Revisiting the scene of the crime ... <i>Ghostbusters 3</i> to be filmed in New York.

Revisiting the scene of the crime ... Ghostbusters 3 to be filmed in New York.

Fire up the proton packs: Ghostbusters fans can rejoice in the news that a third outing for the cult '80s hit comedy will begin filming in New York early next year.

Ghostbusters 3 has long been on the cards but has yet to materialise, not least because Bill Murray, who played Dr Peter Venkman, refused to even read a script. The recent death of actor Harold Ramis made the chances of a new movie look even slimmer.

Now, though, Ivan Reitman, who directed and produced the two Ghostbusters movies, has told Deadline.com that there will be a new version, which will honour its predecessors, even without the participation of two of their key stars.

Comedy hit: Ramis in Ghostbusters.

A third instalment of the cult '80s comedy will start filming early next year, minus the late Harold Ramis (centre).

"I'm not going to say how many Ghostbusters there will be in the new cast, but we are determined to retain the spirit of the original film, and I am pleased that all of this seems to have happened organically."

Reitman, however, has decided to bow out of directing this version in the wake of the death of his long-time collaborator Ramis in February.

"It was such an amazing time in my life 30 years ago," he said. "With Harold no longer with us I couldn't see it [taking on directing duties]."

He will remain on the project as a producer but will help Sony Pictures boss Amy Pascal find a new director.

Reitman, who collaborated with Ramis on five films including Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981) and Heavy Metal (1981), said he was proud of how Ghostbusters has aged since the original's 1984 release. The sequel followed in 1989.

"It really seems to have resonated, and I think a lot of adults who saw it when they were younger have shown it to their kids and they seem to respond much the same way," he said.

He said a version of the third instalment had been approved by him, and the writers of the first two movies, Ramis and Dan Aykroyd, but progress had been thwarted by Murray.

"It was a really good script, but then it became clear that Bill really didn't want to do another Ghostbusters and that it was literally impossible to find him to speak to for the year or two we tried to get it going. When Bill finally ... well, he never actually said no, but he never said yes, so there was no way to make that film."

The current script features the original characters "in a very minor role", although there has been no mention of the film's other prominent stars such as Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis.

New York, which is as much a part of the two movies as any of the main characters, will again be the setting. The city's iconic landmarks such as the New York Public Library and the Statue of Liberty had big roles to play in the previous versions, as well as the city's streets, the location for the attack by the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at the movie's climax.

"I am proud to have a long history of closing big boulevards in New York," Reitman said.