-up is:

How to watch the Ghostbusters franchise in chronological order

Ghostbusters 2 team
Image credit: Columbia Pictures

Here’s where things get a little more complicated. There are no fewer than three timelines in the Ghostbusters franchise. The main canon consists of the following movies:

  • Ghostbusters (1984)
  • Ghostbusters II (1989)
  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)
  • Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024)

However, the first movie also led to the animated Real Ghostbusters series, which itself had a spin-off: 1997’s Extreme Ghostbusters, which lasted but one season. For those who are wondering: yes, there was a cartoon called Slimer! And the Real Ghostbusters, but that was simply a retitling of main Real Ghostbusters series from the fourth season onwards. (Slimer did appear in his own segments during episodes of this era; does that count as a separate spin-off…? Surely not.) Anyway, the animated timeline looks like this:

  • Ghostbusters (1984)
  • The Real Ghostbusters (1986-1991)
  • Extreme Ghostbusters (1997)

Entirely separately, there’s the timeline of the 2016 Paul Feig-directed reboot of the franchise, which consists of only one entry, unfortunately:

  • Ghostbusters (AKA Ghostbusters: Answer the Call) (2016)

Wait, is that it?

Actually... no. Dan Aykroyd's character from the Ghostbusters series actually appears in an entirely different movie altogether, although it's one that's thematically appropriate. He shows up in 1995's Casper - yes, as in "The Friendly Ghost" - as someone who can't help with the Ghostly Trio. As he says as he departs the manor with some speed, "Who you gonna call? Someone else!"

Does this count as canon? Almost certainly not - but it makes for a fun completist fact.

Finally, it doesn't look like we're done with Ghostbusters films just yet. An animated film that will be told from the perspective of the ghosts that get busted has been confirmed to be in development. There isn't an announced release date, and it has been in various stages of development since after Ghostbusters: Afterlife was released. However, it was confirmed to still be in development back in 2022 so it might get a new lease on life depending on how Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire performs at the box office. You can read more about that movie right here.

Where can I watch the Ghostbusters franchise?

Cropped image of Ghostbusters poster, shadowed figures leaving the Ghostbusters car
Image credit: Sony

Currently, in the US, the first two Ghostbusters movies can be found on Peacock here and here, while Ghostbusters: Afterlife is available via Starz. The 2016 Ghostbusters, meanwhile, is available to stream on Prime Video, and Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is in theaters now.

Everything can be found for rent or purchase on Amazon via the links in the Release Order section… with the exception of Extreme Ghostbusters, which doesn’t appear to stream legally in the US at all, oddly enough.

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