Despite its questionable amalgamation of origin stories and lackluster plot, the original Ghost Rider turned enough of a profit to warrant a sequel. However, it seems like those involved with Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance are making a genuine effort to appease fans and atone for the sins of the first film.
The script by David Goyer centers around Johnny Blaze's (Nic Cage) efforts to protect a mother and son from a demonic entity called Roarke and Cage claims that Ghost Rider 2 feels like "less of a Western, and more of an international story".
The film - which co-stars Idris Elba, Johnny Whitworth, and possibly Christopher Lambert - has received its official greenlight and will begin shooting in Romania any day now. The low cost of production in that country is certainly appealing to studios, but it's not the only money saving measure being put into practice on Ghost Rider 2.
According to The Wrap, the film's original $135 million budget has been slashed to $75 million and Cage will be forced to take a $5 million pay cut. Hyde Park Entertainment has come on board to co-finance the project because Sony has a majority of their capital tied up in other films like the Spider-Man reboot, Men in Black 3, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake.
Here's the thing -- Ghost Rider doesn't strike me as a character that demands a particularly lavish production. A down and dirty approach would probably serve the film well. Whether it's a huge budget or a modest one, I still think the bigger issue here is the studio's choice of directors -- Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Crank, Gamer).
Now the pair certainly aren't strangers to the restrictions of tight budget, but the fact that this decision comes so late in the game seems problematic. Depending on how much time they were given to adjust their plans, Ghost Rider 2 could be in for a calamitous shoot. I was already nervous about which way they'd steer the franchise -- and this doesn't do much to ease my concerns.
Despite becoming Hollywood's comic book movie guru, David Goyer's writing can be pretty hit or miss. However, he's spoken about his love for this character for years so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that his passion has found its way into the script. While being well-versed in the mythology doesn't guarantee success, it definitely doesn't hurt Ghost Rider 2's chances.
Like I said, the $135 million budget probably wasn't necessary (the first film cost $110 million and grossed $115 million domestically). It's the fact that the movie wasn't planned with a lower budget in mind and now the filmmakers have to scramble to shave off $60 million while trying to salvage what remains of their vision.
Ghost Rider really deserves better big screen treatment than he's received so far. I was really hoping Ghost Rider 2 would be a step in the right direction. I'm not giving up hope yet, but it should be interesting to see how this develops.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance will be in theaters on February 17, 2012.
Source: The Wrap.