Ghost Rider is a 2007 American supernatural superhero film written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson. It is based on the character of the same name appearing in Marvel Comics. The film stars Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider/Johnny Blaze with supporting roles done by Eva Mendes, Wes Bentley, Sam Elliott, Donal Logue, Matt Long, and Peter Fonda.
The film was met with negative reviews by critics and Ghost Rider fans but was a success at the box office, earning $228.7 million on a $110 million budget. Ghost Rider was released theatrically on February 16, 2007 in the United States by Columbia Pictures. Ghost Rider was released on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and UMD on June 12, 2007 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. A sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, was released on February 17, 2012, with Cage reprising his role.
Marvel Studio began development for Ghost Rider as early as 1992 and were in discussions with potential distributors. In 1997 Gale Anne Hurd was listed as producer, with Jonathan Hensleigh attached to write the script. David S. Goyer developed a script and in May 2000 Marvel announced an agreement with Crystal Sky Entertainment to film Ghost Rider with actor Jon Voight attached as a producer. Production was scheduled to start in early 2001 with a budget of $75 million and Johnny Depp expressing interest in the lead role. The following August, Dimension Films joined Crystal Sky to co-finance the film, which would be directed by Stephen Norrington.
Producer Avi Arad approached Eric Bana on the possibility of playing Ghost Rider, but opted to cast him in Hulk instead. In June 2001, actor and Ghost Rider fan Nicolas Cage entered talks to be cast into the lead role, after having found out about Depp being a possibility for the role and contacted the director to express his own interest. Norrington would drop out within a few months due his commitment to Tick Tock and Cage eventually left the project as well.
By May 2002 Columbia Pictures sought to acquire rights to Ghost Rider in turnaround from Dimension Films following their success with Spider-Man. They brought Shane Salerno to rewrite Goyer’s script.