The ghoul-hunting franchise has since been rebooted with an all-female team of Ghostbusters, a decision which has caused controversy among fans of the original two 1980s films.
Ivan says that he tried to make a more traditional follow-up in which the old team of Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and the late Harold Ramis handed over the reins to a new generation of Ghostbusters, but the sequel was sunk by modern comedians' fears of not living up to their predecessors.
"When I was going to direct it (the scrapped follow-up, Ghostbusters 3), and was working on the more traditional handing-over-the-reins story, I saw that most male comedy stars of this era were, frankly, afraid to do it," he tells America's Vulture magazine.
"Without mentioning any names, for the few people I contacted, they all said, 'Hey, I love Ghostbusters. It's a seminal movie for me. It’s the reason I became a comedian, but I'm just too afraid. I don’t want to step in those particular shoes.'"
According to Ivan, another problem for a traditional sequel was Bill's reticence to reprise his role as Peter Venkman in any third film.
"About four years ago, I started working on it with Harold and Danny to try to figure out - because Bill was always the holdout. I think he was just not interested," Ivan explains.
"He loves Ghostsbusters, and he appreciated all the good that it did for all of us, but he just wanted to pursue different things as an actor. And at the same time he didn’t want to do anything that would sully the other movies."
After Harold, who also helped pen the original movies, died in 2014, the filmmaker decided to hand over the reins of the franchise to someone else, resulting in Bridesmaids director Paul Feig getting the go ahead to make the newly released female fronted reboot.
And Ivan is delighted that the new cast of funnywomen Melissa MCCarthy, Kate MCKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones were braver than their male counterparts.
"What’s great is that these women were not afraid to step in those shoes," he says. "It was a real positive opportunity to do this kind of movie that, unfortunately, women have not been given the opportunity to do."
Despite a huge backlash from fans, which included the film's trailer becoming the most 'downvoted' clip in YouTube's history, the new film has received positive reviews from critics and audiences since its release in the U.K. and U.S. earlier this week (ends17Jul16).