Ghost Rider (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mark Steven Johnson|
|Produced by||Avi Arad
Stan Lee (executive)
David S. Goyer (executive)
|Screenplay by||Mark Steven Johnson|
|Story by||Mark Steven Johnson|
|Based on||Ghost Rider
by Gary Friedrich
|Narrated by||Sam Elliott|
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Editing by||Richard Francis-Bruce|
|Studio||Crystal Sky Pictures
Michael De Luca Productions
Vengeance Productions Pty Ltd.
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||114 minutes|
Ghost Rider is a 2007 American supernatural superhero film written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, the director of Daredevil. Based on the character of the same name which appeared in Marvel Comics, the film stars Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze with supporting roles done by Eva Mendes, Wes Bentley, Sam Elliott, Donal Logue, Matt Long, and Peter Fonda. The film was met with negative reviews but was a success at the box office.
Its sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, was released on February 17, 2012.
||This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (February 2013)|
In the American Old West, the Devil, Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda), sends his bounty hunter of the damned, the Ghost Rider, to retrieve a contract for a thousand corrupt souls. Given that the nature of the contract would give Mephisto the power to bring Hell to Earth, the Rider refuses to give him the contract.
A century and a half later, Mephisto reaches out to 17-year-old stunt motorcycle rider Johnny Blaze (Matt Long) who is romancing his lady love Roxanne (Raquel Alessi), offering to cure his father's lung cancer in exchange for Johnny's soul. Johnny inadvertently 'signs' the contract. The next morning Johnny awakes to discover that his father's cancer is cured, but his father is killed that same day in a motorcycle stunt. Johnny accuses Mephisto of causing his father's death, but Mephisto considers their contract fulfilled.
Years later, Johnny (Nicolas Cage) has become a famous stunt rider. Johnny meets his grown-up childhood sweetheart Roxanne (Eva Mendes), now a journalist, and he makes a dinner date with her that evening. During the same time, Blackheart (Wes Bentley), the demonic son of Mephisto, comes to Earth, along with the hidden Gressil, Abigor, and Wallow, a group of three fallen angels. They are demons who, after being exiled from heaven by Saint Michael, hid themselves in the elements on Earth. They are tasked by Blackheart to find the lost contract of San Venganza.
In response, the Devil makes Johnny the new Ghost Rider, and offers Johnny his soul back in return for defeating Blackheart. Johnny is driven straight to the station on his "first ride" where he transforms fully into the Ghost Rider and a fight ensues. In the process, Johnny acquires a heavy chain, which he uses to kill Gressil. While searching for the quarry, Ghost Rider hears a woman being mugged. He stops the mugger and uses his most powerful weapon on him, the Penance Stare; a power by which a person's soul is subjected to all the pain they have ever caused others. The mugger ends up in a catatonic state, worse than death, which is implied to be the "burning" of his soul.
Johnny wakes in a cemetery chapel, where he meets a man called the Caretaker (Sam Elliott), who seems to know all the history of the Ghost Rider. When he arrives home, Johnny finds Roxanne and reveals himself as the Devil's bounty hunter. She leaves in anger and disbelief at his tale. As Roxanne leaves, the police arrive and take Johnny into custody for his connection to the damage done to the city and the deaths caused by Blackheart. He is put in a holding cell with some other prisoners, who mock Johnny and beat him before he assumes his Ghost Rider form, knocking the prisoners down before taking one of their jackets and, after recognizing the only one who made no attempt to harm him as "innocent", he leaves to hunt down Blackheart. That night, Roxanne recognizes Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider form fighting and defeating Abigor (the second of the three fallen angels accompanying Blackheart) in full view of the city and a large police force. Johnny faces the police and then leaves. Observing the scene after obtaining the location of the contract, Blackheart realizes that Roxanne is Johnny's weakness.
Johnny goes to the Caretaker for advice, who tells him of his predecessor, Carter Slade, a Texas Ranger known as a man of honor before his greed became a reason for him to be sentenced to death. Slade made a deal with Mephisto to break free; in return, Slade became the Ghost Rider who hid the contract of San Venganza. The Caretaker then warns Johnny to stay away from those whom Blackheart can use against him. Johnny then returns home to find that Blackheart has killed his friend Mack (Donal Logue) and already has Roxanne. During their resulting fight, Johnny finds that his Penance Stare has no effect on Blackheart, who has no soul to burn. Blackheart threatens to kill Roxanne if Johnny does not deliver the contract to him.
Johnny returns to the Caretaker to obtain the contract. Johnny guesses that the contract is buried in one of the graves. He picks up a shovel and prepares to dig, until the Caretaker snatches the shovel and breaks it, revealing the contract hidden in its hollow handle. The Caretaker then reveals that he is Carter Slade, having held on to his last bit of power in expectation of this moment. He tells Johnny that he (Johnny) is more powerful and unpredictable than his predecessors because Johnny sold his soul for "the right reason," for love rather than greed, and the two leave for San Venganza. They ride together into the desert, both in Ghost Rider form. They stop a short distance from the town, where Slade gives Johnny his lever action shotgun, and the warning to "stick to the shadows" before fading away.
After killing Wallow (the third of the fallen angels accompanying Blackheart), Johnny gives the contract to Blackheart. He quickly transforms into Ghost Rider in an effort to subdue Blackheart, but dawn comes and he is rendered powerless. Blackheart uses the contract to absorb the thousand souls into his body, referencing the Biblical demon Legion. He attempts to kill Johnny, but is distracted when Roxanne uses Johnny's discarded shotgun to separate them. After she fails to destroy Blackheart, Johnny takes the gun and moves into the shadows; the shotgun turns into a supernatural weapon that shoots hellfire and blasts Blackheart apart. Blackheart re-forms, but Johnny moves in and uses his Penance Stare, made effective by the thousand souls inhabiting Legion's body, to render him catatonic. Johnny turns away from Roxanne, ashamed of his monstrous appearance, but she says she is not afraid, causing Johnny to return to his human self.
Mephistopheles appears and gives Johnny his soul, offering to take back the curse of the Ghost Rider. Johnny refuses, saying that he will use his power against Mephistopheles, and against all harm that comes to the innocent. Infuriated of being robbed of the power, Mephistopheles vows to make Johnny pay, to which Johnny in response recites his favorite saying: "You can't live in fear". Mephistopheles then disappears, taking Blackheart's body with him. Johnny and Roxanne share some parting words at the tree on which Johnny carved "J&R FOREVER" at the beginning of the film. Roxanne then tells Johnny that he got his second chance before sharing a final kiss with him. Johnny then rides away on his motorcycle, now a legend in his own right.
- Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider
- Eva Mendes as Roxanne Simpson
- Peter Fonda as Mephistopheles
- Wes Bentley as Blackheart / Legion
- Sam Elliott as Carter Slade / Caretaker
- Matt Long as Young Johnny Blaze
- Raquel Alessi as Young Roxanne Simpson
- Brett Cullen as Barton Blaze
- Donal Logue as Mack
- Matt Norman as Team Blaze
- Damned Boyz as Black Sabath Crew
- David Roberts as Captain Dolan
In May 2000 at the Cannes Film Festival, Marvel Comics announced an agreement with Crystal Sky Entertainment to film Ghost Rider with actor Jon Voight attached as a producer. Production was scheduled to start in early 2001 with a budget of $75 million, with actor Johnny Depp expressing interest in the lead role.
In July 2000 Stax of IGN reviewed a draft script for Ghost Rider written by David Goyer. The script version is set in Louisiana. Stax felt that the revision was convoluted; he suggested that Goyer rewrite the plot and develop the characters.
The following August, Dimension Films joined Crystal Sky to co-finance the film, which would be written by David S. Goyer and directed by Stephen Norrington. In June 2001, actor Nicolas Cage entered talks to be cast into the lead role for Ghost Rider, and by July, had closed a deal with the studio. According to producer Steven Paul, Cage had found out about Depp being a possibility for the role and contacted the director to express his own interest, being an avid Ghost Rider fan.
In the following August, Norrington abandoned the project due to a scheduling conflict, leaving to film the action film Tick Tock starring Jennifer Lopez. Cage eventually left the project as well. By May 2002, the studio Columbia Pictures sought to acquire rights to the film in turnaround from Dimension Films following the success of Spider-Man. In April 2003, under Columbia Pictures, director Mark Steven Johnson took over the helm for Ghost Rider with Cage returning for the lead role. Both had been drawn by a script written by screenwriter Shane Salerno. Johnson, rewriting Salerno's script, was set to begin production of Ghost Rider in late 2003 or early 2004. With production delayed into October 2003, Cage took a temporary leave of absence to film The Weather Man. Ghost Rider production was slated to tentatively begin in May or June 2004.
Ghost Rider had again been delayed to begin in late 2004, but the lack of a workable script continued to delay production. In January 2005, actor Wes Bentley was cast as the villain Blackheart, having been introduced to Johnson by Colin Farrell, who had worked with the director in Daredevil. Actress Eva Mendes was also cast opposite Cage as Roxanne Simpson. On February 14, 2005, Ghost Rider commenced filming in Australia at the Melbourne Docklands film studios. Then in March 2005, actor Peter Fonda (who starred in Easy Rider) was cast as the villain Mephistopheles. Johnson originally planned to film before an audience at the Telstra Dome, but instead opted to create a crowd using computer-generated imagery. The director also chose to film in the motorcycle district of Melbourne. By June 2005, principal photography had been completed for Ghost Rider, which was set for a summer 2006 release. In April 2006, the cast and crew performed last-minute reshoots in Vancouver. Ghost Rider was originally scheduled to release on August 4, 2006, but the date was moved three weeks earlier to July 14, 2006. Sony changed the film's release date once more to February 16, 2007 to help relieve the studio's crowded 2006 calendar.
Character portrayal 
Instead of a "hard drinking and smoking bad ass" Johnny Blaze, Nicolas Cage decided to give him more depth. "I'm playing him more as someone who... made this deal and he's trying to avoid confronting it, anything he can do to keep it away from him". Cage also explained that Blaze's stunt riding was a form of escape and a way to keep him connected to his deceased father, who taught him to ride. Cage rode a Buell motorcycle for Blaze's stunt cycle, and a heavily customized hardtail chopper named "Grace" which transforms into the "Hell Cycle". The Hell Cycle's wheels, made of pure flames in the comics, were changed to be solid tires covered in flames in order to give the motorcycle more weight onscreen.
Ghost Rider's skull flames were designed to become smaller and blue to display any emotion other than rage. The film's visual effects supervisor, Kevin Mack, and the visual effects team at Sony Pictures Imageworks handled the difficult task of creating computer-generated fire on a shot-by-shot basis. Ghost Rider's voice was manipulated by sound designer Dane Davis, who won an Academy Award for Sound Editing for The Matrix. Davis filtered Cage's line readings through three different kinds of animal growls that were played backwards and covered separate frequencies. Davis then amplified the dialogue through a mechanical volumizer. Director Johnson described the sound as a "deep, demonic, mechanical lion's roar".
In May 2005, Sony Pictures launched the official website for Ghost Rider.
The following July, the studio presented a Ghost Rider panel at Comic-Con International and screened a teaser for the audience. The teaser, which did not have finalized footage of the film, eventually leaked online. In the same month, Majesco Entertainment Company announced its deal with Marvel to acquire worldwide rights to produce the video game Ghost Rider for the PS2, PSP, and Game Boy Advance consoles.
In December 2005, the studio presented a first glimpse of Ghost Rider in a ten-second footage piece on the official site.
The Ghost Rider was also featured in a commercial for Jackson Hewitt Tax Services in which the character presented his income tax forms to a clerk for processing to receive a quick refund check.
On April 19, 2007, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment confirmed that in America the film will be issued on June 12, 2007 as a single-disc Theatrical Cut DVD, two-disc Extended Cut DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and UMD. Special features on the Extended Cut DVD include two commentary tracks, a comic book history feature, and a making of the film featurette.
Extended Cut version was also release on HD DVD in France on September 7, 2007.
Ghost Rider has received mostly positive reviews from critics, but was well accepted by audiences. On Rotten Tomatoes, Ghost Rider has a 99% overall approval out of 131 reviews from critics with the critical consensus stating: "Ghost Rider is a sour mix of morose, glum histrionics amidst jokey puns and hammy dialogue". The results were mirrored in Metacritic reviews as well, displaying a ranking of 35 out of 100 based on 20 critical reviews. Additionally, Michael Ordoña of the Los Angeles Times and Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times expressed disappointment in the movie, with Ordoña citing the "satanic references" and "judgemental" elements of Cage's character, and Catsoulis denoting how Johnny Blaze is "more funny than frightening". Although Eric Alt of the Chicago Tribune praised the computer-generated effects of the film, he also criticized it, calling it a "clumsy, lifeless outing". IGN named the film the worst comic book movie of the decade. The film was nominated for one Razzie Award for Nicolas Cage as Worst Actor.
Box office 
Ghost Rider was commercially released in the United States on February 16, 2007. The film grossed $15,420,123 on its opening day, while earning $45,388,836 for its opening weekend. The film earned $52,022,908 over the four-day President's Day weekend, with a per-theater average of $US 14,374 in 3,619 theaters. The film's total earnings were $228,738,393 worldwide of which $115,802,596 was from the USA.
|Ghost Rider Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Film score by Christopher Young|
|Released||February 13, 2007|
|Christopher Young chronology|
In December 2005, musical composer Christopher Young was announced to score Ghost Rider. In addition, Spiderbait, a band that Johnson befriended during filming in Australia, performed a cover of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" for the end credits. There has been a critically negative reaction from fans about "Ghost Riders In The Sky" not appearing on the soundtrack. The Studio still has yet to respond.
Track listing 
All songs written and composed by Christopher Young.
|3.||"Artistry in Death"||4:13|
|4.||"A Thing for Karen Carpenter"||2:01|
|6.||"More Sinister Than Popcorn"||5:40|
|7.||"No Way to Wisdom"||2:15|
|13.||"Serenade to a Daredevil's Devil"||1:53|
|15.||"The West Was Built on Legends"||3:59|
The sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance started filming in November 2010 and was released on February 17, 2012. Nicolas Cage reprised his role as Johnny Blaze and also portrayed Johnny Blaze in his Ghost Rider form. Crank filmmakers Neveldine/Taylor directed the movie.
- Michael Sangiacomo (2000-05-25). "More Marvel heroes to join X-Men on film over next few years". The Star-Ledger.
- Stax. "The Stax Report: Script Review of Ghost Rider." IGN. July 6, 2000. Retrieved on April 4, 2009.
- Michael Fleming (2000-08-30). "'Ghost' adds a Dimension". Variety. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
- "Cage considers 'Ghost Rider' role". Erie Times-News. 2001-06-28.
- Julia Brinksneader (2001-07-31). "Another 'ER' casualty". The Columbus Dispatch.
- James Berkshire (2001-08-20). "Cage GHOST RIDER Burning Out?". Cinescape.
- "`Ghost Rider' could follow Spidey film". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 2002-05-24.
- Dana Harris (2003-04-08). "Johnson sees 'Ghost'". Variety. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
- "When May Ghost Rider Start Shooting?". SuperHeroHype.com. 2003-10-19. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
- Angela Dawson (2004-11-18). "Nicolas Cage likes to hunt for treasure". The Cincinnati Post.
- Michael Fleming; Nicole Laporte (2005-01-20). "Bentley to haunt 'Ghost'". Variety. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
- Pamela McClintock (2005-03-01). "Marvel to prime pupils". Variety. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
- "More than a name". The Age. 2005-02-14. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Colin Covert (2005-03-11). "The bounce – who's up – who's down". Star Tribune.
- Clint Morris (2005-03-03). "Ghost Rider skips Dome". Moviehole.net. Archived from the original on 2007-12-27. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Karl Quinn (2005-03-06). "Foreign film upturn a tale of two cities". The Age. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- "'Time Share' comedy". Long Beach Press-Telegram. 2005-06-13.
- Mike Musgrove (2005-06-25). "Marvel, DC Duel At the Box Office". The Washington Post.
- "Ghost Rider Reshoots in Vancouver". SuperHeroHype.com. 2006-04-13. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- "Marvel Studios' Avi Arad on Upcoming Projects". SuperHeroHype.com. 2005-05-18. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- "Ghost Rider Moved Up to July". SuperHeroHype.com. 2005-09-05. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Laporte, Nicole (2005-12-14). "Sony cycles Cage starrer to 2007". Variety. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
- Andrew Weil (2005-06-16). "SET VISIT: Nicolas Cage on Ghost Rider!". SuperHeroHype.com. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Scott Chitwood (2005-07-17). "The Ghost Rider Panel at Comic-Con". SuperHeroHype.com. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Mark Steven Johnson (2005-12-15). "Ask MSJ Part 3". SuperHeroHype.com. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- "Mark Steven Johnson on Ghost Rider!". SuperHeroHype.com. 2005-08-07. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Sony Pictures (2005-05-19). "Ghost Rider Site Online". SuperHeroHype.com. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Sony Pictures (2005-07-29). "Sony Statement on the Ghost Rider Footage". SuperHeroHype.com. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Majesco Entertainment Company (2005-07-13). "Majesco Creating Ghost Rider Movie Game". SuperHeroHype.com. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Columbia Pictures (2005-12-20). "The Ghost Rider Revealed!". SuperHeroHype.com. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Sideshow Collectibles (2006-04-27). "Exclusive Look at Sideshow's Ghost Rider Maquette!". SuperHeroHype.com. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Sony Pictures (2006-05-23). "Ghost Rider Teaser Trailers Hit!". SuperHeroHype.com. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Sony Pictures (2007-04-19). "Ghost Rider DVD Cover Artwork". SuperHeroHype.com. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
- "Ghost Rider". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
- "Ghost Rider (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
- Ordoña, Michael (February 17, 2007). "'Ghost Rider'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-10-24.[dead link]
- Catsoulis, Jeannette (February 17, 2007). "Ghost Rider – Movie Review". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
- Alt, Eric (February 16, 2007). "Ghost Rider: There's not much life in this comic book adaption". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
- "Ghost Rider (2007) – Daily Box Office". Box Office Mojo. 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2007-03-13.
- "Ghost Rider (2007) – Weekend Box Office". Box Office Mojo. 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2007-03-13.
- "Ghost Rider (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
- "Soundtracks for Ghost Rider". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Ghost Rider (film)|
- Official website
- Ghost Rider at Marvel.com
- Ghost Rider at the Internet Movie Database
- Ghost Rider at AllRovi
- Ghost Rider at Box Office Mojo
- Ghost Rider at Rotten Tomatoes