Nicholas Cage played the role of Ghost Rider/Johnny Blaze in two PG-13 films. The actor recently revealed that he feels the franchise would’ve been a bit more successful if it had an R-rating.
“Had Ghost Rider been made in an 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.
The first Ghost Rider film released through Sony in 2007 and earned $228 million worldwide while its sequel, Spirit Of Vengeance could only manage $132 million worldwide. The sequel almost tripled its budget of $57 million in the box office.
“I still think the movies were a hit. People don’t look at the subsidiary outlets, like DVD and streaming and whatnot,” Cage said. “When you look at what [Spirit of Vengeance directors] Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor did for $50 million, and they got a $250 million return, you begin to see the genius of the sequel.”
Cage’s Ghost Rider was the one to succeed New Line’s R-rated trilogy Blade, which was the first big-screen blockbuster franchise for Marvel that helped make way for X-Men by Fox in 2000 and Spider-Man in 2002 by Sony Pictures.
Over the years, big studios have dipped their toes into the water boasting harsh ratings for not-as-big comic book adaptations. In 2003, Ben Affleck’s Daredevil flirted with an R-rating though the studio relegated its R-rated cut to DVD-only while 2004’s The Punisher, 2005’s Sin City and 2009’s R-rated Watchmen still remain as rarities in the PG-13 era of the comic book movies.
Punisher: War Zone flopped out in 2008, earning just $10 million worldwide–becoming the lowest grossing Marvel film ever. An R-rated project didn’t occur post this until 2016 when Fox came in with Deadpool. The film emerged as the highest grossing R-rated film of all times.
Fox also launched an R-rated film with Hugh Jackman in Logan, which also managed to earn $619 million worldwide. This yet again proved the viability of R-rated superhero movies.
Cage commented on the concept of Ghost Rider saying that, ”
“So it’s not going to be the most commercial concept or vehicle,” Cage said. “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.”
Cage is a huge comic book fan and was once set to portray Superman in Tim Burton’s never-to-be-made Superman lives. However, the actor did voice the iconic role in the animated Teen Titans! Go To Movies. Cage will also be voicing the dark Spider-Man noir in the upcoming Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.