Vulture are reporting that if Nicolas Cage isn’t free to film Ghost Rider 2 at some point this year then Columbia Pictures may have to continue on with the movie without him. The reason? Rights. Apparently Columbia has to begin production on another Ghost Rider movie by November 14th 2010, otherwise the rights will revert back to Marvel. While fans may be happy about the prospect of the character going home, Columbia isn’t.
Insiders tell us that Columbia is asking Marvel for an extension. But time is running out. Cage has spoken about his desire to make a second Ghost Rider; the issue is whether his schedule will be free before the deadline. Disney is also hoping to get him for a third National Treasure with Jerry Bruckheimer, which could be shooting as early as this fall and would presumably earn the star a hefty paycheck.
But Columbia desperately needs a blockbuster for 2011, now that Spider-Man has been pushed to 2012 — not to mention that no exec wants to lose a moneymaking franchise to a rival studio.
Would the film work without Cage? One unconnected producer who’s worked in the comic-book genre gave Vulture an emphatic no, pointing out that the Ghost Rider character isn’t particularly well-known; any familiarity with it comes from associating the face of Cage — a worldwide box-office draw — with the title. Compare that to Iron Man 2, for which billboards all over the nation show nary a glimpse of star Robert Downey Jr. You don’t need the star to sell that movie, you just need the suit.
I’m not particularly looking forward to another Ghost Rider movie, with or without Cage. The first film made around $250 million back in 2007 but the negative reviews meant that there wasn’t much demand for a sequel. I got the feeling Columbia were just going to ‘throw out’ another film just to keep the rights, although writer David Goyer said “what Casino Royale was to the Bond movies, hopefully this will be to Ghost Rider.”
David Goyer’s script is set 8 years after the first film and is apparently much darker and realistic, although if Nicolas Cage can’t return and they have to hire another actor they might as well just call it a reboot.