Columbia decided five years was long enough and was hoping fans would forget how bad the first Ghost Rider comic book adaptation was, which featured Nicolas Cage as stunt cyclist Johnny Blaze, a man who sells his soul to the devil and is in turn cursed as Beelzebub's bounty hunter. The 2007 feature pulled in almost $116 million domestically and over $228 million worldwide so why not give it a shot?
For Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance they brought in Crank duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, brought back Cage and added Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba and Johnny Whitworth to the cast and set a February 17, 2012 release date where the fiery skull would wield his chain of flame in 3D. Oh boy! Get ready!
The first trailer featured the titular character peeing fire and fans were on board. What could go wrong? Well, apparently actually showing the full film appears to have been a problem.
This past weekend Ain't It Cool News figurehead Harry Knowles held his annual 24 hour movie marathon Butt-Numb-A-Thon (BNAT) at which several films were shown including Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Cabin in the Woods, The Grey and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. The first trailer for The Hobbit also played and then... there was Ghost Rider.
When it comes to reactions, several in attendance were not kind. Devin Faraci from BadassDigest tweeted, "GHOST RIDER 2 manages to make me look fondly back on GHOST RIDER. Unbearable." Jordan Hoffman previously of UGO wrote, "GHOST RIDER 2 makes GHOST RIDER 1 look like DARK KNIGHT."
Scott Weinberg from Movies.com tweeted, "GHOST RIDER 2 played. I have nothing else to add." Going back on his word he added, "The only movie BNAT movie I did not like is GHOST RIDER 2, which is just as bad as the first one, only hipsterier." And I'll end the quotes with Peter Sciretta from SlashFilm writing, "Spirit of Vengeance is better than the first film, and the character design is drastically improved. Unfortunately the script is a boring mess, the film lacks a proper budget and the post converted 3D looks pretty horrible compared to films like Hugo."
If they can't appease the target audience what chance is there for everyone else? I guess you can gaze at this new poster, cross your fingers and hope what the comic book fans didn't like will hold a larger appeal for general audiences.
The interesting thing here is that while films such as Ghost Rider and Fantastic Four weren't very good and were also largely panned by the target audience they still made decent money at the box-office. Will this early bad buzz have much of an effect or will the same fans still go see it, looking for something to bash with everyone else?
You can check out the new poster below.