Nicolas Cage Thinks An R-Rating Would Have Helped The Ghost Rider Movies

Nick Cage in Ghost Rider

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a massive part of the filmmaking landscape, there was a time before serialized storytelling was the norm. Individual superhero movies were released without any connection to each other, a concept that seems almost foreign nowadays. One of those projects was 2007's Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage as the title character and his alter ego Johnny Blaze. While it was eventually also given a sequel, the franchise never really took off the way that Iron Man or its peers did, and was a critical disappointment. Cage recently spoke about Ghost Rider's performance, and revealed he thinks an R-Rating would have significantly opened things up. As he tells it,

Had Ghost Rider been made in R-rated format, the way they had the guts to do with Deadpool, and they did it again today, I'm fairly certain it would be enormously successful.

The man has a point. During both Ghost Rider movies' production, the superhero genre hadn't really considered an R-rating viable. But now that Deadpool and Logan have broken new ground, the possibilities are endless.

Nicolas Cage's comments to Yahoo make a great deal of sense, given Ghost Rider's dark backstory and striking imagery. In the comics, stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze sells his soul the demon villain Mephisto in an attempt to save his father's life. The hero was bonded with hellfire, which would consume his body at night and in moments of superheroics. It's a painful and terrifying process-- one that had to be pulled back quite a bit in the Ghost Rider movies.

While 2007 was the right time for an R-rated Ghost Rider movie, it would be a different story if the project was developing now. Audiences have become very accustomed to superhero movies in general, as well as darker and grittier takes on the genre. Logan was bloody and painful, and Netflix's Marvel shows are filled violence, sex, and cursing. Ghost Rider is a character that is best when going full tilt, so having to tone things down in order to maintain at PG-13 rating likely held the movie franchise back. Another superhero disappointment for Nicolas Cage to endure after missing out on his Superman movie.

It should be interesting to see if Ghost Rider ever joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sony owned the property when the two movies were released, which is why Nicolas Cage's Marvel hero never crossed paths with The Avengers. While a different version of Ghost Rider eventually made it into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., neither ever made their way to the MCU's silver screen universe.

Nicolas Cage's next Marvel role will be voicing Spider-Man Noir in the upcoming animated featured Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on December 14, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.