Mark Steven Johnson’s Ghost Rider is a movie that seems to garner one of two reactions from Internet fanboys: anticipation or dread. While there are many looking forward to seeing the Marvel Comics movie adaptation (and early tracking numbers are indicating a strong opening weekend box office), most others seem to be shaking their head every time they see a promo showcasing the film’s wildly uneven special effects quality, wide array of groan-inducing puns, and the completely miscast Nic Cage and his, uh, hair.
Personally, I’ve already surrendered the notion of this being a solid adaptation of the comic book superhero and am just hoping for something that at least delivers loads of B-movie cheese, preferably not cinematic limburger like Spawn or Elektra or (at least to some people) Johnson’s last comic book movie, Daredevil.
Those expecting the worst have just gotten one more bit of ammo to load into their Hellfire shotgun. The New York Post is reporting that Sony will not be screening Ghost Rider to critics before opening in movie theaters next weekend. Well, that’s not entirely true. There will be screenings, but not until late Thursday evening before the Friday opening, a tactic that is still designed to guarantee critical reviews are delayed until after the film has opened.
Now, while studios not screening movies they have little faith in the actual quality of has become an increasingly popular trend, one that sadly has not guaranteed the immediate box office fail of said films – I’m talking about you, Epic Movie – Ghost Rider‘s $120 million price tag makes it quite possibly the costliest movie that studios have kept away from the prying eyes of movie critics. What this says about the actual quality of Ghost Rider remains to be seen, but not screening a special effects heavy, big budget, comic book blockbuster seems especially dubious given that such special effects heavy, big budget, comic book blockbusters are generally seen as critic-proof anyway. Could it be that Ghost Rider is really so bad that Sony is deeply concerned showing it to critics days in advance could lead to their ghost getting busted even by the numerous quote whores out there that love seeing their names in print? It’s a movie about a leather-clad, chain-swinging, flaming skull-headed biker riding a flaming motorcycle and co-stars Eva Mendes; surely Pete Hammond over at Maxim already has a positive blurb for them ready to go.
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