I’d still argue that the Nicolas Cage-starring Drive Angry is the best (unofficial) Ghost Rider movie ever made, but Cage himself of course also starred in two actual Ghost Rider films: Ghost Rider in 2007 and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in 2011. Both films were rated PG-13, and neither one blew up the box office in any sort of significant way.
But, Cage believes, if they had been rated “R” and were released in today’s superhero-heavy climate, they probably would’ve been big success stories. And he’s not wrong.
“Had Ghost Rider been made in R-rated format, the way they had the guts to do with Deadpool, and they did it again today, I’m fairly certain it would be enormously successful,” Cage told Yahoo! Entertainment. “Having said that, I still think the movies were a hit. People don’t look at the subsidiary outlets, like DVD and streaming and whatnot. When you look at what Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor did [on ‘Spirit of Vengeance’] for $50 million, and they got a $250 million return, you begin to see the genius of the sequel.”
Cage continued, “The problem is, it’s very hard to take a family of children to a movie — and they made it a PG-13 movie — about a superhero who, oh, by the way, also happens to have sold his soul to Satan. [Not the] most commercial concept or vehicle. But it certainly is the most interesting, and the most thought-provoking. I think if you look back on the movies today, they age well.”
Given the box office success of harder, rated “R” superhero movies like Logan and Deadpool of late, it’s not hard to imagine Ghost Rider being a huge success story nowadays. Perhaps the feature film adaptations were just a bit ahead of their time, coming along at a time when movies of that particular sort weren’t such a hot ticket at the box office.
Cage made similar comments in a chat with Joblo earlier this year.
“Y’know, GHOST RIDER was a movie that always should’ve been an R-rated movie,” he admitted to the site. “David Goyer had a brilliant script, which I wanted to do with David and for whatever reason they just didn’t let us make the movie. But that movie is a still a movie that should be made, not with me obviously, but it should be an R-rated movie. Heck, DEADPOOL was R-rated and that did great.”
He continued, “GHOST RIDER was designed to be a scary superhero with an R-rating and edge and they just didn’t have it worked out back then.”