Friday, June 18, 2010

Ghost Write-Off

Yesterday I mentioned Columbia's ramping up Karate Kid Mark II, Part II, but here's another Sony sequel in active development I'm trying to figure out who exactly was clamoring for. I missed Ghost Rider during its theatrical run in early '07, but when I finally caught it on DVD a few months later, it was even worse than the reviews had led me to expect. It was almost as if writer/director Mark Steven Johnson had taken all the fanboy bile and badwill he'd built up from his mediocre Daredevil in '03 and said, "You think that's bad? Well, check this out!"

Bear in mind that I'm one of the few people who didn't hate Daredevil (especially the far-superior Director's Cut, which stands head-and-shoulders above the theatrical release), so it's not like I was rooting for the guy to fail, but holy yikes! The flaws start with the miscast Nic Cage in the lead, and head rapidly downhill from there, leaving a charred trail in their wake. It's so bad that not even the presence of poor Peter Fonda and the usually-dependable Sam Elliott in the cast are enough to save things. I could go on and on if I had the time and/or inclination but, well, I don't.

With the first one taking in an only so-so $115 mil domestic take against a $110 mil budget (though, granted, it did better internationally), a sequel seems counter-intuitive, even with the studio going in grittier direction that jettisons everything about the first one but Cage (who remains a box office draw). But then, Sony's interest here is financial, not artistic. At risk of losing the Ghost Rider license to Marvel's owners at the Mouse House if they sit on it for too long, they'd rather churn out an unwanted sequel than allow that to happen. Is Hollywood the dream factory, or what?

No comments: