There was once a time that everyone believed that in order to make a successful comicbook film, it had to be done with a PG-13 rating. 1997’s Spawn was willing to step out on the ledge and go with the R-rating, and although it has a cult fan base that loves it, it wasn’t the critical success most had hoped it would be. It was a mild success at the box office, though. The film was made on a $40 million budget and made $87 million worldwide, but it wasn’t quite enough for studios to consider other films viable to go after the R-rating.
Different comic characters call for different adaptations, and putting certain limits on them is only going to hinder the final product. This is why Deadpool and its subsequent sequel were so successful. Deadpool, as a character, can only be done right with no limits. Ghost Rider is another character that deserves the R-treatment. One year prior to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Nicholas Cage starred in the PG-13-rated film adaptation of Ghost Rider. It was a major success at the box office, earning $228.7 million worldwide on a $110 million budget, but it didn’t do as well with the fans and critics as many had hoped. Cage is one who believes that a major part of that is due to its rating.
While discussing his greatest films with Yahoo! Movies, Ghost Rider came up in conversation. Cage had some thoughts on this film and certain ratings specifically:
“The problem is, it’s very hard to take a family of children to a movie — and they made it a PG-13 movie — about a superhero who, oh, by the way, also happens to have sold his soul to Satan. So it’s not going to be the most commercial concept or vehicle. But it certainly is the most interesting, and the most thought-provoking. I think if you look back on the movies today, they age well.”