User:Harish/sandbox/Ghost Rider (film)

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Ghost Rider
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Steven Johnson
Produced by Avi Arad
Steven Paul
Michael DeLuca
Gary Foster
Written by Screenplay:
Mark Steven Johnson
Comic Book:
Roy Thomas
Gary Friedrich
Mike Ploog
Starring Nicolas Cage
Eva Mendes
Wes Bentley
Sam Elliott
Peter Fonda
Music by Christopher Young
Cinematography Russell Boyd
Edited by Richard Francis-Bruce
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) February 16, 2007
Running time Theatrical Cut:
114 min.
Extended Cut:
123 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $110 million
Box office $228,738,393

Ghost Rider is a 2007 superhero film written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson. Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, the film stars Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze, a stunt motorcyclist who morphs into the demon vigilante Ghost Rider.


In the American Old West, Mephistopheles sends his bounty hunter of the damned, the Ghost Rider, to retrieve a contract for a thousand corrupt souls from the town of San Venganza. Because such a large amount of souls would cause Hell on Earth, the Rider refuses to give the contract and escapes Mephistopheles, later to hide the contract and himself.

A century and a half later, Mephistopheles reaches out to seventeen-year-old stunt motorcyclist, Johnny Blaze, offering to cure his father's lung cancer in exchange for Johnny's soul. Johnny inadvertently 'signs' the contract when a drop of his blood lands on it after it was pricked by Mephistopheles before Johnny could refuse. The next morning Johnny awakes to discover that his father's cancer is cured, but he dies that same day in a horrific bike crash. Johnny accuses Mephistopheles of causing his father's death, but Mephistopheles considers Johnny's terms fulfilled.

Years later, Johnny has become a stunt rider famous for surviving disastrous feats. Before a dangerous new stunt, Johnny meets his childhood sweetheart Roxanne, now a journalist, and holds a dinner date with her that evening. During the same time, Blackheart, Mephistopheles' son, comes to Earth to find the lost contract and use its power to overcome his father. He enlists allies in a trio of demon spirits known as the Hidden who represent three of the four elements; the water-demon Wallow, the earth-demon Gressil, and the air-demon Abigor. In response, Mephistopheles makes Johnny the new Ghost Rider, offering Johnny his soul in return for defeating Blackheart. Johnny's first confronts Blackheart at a train station where the contract was once buried and kills Gressil while the others escape. On his way out of the station the Ghost Rider sees a mugger and uses his 'Penance Stare', an ability to sear the pain felt by all whom a person has harmed into the wrongdoer's soul, leaving the man catatonic.

The next day, Johnny wakes in a cemetery chapel where he meets a man known as the Caretaker, who seems to know all the history of the Ghost Rider. When he arrives home, Johnny finds Roxanne and tries to explain his situation; but she disbelieves him. Later he fights and kills Abigor, in full view of Roxanne and much of the police force. Observing the scene after obtaining the location of the contract, Blackheart realizes that Roxanne is Johnny's weakness. Johnny seeks advice from the Caretaker, 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 Mephistopheles to break free; in return, Slade became the Ghost Rider who hid the contract of San Venganza. Johnny then returns home to find that Blackheart already has Roxanne. Blackheart and Johnny clash but Johnny is defeated. Blackheart threatens to kill Roxanne if Johnny does not deliver the contract to him.

Johnny returns to the Caretaker to obtain the contract. Though reminded of the consequences, Johnny asks the Caretaker to trust him. The Caretaker then reveals that he is Carter Slade, having held on to his last bit of power in expectation of this moment. He speculates that Johnny has God on his side because he made his deal with Mephistopheles out of love rather than greed, and shows Johnny the way to San Venganza. They ride together through the desert in Ghost Rider form. They stop a short distance from the town, where Slade fades away.

After killing Wallow Johnny offers the contract to Blackheart. He 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 1,000 souls into his body, taking the name "Legion". He attempts to kill Johnny, and a fight ensues. Johnny manages to move in and use his Penance Stare, made effective by the thousand souls inhabiting Legion's body, to render him catatonic. Mephistopheles appears and gives Johnny his soul, offering to terminate the burden of 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". Johnny fears Roxanne will dislike the Ghost Rider in him, but she accepts him.

Word count: 737 - cut down to 700


  • Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider: A famous stunt motorcyclist, as an adult Johnny pushes himself to prove to himself he's famous off his own skill, defying death and handling his own fate. However, a deal with the devil, Mephistopheles, made when he was younger forces him to become a spirit known as the Ghost Rider who does the devil's bidding.

    From as early as when Dimension Films were involved, the studio wanted Johnny Depp to portray the Ghost Rider.[1] However, come June 2001, the studio began negotiations with Nicolas Cage to frontline the film.[2]
    Mark Steven Johnson said of Cage, "he's a huge fan, with a huge Ghost Rider tattoo on his left shoulder. That's how serious he is."[3] Eric Bana had met with Avi Arad for the role, despite hearing that Cage would most likely receive it, as according to Arad, Bana "wanted to meet anyway because he's a professional biker," whom Arad found to be "immensely appealing."[4]

    • Matt Long as Young Johnny Blaze: As a youngster, he was working for his father in the carnival. When he realises his dad is terminally ill, he unwittingly makes a deal with the devil to cure his father and it materialises. However, his father dies via a stunt accident as Jonny was ready to run away with a young Roxanne, but decides to leave her when the devil makes him realise he won't have a life.
  • Eva Mendes as Roxanne Simpson: A network journalist, she is also the love interest of Johnny. When she is forced to interview him, he rekindles an old flame between the two as he wants to reform a life with her, something he gave up when his father died.
    • Raquel Alessi as Young Roxanne Simpson: As a youngster she was deeply in love with Johnny and ready to run away with him, due to her father disapproving of their relationship. As she is ready to leave, Johnny decides to leave her behind as he drives off on his own, leaving her heartbroken.
  • Wes Bentley as Blackheart / Legion
  • Sam Elliott as The Caretaker / Carter Slade / Phantom Rider
  • Peter Fonda as Mephistopheles
  • Brett Cullen as Barton Blaze
  • Donal Logue as Mack: Friend and manager of Johnny Blaze.
  • Daniel Frederiksen as Wallow: The water-demon.
  • Laurence Breuls as Gressil: The earth-demon.
  • Mathew Wilkinson as Abigor: The air-demon.

Cast refs:

  • Ghost Rider
  • Blackheart (Wes Bentley)[6]
  • Roxanne Simpson (Eva Mendes)[7] + producing credits
    • "...wardrobe was very cleavage friendly..."[8]
    • Had major super hero envy, was given chance to "kick butt"[8]
    • MSJ on why Eva best suited the role[9]
  • Sam Elliot
    • Cage comments on him[8]
  • Peter Fonda
    • Cage comments on him[8]
    • MSJ on Fonda/characterisation[9]



Interest in adapting the character to film began as early as 1992, when Ghost Rider was between two studios.[10] By 2000, Crystal Sky Entertainment were set to co-finance the film, with Marvel CEO Avi Arad, Crystal Sky CEO Steven Paul and Jon Voight set to produce the film. An agreement was made so that the revenue from distribution as well as from licensing and merchandising opportunities will be shared equally by Crystal Sky and Marvel Enterprises. A script, written by David S. Goyer, was ready for production,[11] whilst Stephen Norrington had entered negotiations to direct the film. Both had worked previously with Marvel's 1998 film, Blade.[12] Dimension Films opted to involve itself in its most expensive production at that time (with $75 million budgeted for the film) Dimension chose to co-finance the film with Crystal Sky, who were handling the films foreign rights whilst Dimension had agreed to distibute the film domestically.[1]

  • "Progress came to a stop when Norrington bolted to direct the Columbia drama Tick-Tock..."[13]
  • GR grounded[14]
  • Taking rights back from Dimension[15]
  • "Sony Pictures is in negotiations to take in turnaround from Dimension Films all rights to Marvel Entertainment's Ghost Rider." Shane Salerno to pen new screenplay.[16]
  • Mark Steven Johnson takes over to direct, rewrites Salerno's script. "Producing are Johnson's partner in Horseshoe Bay Prods., Gary Foster, with Marvel principal Avi Arad and Crystal Sky's Steven Paul." Supervised by production co-president (of Columbia) Matt Tolmach. Greenlit for late '03 or early '04 start.[17]
    • gives brief history - Tick Tock didn't materialise due to 9/11, Cage temp departed for Constatine (left when director Tarsem fell out over film).
  • Lawsuits between Sony and Marvel (Spider-Man/licensing)[18][19]
  • Filming in Australia[20]


  • MSJ on working with Sony[9]


  • Film is a drama, GR takes revenge when deal to save Blaze's gf goes wrong[2]
  • Sony takeover/Shane Salerno[16] (see ref for new story details)
  • Previous script comments (being darker) - MSJohnson made it more "palatable to larger audiences"[8]
  • Discusses choosing between '70s and '90s GR[9]
  • "It’s inherently intense and dark so I definitely stayed true to all of that. But I also wanted to make sure that it was fun. I didn’t really want to make a really dark, bleak film. This movie is about intensity and horror and action but it’s also about love and humor..."[9]
  • Multiple villains, compared to old westerns/Clint Eastwood[9]
  • MSJ first draft had "Marvel Scarecrow" as the villain[9]
  • "two ways to go with a movie like this"[21]


The visual effects were drawn by a team led by Kevin Mack.[8] Creating Ghost Rider's flames required the graphics team making advances in computer graphics.[22] Johnson and his team had only done stylized artwork when Mack met with Johnson. Mack, of Sony Pictures Imageworks, told them in order to create the fire he would use a "computational fluid dynamic simulation" over a CGI skull, which would replace the actor's head. In order to create the effect of light from the flames rebounding of its surroundings, he proposed making an interactive light system described as a "ski mask with flush-mounted, flat LEDs to be computer controlled to fluctuate their light pattern, creating an interactive light on the actors' shoulders." LEDs were also fixed into the bikes wheels as to show light reflecting off the motorcycle and road.[23]

Imageworks had previously not used such technologies, but quickly began development. The flat LEDs required were initially not available on the market as the process began, but were shortly after. The team built the flames using Autodesk Maya and Side Effects Houdini, running mostly on Linux workstations.[23]

Johnson was careful to storyboard any part of the film requiring effects. He noted how everytime Ghost Rider was on the scene it would require a special effect, as oppose to the likes of the Spider-Man films where Tobey Maguire could just put on a costume. "You know that if Ghost Rider is going to show up in a scene, and you're going to cut to his close-up, it's going to cost you $50,000. So you have to storyboard and pre-vis everything, and you can't cover a scene or get as much action sometimes in a scene as you'd like because of that cost involved."[22]

  • Original idea for skull effects[21]
  • MSJ describes using Nic Cage's skull scan for GR's skull.[24]
  • MSJ talks about how having time to design the character/see comic book fan perception was beneficial to the look.[21]

Character portrayel[edit]

  • How far Cage was willing to go/visualising skin melting off his face etc[8]
  • How to keep dark spirits at bay: eating jelly beans, watching chimps and listening to Karen Carpenter[8]
  • Hellfire motorbike[9]
  • Cage decides look (wears GR leather look at his house)[9]
  • Cage worked out two hours a day to obtain a good physique[21]
  • Nic Cage's influence (no JD from a bottle, Jelly Beans instead)[21]


Ghost Rider Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by Christopher Young
Released February 13, 2007
Recorded 2006
Genre Orchestral
Film score
Length 58:29
Label Varèse Sarabande
Christopher Young chronology
The Grudge 2
Ghost Rider
Spider-Man 3

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,[25] performed a cover of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" for the end credits.[26]

  • MSJ on working with Young/the sound[9]

All songs written and composed by Christopher Young

No. Title Length
1. "Ghost Rider"   3:16
2. "Blackheart Beat"   3:06
3. "Artistry in Death"   4:13
4. "A Thing for Karen Carpenter"   1:59
5. "Cemetery Dance"   5:31
6. "More Sinister Than Popcorn"   5:39
7. "No Way to Wisdom"   2:15
8. "Chain Chariot"   6:17
9. "Santa Sardonicus"   3:36
10. "Penance Stare"   5:26
11. "San Venganza"   3:21
12. "Blood Signature"   2:08
13. "Serenada to a Daredevil's Devil"   1:52
14. "Nebuchadnezzar Phase"   5:51
15. "The West Was Built on Legends"   3:59
Total length:


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.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29] In June 2001, actor Nicolas Cage entered talks to be cast into the lead role for Ghost Rider,[30] 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.[31]

In the following August, Norrington abandoned the project due to a scheduling conflict, leaving to film the action flick Tick Tock starring Jennifer Lopez.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34] 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.[35]

Ghost Rider had again been delayed to begin in late 2004, but the lack of a workable script continued to delay production.[36] 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.[37] Actress Eva Mendes was also cast opposite Cage as Roxanne Simpson.[38] On February 14, 2005, Ghost Rider commenced filming in Australia at the Melbourne Docklands film studios.[39] Then in March 2005, actor Peter Fonda (who starred in Easy Rider) was cast as the villain Mephistopheles.[40] Johnson originally planned to film before an audience at the Telstra Dome, but instead opted to create a crowd using computer-generated imagery.[41] The director also chose to film in the motorcycle district of Melbourne.[42] By June 2005, principal photography had been completed for Ghost Rider,[43] which was set for a summer 2006 release.[44] In April 2006, the cast and crew performed last-minute reshoots in Vancouver.[45] Ghost Rider was originally scheduled to release on August 4, 2006,[46] but the date was moved three weeks earlier to July 14, 2006.[47] Sony changed the film's release date once more to February 16, 2007 to help relieve the studio's crowded 2006 calendar.[48]

Character portrayal[edit]

[[Image:Ghost rider bike.JPG|thumb|right|200px|Ghost Rider's motorcycle.]] 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".[49] 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.[50]

Ghost Rider's skull flames were designed to become smaller and blue to display any emotion other than rage.[50] 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.[25] 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".[51]



In May 2005, Sony Pictures launched the official website for Ghost Rider.[52]

The following July, the studio presented a Ghost Rider panel at Comic-Con International and screened a teaser for the audience.[50] The teaser, which did not have finalized footage of the film, eventually leaked online.[53] 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.[54]

In December 2005, the studio presented a first glimpse of Ghost Rider in a ten-second footage piece on the official site.[55]

In April 2006, Sideshow Collectibles announced the sale of a Ghost Rider maquette based on the concept art of the film.[56]

The following May, domestic and international teaser trailers for Ghost Rider were launched at Apple.[57]

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.[58]

Extended Cut version was also release on HD DVD in France on September 7, 2007.

  • Comic-Con 2005 - Motorcycle display[59]
  • Promotional posters given "misleading" loves elements due to Valentine season[60]
    • Response by Avi Arad to misleading, "vague"[21]
  • Advance screening/premature criticism[21]


Ghost Rider was commercially released in the United States on February 16, 2007. The film grossed $15,420,123 on its opening day,[61] 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 $14,374 in 3,619 theaters.[62] The film's total earnings were $115,802,596 domestically, and a worldwide total of $228,738,393.[63]

Ghost Rider received mainly negative reviews from film critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, Ghost Rider has a 28% overall approval out of 122 reviews from critics.[64] The results were mirrored in Metacritic reviews as well, displaying a ranking of 35 out of 100 based on 20 critical reviews.[65] Additionally, Michael Ordoña of the Los Angeles Times[66] and Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times[67] 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 praises the computer-generated effects of the film, he also criticizes it, calling it a "clumsy, lifeless outing".[68]


On February 9, 2007, Marvel producer Avi Arad announced the development of Ghost Rider 2 at a press event.[69] Peter Fonda has also expressed a desire to return as Mephistopheles.[70] In early December, 2007, Nicolas Cage also has expressed interest to return in the lead role as Ghost Rider.[71] Shortly after, in another interview he went on further to mention that he would enjoy seeing a darker story, adding, "He's not eating jelly beans anymore; he's getting drunk". He also suggested that the film could do with newly created villains.[72]

In an September 2008 interview, Nicolas Cage informed IGN that Columbia have taken meetings to start a sequel. Cage noted conversations about the story, where Ghost Rider may end up in Europe on behalf of the church, having story elements "very much in the zeitgeist, like Da Vinci Code."[73] In February 2009, an online source stated Colombia Pictures had greenlit a sequel to Ghost Rider. Nicolas Cage will reprise the lead role, whilst the studio are in search of writers.[74]

  • Cage was initially hesitant to return but decided to wait on fan reaction on whether he would do sequels[8]
  • "Marvel Scarecrow" was MSJ first draft villain, not used due to Batman Begins, saw that, thought it's possible to use in sequel.


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External links[edit]

See also (for article building)[edit]

Usable references[edit]

Citations for use. —Erik (talkcontribreview) - 14:05, 18 February 2007 (UTC)