Ghost in the Shell Expected To Lose $60 Million; Paramount Blames Whitewashing Controversy

By Diane Samson | 2 years ago
Ghost in the Shell Expected To Lose $60 Million; Paramount Blames Whitewashing Controversy
PHOTOGRAPH: Diane Samson |

After enduring months-worth of criticism, Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell opened last weekend with mixed reviews and even more disappointing box office performance. The live-action adaptation of the popular manga and anime is expected to lose more than $60 million according to reports.

A Series of Bad Live-Action Adaptation of Anime Titles

Ghost in the Shell follows Hollywood’s streak of disappointing live-action adaptation of an anime or manga. The movie directed by Rupert Sanders grossed $18.6 million at the domestic box office in its opening weekend. It played on 380 IMAX screens and 3,440 theaters in the U.S., Deadline reported.

In comparison, DreamWorks Animation’s The Boss Baby dominated the box office to everyone’s surprise with $50.3 million in its opening weekend. Meanwhile, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is still going strong with $47.5 million.

According to predictions, Ghost in the Shell is expected to earn $50 million in the domestically and $150 million in the international box office. That gives the movie a combined gross of $200 million, far lower than its estimated budget of $250 million that Paramount and DreamWorks spend producing and advertising the movie.

International markets like China, however, are expected to help boost the movie’s earnings. That usually is the case for movies that do not perform well domestically. Take for example this year’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage which has a reported production cost of $85 million. The Vin Diesel action movie grossed a measly $45 million final domestic earnings, but cashed in a $301 million check from overseas screenings.

Johansson’s own Lucy earned $127 million in the domestic box office and a whooping $337 million internationally. Hopefully, the same fate awaits Ghost in the Shell, but the release of Fate of the Furious next weekend will likely hurt its chances.

Paramount Blames Whitewashing Controversy

The studio thinks that the whitewashing controversy surrounding the movie caused its disappointing performance in the domestic box office. Kyle Davis, the domestic distribution chief at Paramount, explained to CBC that the “conversation regarding casting” made a negative impact to the movie’s reviews.

“You’ve got a movie that is very important to the fanboys since it’s based on a Japanese anime movie,” he added. “So you’re always trying to thread that needle between honoring the source material and making a movie for a mass audience. That’s challenging, but clearly the reviews didn’t help.”

But while Paramount obviously has passion for the movie, its marketing ploys were almost all nearly a miss. The most recent #IAmMajor campaign backfired when critics used the hashtag to point out that Johansson should not have been cast to the role.

A tie-in with Mr. Robot last year made waves. During the second season finale’s commercials, Paramount “hacked” the show by dropping five ten-second clips of Ghost in the Shell. 

On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie received a 47% rating from critics. The audience were a little generous with a 62% score.

Ghost in the Shell Movie Details

The sci-fi action movie is based on the popular manga written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow. It was turned into an anime movie in 1995 by Mamaoru Oshii.

Ghost in the Shell follows Major (Johansson), a human cyber-enhanced to become a super soldier. When terrorism reached a scary new level that includes the ability to hack into people’s minds and control them, Major is the only one who can stop it. But just when she was nearing to face the criminal, Major discovers that she was lied to. She will stop at nothing to find who did this to her and stop them from doing it to others.

The movie also stars Juliette Binoche, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Chin Han, Danusia Samal and Michael Pitt. Ghost in the Shell is now available in theaters worldwide.

Also Read: Mulan Director Says There Will Be Music After All In Disney Live-Action Remake

Photo Source: Facebook/Ghost in the Shell

About the author

Diane Samson is a graduate of Literature. In her spare time, she loves to watch movies and television shows. She joined MNG in February 2016.