By Edward Davis | The Playlist March 9, 2013 at 9:25AM
Despite grossing $228 million worldwide, no one seemed to like Columbia's "Ghost Rider," including critics, audiences and star Nicolas Cage. So much so that when it came time for "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," the studio started over and hired the gonzo action-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, known for the crazy "Crank" films. The story essentially presupposed the first film didn't even exist and they began with a type of soft reboot. But despite Cage's enthusiasm for this new version, audiences cared even less. Shockingly so. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" grossed a pitiful $51 million domestically and only $132 million worldwide, effectively killing the franchise.
And while the series could continue, it's no surprise that Cage himself wants nothing to do with it now. Asked whether a third film was on the drawing board, or if a possibility, Cage simply said, maybe, but he's not interested. “It’s possible," he told Collider about a third "Ghost Rider 3" movie. "But it won’t be with me.”
It's understandable. You can only get kicked in the teeth so many times. Sometimes you gotta move on. All's well that ends well? Not that anyone really cares at this point, but it will be interesting to see what Sony/Columbia does with the property. The studio notoriously rushed 'Spirit Of Vengeance' into production simply because if they didn't have a 'Ghost Rider' film in the works by a certain date, the terms of their licensing deal with Marvel meant the studio forfeited the right to use that property going forward. In short, their backs were against the wall and rather than lose the franchise entirely, the studio gambled and rushed the movie forward to essentially buy them some time and to keep the property they spent millions on within their domain. Will they let it slip back to Marvel like Lionsgate did with the "Punisher" series? After two failures in a row, we would kind of assume so, but you can never tell with studio logic. Even Marvel Studios, who have done a stellar job with their properties, might have a tricky time bringing the rather ridiculous story of an undead, former stuntman motorcyclist who gives up his soul to become a hellblazing vigilante to the screen.