Flush with the tremendous success of its Spider-Man film, Sony Pictures is in negotiations with Dimension Films to acquire the rights to another Marvel-based property, Ghost Rider. Dimension nearly had all the pieces in place to film Ghost Rider with Nicholas Cage starring as Johnny Blaze and Steve Norrington (Blade) directing (see 'Nicholas Cage To Be Ghost Rider'), when the deal fell apart (see 'League Eclipses Ghost Rider'). Now, with Spider-Man soaring past the $300 million mark, Sony has stepped in to acquire all Ghost Rider rights. Avi Arad, who heads the Marvel Studios, will produce Ghost Rider. According to Variety, instead of using David Goyer's Ghost Rider script, Sony plans to have screenwriter Shane Salerno (Shaft) pen a new draft.
Some reports indicate that Sony may be interested in trying to get Nicholas Cage for the title role, but the studios have discovered that comic-based films like Spider-Man and the X-Men don't need A-list stars to do A-list business. Speaking for Marvel, Arad was delighted to be working with Sony Pictures again and very aware of the cinematic potential of Ghost Rider, which he described as 'a big, exciting story that has some spectacular visual effects. It's one of the most stunning visual comic books in our collection.'