Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
February 20, 2012
Nic Cage Must Be Stopped
Kim Hollis: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, quite possibly the least desired sequel of the 2000s, opened to $22.1 million over the three-day portion of the weekend. Should Sony be pleased with this result?
Brett Beach: The three-day and (most likely) four-day total are coming in at exactly 50% of what Ghost Rider did five years ago this weekend. And that's with 3D engagements. The $52 million 4-day opening of the first film still seems so egregious and overinflated a debut for a film that didn't deserve it that even this admittedly underwhelming start to a most likely quick run has to give the suits at least a mild case of the "pleasants." What I would love to know is how Neveldine/Taylor - they of Crank/Crank 2/Gamer wound up doing this as a PG-13. When I heard this being discussed months ago, it was all about how the duo had been hired specifically to shake things up and the film was going to go for the dark, the violent, the fucked-up. A chance to switch it up from the first. Apparently Nicolas Cage peeing fire is about as fucked up as it gets.
Matthew Huntley: Sony should be pleased, yes, because even though Johnny Blaze and friends will only gross about half of what the original did five years ago, the sequel's budget is also about half, so even if Ghost Rider 2's flame blows out this time next weekend, the studio will probably see a profit sooner rather than later. I haven't seen the movie yet, but it looks bad, so if we can take any solace in this lower opening, it's that it won't urge Sony to greenlight another installment. Then again, who would have thought they'd give the go-ahead on a sequel in the first place.
Bruce Hall: For a sequel to work, the audience needs to have had a highly positive connection of some kind with the first installment. Since that did not happen with Ghost Rider, someone obviously failed to think this through. The original film was itself a movie almost nobody really wanted to see, and almost nobody really liked. Still, it managed to limp across the $100 million mark and narrowly avoid being a complete disaster.
Apparently the whole big plan was to just...hope it happens again.
Fortunately the only way it could be worse just might be if the film had been as expensive as the original or had actually earned that R rating. It may or may not have improved what was already going to be a bad film, but then this movie also probably wishes it opens to $22 million. So in my view, someone at least got that much right.
Edwin Davies: Considering that this sequel was less a case of shutting the door after the horse has bolted, but after the horse has bolted, died of old age and been turned into glue, this is not the worst possible result imaginable. That doesn't mean that it's a good result, but given how loathed the first film was, how terrible this one looked from the trailers and how bad a run Nic Cage has been having of late (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance has already grossed more in four days than either Season of the Witch and Drive Angry did in the whole of their respective runs) then the studio has got to feel like they have got away with something. Also, Cage is a pretty solid draw overseas (even Season of the Witch made $91 million worldwide) so the film will most likely make more than its surprisingly modest budget of $57 million back. For a film no one wanted to see - even though apparently a fair few people decided that they did want to - this is not nearly as disastrous as it could have been, but it will hopefully be disastrous enough to stop them making a third one.