On the night of the Oscars, it's only fitting that the movie at the top of the weekend box office reflects the hard work and nuanced artistic vision that goes into making a culturally important piece of cinema – or, failing that, Ghost Rider will do.
Ghost Rider – easily February's best movie about a man with a flaming skull for a head riding a motorbike up the side of a skyscraper while twirling some chains around – is the number one movie at the weekend box office for the second week on the trot. Hopefully the commercial success of Ghost Rider will mean that next year Oscar contenders will take a leaf out of its book and try and make their highbrow movies more accessible to a wider audience. Yes, we're saying that when The Queen II gets made we want to see a scene where Helen Mirren sets her head on fire and rides up Big Ben on a burning motorcycle. And, really, is that too much to ask?
Forgetting the Oscars for a moment, we think we've started to see a pattern in the box office turnout for Nicolas Cage movies. Lord Of War, The Weather Man – both box office failures. National Treasure, Ghost Rider – both box office successes. The key factor here is obviously wigs. When Nicolas Cage wears a wig his movies do well, but if he leaves the wig at home his movies flop. Unless you count a giant bear head as a wig, in which case you're a) wrong and b) weird. Here's the US weekend Box Office top five…
1 – Ghost Rider (If Nicolas Cage was smart, he'd give up movies now. We've seen The Wicker Man and we want to learn how to karate-kick teenage girls in the chest just like he does. We can't be the only ones who want this, so we'd quite like to see some kind of Nicolas Cage Girl-Kicking Dojo to open soon. Please) $19,700,000
2 – The Number 23 (So, the Earth spins on an axis of 23 degrees, Caesar was stabbed 23 times, each parent passes on 23 chromosomes, it takes 23 seconds for blood to circulate around the human body and you'd need enough muscle relaxant to kill 23 herds of elephants to get us to watch this gigantic bag of shit) $15,017,000
3 – The Bridge To Terabithia (Like Narnia, but without the paedogoat or Christlion) $13,574,000
4 – Reno 911!: Miami (Thanks to the TV adaptation chart, we now know that Reno 911!: Miami is better than The Gong Show Movie but not as good as Leave It To Beaver. Thanks, TV adaptation chart!) $10,400,000
5 – Norbit (Please stop going to see Norbit now. We've run out of jokes about black men in female fatsuits) $9,736,000