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Ghost Rider (2007 film)

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Title: Ghost Rider (2007 film)  
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Collection: 2000S Action Films, 2000S Fantasy Films, 2007 Films, 2007 Horror Films, American Action Films, American Fantasy Films, American Films, American Horror Films, Columbia Pictures Films, Crystal Sky Pictures Films, Demons in Film, English-Language Films, Films About Stunt Performers, Films Directed by Mark Steven Johnson, Films Shot in Australia, Ghost Rider Films, Relativity Media Films, Superhero Films, Supernatural Horror Films, Supernatural Thriller Films, The Devil in Fiction, Vigilante Films, Works Based on the Faust Legend
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Ghost Rider (2007 film)

Ghost Rider
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Steven Johnson
Produced by
Written by Mark Steven Johnson
Based on Ghost Rider 
by Gary Friedrich
Roy Thomas
Mike Ploog
Music by Christopher Young
Cinematography Russell Boyd
Edited by Richard Francis-Bruce
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • January 15, 2007 (2007-01-15) (Ukraine)
  • February 16, 2007 (2007-02-16) (United States)
Running time
110 minutes
(Theatrical cut)
123 minutes
(Extended cut)[1]
Country United States[2][3]
Language English
Budget $110 million
Box office $228.7 million

Ghost Rider is a 2007 American supernatural superhero film written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson. Based on the character of the same name which appeared in Marvel Comics, the character's first appearance being in 1972. The film stars Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider/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 by critics but was a success at the box office.

A sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, was released on February 17, 2012, with Cage reprising his role.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
    • Character portrayal 3.1
  • Music 4
  • Release 5
    • Promotion 5.1
    • Home media 5.2
  • Reception 6
    • Box office 6.1
    • Critical response 6.2
  • Sequel 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The Devil, Mephistopheles, sends his bounty hunter of the damned, the Ghost Rider, to retrieve the contract of San Venganza for control of a thousand corrupt souls. Seeing that the contract would give Mephistopheles the power to bring Hell on Earth, the Rider refuses to give him the contract.

In 1986, Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda) reaches out to 17-year-old stunt motorcycle rider Johnny Blaze, offering to cure his father's cancer in exchange for Blaze's soul to which he hastily accepts. The next morning, Blaze awakes to discover that his father's cancer is cured, but his father (Brett Cullen) is killed that same day in a motorcycle stunt in which he falls into the ring of fire he is jumping through. Blaze accuses Mephistopheles of causing his father's death, but Mephistopheles considers their contract to be fulfilled.

In 2007, Blaze (Nicolas Cage) has become a famous stunt rider. Blaze meets his former childhood sweetheart Roxanne Simpson, now a news reporter, whom he abandoned after his father's death. He convinces her he wishes to make amends and she agrees to a dinner date. Meanwhile, Blackheart, the demonic son of Mephistopheles, comes to Earth, along with three fallen angels. They are tasked to find the lost contract of San Venganza. In response, Mephistopheles makes Blaze the new Ghost Rider and offers him his soul back in return for defeating Blackheart. Blaze is driven straight to the station on his "first ride", where he transforms into the Ghost Rider and a battle with the fallen angels ensues. The next day, he meets a man called the Caretaker, who seems to know all about the history of the Ghost Rider. He tells him everything that happened wasn't a dream and that it will happen again, especially when he is near an evil presence.

When he arrives home, Blaze finds Simpson and reveals himself as the Devil's bounty hunter. Unconvinced, she walks away in disbelief. After a brief imprisonment for the murders Blackheart committed, Blaze goes to the Caretaker for advice. The Caretaker tells him of his predecessor, Carter Slade, a Texas Ranger who hid the contract of San Venganza. Blaze returns home to find that Blackheart has killed his friend Mack and already has taken Roxanne captive, threatening to kill her if Blaze does not deliver the contract to him.

Blaze returns to the Caretaker and obtains the contract. The Caretaker reveals that he is Carter Slade. Slade tells Blaze that he is more powerful than his predecessors since he sold his soul for love as opposed to greed. The two leave for San Venganza. Slade gives Blaze a lever action shotgun before fading away.

After killing one of the fallen angels, Blaze gives the contract to Blackheart. He quickly transforms into Ghost Rider in an effort to subdue Blackheart, but dawn arrives and he is rendered powerless. Blackheart uses the contract to absorb the thousand souls into his body. He attempts to kill Blaze, but is distracted when Simpson uses Blaze's discarded shotgun to separate them. After Blaze tries to kill Blackheart with the shotgun, he moves in and uses his Penance Stare to render him catatonic, burning all the corrupt souls within Blackheart.

Mephistopheles appears and returns Blaze his soul, offering to take back the curse of the Ghost Rider. Determined not to make another deal; Blaze declines, saying that he will use his power against him, and against all harm that comes to the innocent. Infuriated of being robbed of the power, Mephistopheles vows to make Blaze pay, but Blaze tells Mephistopheles that he is not afraid. Mephistopheles then disappears, taking Blackheart's body with him. Later, Simpson tells Blaze that he got his second chance before sharing a final kiss with him. Blaze then rides away on his motorcycle, turning into the Ghost Rider.



Ghost Rider's motorcycle, in its supernatural transformed shape.

Marvel Studio began development for Ghost Rider as early as 1992 and were in discussions with potential distributors.[4] In 1997 Gale Anne Hurd was listed as producer, with Jonathan Hensleigh attached to write the script.[5] David S. Goyer developed a script and in May 2000 Marvel 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 and Johnny Depp expressing interest in the lead role.[6] The following August, Dimension Films joined Crystal Sky to co-finance the film, which would be directed by Stephen Norrington.[7] Producer Avi Arad approached Eric Bana on the possibility of playing Ghost Rider, but opted to cast him in Hulk instead.[8] In June 2001, actor and Ghost Rider fan Nicolas Cage entered talks to be cast into the lead role,[9] after having found out about Depp being a possibility for the role and contacted the director to express his own interest.[10] Norrington would drop out within a few months due his commitment to Tick Tock[11] and Cage eventually left the project as well. By May 2002 Columbia Pictures sought to acquire rights to Ghost Rider in turnaround from Dimension Films following their success with Spider-Man.[12] They brought Shane Salerno to rewrite Goyer's script.[13]

In April 2003, under Columbia Pictures, director Mark Steven Johnson took over the helm for Ghost Rider with Cage returning for the lead role. Johnson, rewriting Salerno's script, was set to begin production of Ghost Rider in late 2003 or early 2004.[14] but it was delayed to 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.[15]

Ghost Rider had again been delayed to begin in late 2004, but the lack of a workable script continued to delay production.[16] 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.[17] Actress Eva Mendes was also cast opposite Cage as Roxanne Simpson.[18] On February 14, 2005, Ghost Rider commenced filming in Australia at the Melbourne Docklands film studios.[19] Then in March 2005, actor Peter Fonda (who starred in Easy Rider) was cast as the villain Mephistopheles.[20] Johnson originally planned to film before an audience at the Telstra Dome, but instead opted to create a crowd using computer-generated imagery.[21] The director also chose to film in the motorcycle district of Melbourne.[22] By June 2005, principal photography had been completed for Ghost Rider,[23] which was set for a summer 2006 release.[24] In April 2006, the cast and crew performed last-minute reshoots in Vancouver.[25] Ghost Rider was originally scheduled to release on August 4, 2006,[26] but the date was moved three weeks earlier to July 14, 2006.[27] Sony changed the film's release date once more to February 16, 2007 to help relieve the studio's crowded 2006 calendar.[28]

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".[29] 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.[30]

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.[31] Ghost Rider's skull flames were designed to become smaller and blue to display any emotion other than rage.[30] Kevin's Team at Imageworks also created computer-generated motorcycles, chains, water, black goo, dementors and buildings. To pull off such effects as the living morph where the hardtail chopper ("Grace") comes alive to become the "Hell Cycle" Sony enlisted teams of animators, models, effects artists, lighters & "Flame" artists. The department supervisors for these teams at Imageworks included Kevin Hudson, Brian Steiner, JD Cowels, Marco Marenghi, Joe Spadaro, Joanie Karnowski, Vincent Serritella & Patrick Witting. Patrick's team bore the brunt of the work as they created the fire using a custom pipeline that automated the set up starting with Maya animated geometry driving Maya Fluids, imported into Houdini and then rendered & composited on top of the live action plates. Patrick and his team set up the fire process and much of the front end automation was set up by Scott Palleiko and Joe Spadaro. The fire was then tweaked and manipulated to look and move believably by Patick's eleven man Houdini effects team. All of this was enabled by effects producers Daniel Kuehn and the Digital Effects Supervisor Kee-Suk 'Ken' Hahn.

The digital version of the hell cycle was modeled in detail by Kevin Hudson and based on the practical prop used in the film, it included animatable skeletal hands that came alive to wrap the gas tank during the supernatural transformation scene. The transformation scene was animated by Max Tyrie and finalized by Joe Spadaro. Each part of the "Grace" geometry had to match up and morph with a piece of geometry on the "Hell Cycle"

The bullet time like scene where Ghost Rider on the "Hell Cycle" jumps from a building cutting to slow motion with the flaming chain was the brainchild of animator Maks Naporowski. Kevin Mack, was looking for what he called "shoe leather" to tie the two scenes together. Maks & Marco came up with this incredible concept that went on to become one of the most impressive scenes in the film & on the trailers. [32] 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".[33]


Ghost Rider: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by Christopher Young
Released February 13, 2007
Recorded 2006
Genre Film score, orchestral
Length 55:93
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,[31] performed a cover of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" for the end credits.[34]

Track listing

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"   2:01
5. "Cemetery Dance"   5:31
6. "More Sinister Than Popcorn"   5:40
7. "No Way to Wisdom"   2:15
8. "Chain Chariot"   6:18
9. "Santa Sardonicus"   3:36
10. "Penance Stare"   5:26
11. "San Venganza"   3:22
12. "Blood Signature"   2:08
13. "Serenade to a Daredevil's Devil"   1:53
14. "Nebuchadnezzar Phase"   5:52
15. "The West Was Built on Legends"   3:59
Total length:



A teaser poster for the Ghost Rider Movie. Posted at Comic-Con 2005.

In May 2005, Sony Pictures launched the official website for Ghost Rider.[35]

The following July, the studio presented a Ghost Rider panel at Comic-Con International and screened a teaser for the audience.[30] The teaser, which did not have finalized footage of the film, eventually leaked online.[36] 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.[37]

In December 2005, the studio presented a first glimpse of Ghost Rider in a ten-second footage piece on the official site.[38]

In April 2006, Sideshow Collectibles announced the sale of a Ghost Rider maquette based on the concept art of the film.[39]

The following May, domestic and international teaser trailers for Ghost Rider were launched at Apple.[40]

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.

Home media

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the film 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.[41]


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,[42] 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.[43] The film's total earnings were $228,738,393 worldwide of which $115,802,596 was from the USA.[44]

Critical response

Ghost Rider has received mostly negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, Ghost Rider has a 26% overall approval out of 135 reviews from critics with the critical consensus stating: "Ghost Rider is a sour mix of morose, glum histrionics amidst jokey puns and hammy dialogue".[45] The results were mirrored in Metacritic reviews as well, displaying a ranking of 35 out of 100 based on 20 critical reviews.[46] Additionally, Michael Ordoña of the Los Angeles Times[47] and Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times[48] 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".[49] 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.


A sequel, entitled Spirit of Vengeance, started filming in November 2010 and was released on February 17, 2012. Cage reprised his role as Johnny Blaze and also portrayed Johnny Blaze in his Ghost Rider form. Crank filmmakers Neveldine/Taylor directed the film. The film opened to worse reviews than the first but was a box office success.

See also


  1. ^ (12A)"GHOST RIDER".  
  2. ^ "Ghost Rider (2007)".  
  3. ^ "Ghost Rider".  
  4. ^ Staff (1992-12-08). "Marvel characters holding attraction for filmmakers". Variety. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  5. ^ Michael Fleming (1997-04-14). "A Mania for Marvel". Variety. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  6. ^ Michael Sangiacomo (2000-05-25). "More Marvel heroes to join X-Men on film over next few years".  
  7. ^ Michael Fleming (2000-08-30). Ghost' adds a Dimension"'".  
  8. ^ Michael Fleming (2001-10-14). "Aussie has bulk for ‘Hulk’". Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  9. ^ "Cage considers 'Ghost Rider' role".  
  10. ^ Julia Brinksneader (2001-07-31). "Another 'ER' casualty".  
  11. ^ James Berkshire (2001-08-20). "Cage GHOST RIDER Burning Out?". Cinescape. 
  12. ^ "`Ghost Rider' could follow Spidey film".  
  13. ^ Charles Lyons; Claude Brodesser (2002-05-21). "Sony gallops to rein in all ‘Rider’ rights". Variety. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  14. ^ Dana Harris (2003-04-08). "'"Johnson sees 'Ghost.  
  15. ^ Start Shooting?"Ghost Rider"When May . 2003-10-19. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  16. ^ Angela Dawson (2004-11-18). "Nicolas Cage likes to hunt for treasure".  
  17. ^ Michael Fleming; Nicole Laporte (2005-01-20). "'"Bentley to haunt 'Ghost.  
  18. ^ Pamela McClintock (2005-03-01). "Marvel to prime pupils".  
  19. ^ "More than a name".  
  20. ^ Colin Covert (2005-03-11). "The bounce – who's up – who's down".  
  21. ^ Clint Morris (2005-03-03). "Ghost Rider skips Dome". Archived from the original on 2007-12-27. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  22. ^ Karl Quinn (2005-03-06). "Foreign film upturn a tale of two cities".  
  23. ^ "'Time Share' comedy".  
  24. ^ Mike Musgrove (2005-06-25). "Marvel, DC Duel At the Box Office".  
  25. ^ Reshoots in Vancouver"Ghost Rider". 2006-04-13. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  26. ^ "Marvel Studios' Avi Arad on Upcoming Projects". 2005-05-18. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  27. ^ Moved Up to July"Ghost Rider". 2005-09-05. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  28. ^ Laporte, Nicole (2005-12-14). "Sony cycles Cage starrer to 2007".  
  29. ^ Andrew Weil (2005-06-16). !"Ghost Rider"SET VISIT: Nicolas Cage on . Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  30. ^ a b c Scott Chitwood (2005-07-17). Panel at Comic-Con"Ghost Rider"The . Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  31. ^ a b Mark Steven Johnson (2005-12-15). "Ask MSJ Part 3". Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  32. ^ Spadaro, Joseph. "Character Pipeline Lead". Sony Pictures Imageworks. IMDB. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  33. ^ !"Ghost Rider"Mark Steven Johnson on . 2005-08-07. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  34. ^ "Soundtracks for Ghost Rider". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  35. ^ Sony Pictures (2005-05-19). Site Online"Ghost Rider". Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  36. ^ Sony Pictures (2005-07-29). Footage"Ghost Rider"Sony Statement on the . Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  37. ^ Majesco Entertainment Company (2005-07-13). Movie Game"Ghost Rider"Majesco Creating . Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  38. ^ Columbia Pictures (2005-12-20). Revealed!"Ghost Rider"The . Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  39. ^ Sideshow Collectibles (2006-04-27). Maquette!"Ghost Rider"Exclusive Look at Sideshow's . Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  40. ^ Sony Pictures (2006-05-23). Teaser Trailers Hit!"Ghost Rider". Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  41. ^ Sony Pictures (2007-04-19). DVD Cover Artwork"Ghost Rider". Retrieved 2007-05-13. 
  42. ^ "Ghost Rider (2007) – Daily Box Office".  
  43. ^ "Ghost Rider (2007) – Weekend Box Office".  
  44. ^ "Ghost Rider (2007)".  
  45. ^ "Ghost Rider".  
  46. ^ "Ghost Rider (2007): Reviews".  
  47. ^ Ordoña, Michael (February 17, 2007). "'Ghost Rider'".  
  48. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (February 17, 2007). "Ghost Rider – Movie Review".  
  49. ^ Alt, Eric (February 16, 2007). "Ghost Rider: There's not much life in this comic book adaption".  

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