Ghost in the Shell may be one of Japan’s most beloved franchises, but its live-action debut in the U.S. failed to find an audience. The film premiered last weekend to a dismal box office, earning it a paltry $18.6 million. The film, which was surrounded by various casting controversies, has now left Paramount Pictures in a rather deep hole where money is concerned. According to insiders, Ghost in the Shell is poised to lose nearly $60 million by the time its theatrical run closes.
According to Deadline, financial experts have forecasted the cyberpunk flick to lose plenty of money thanks to its production cost. The film is projected to earn about $200 million when all is said in done with $150 million coming from international audiences. The low-end estimate for Ghost in the Shell’s cost is at about $250 million with some estimating it may be as high at $280 million.
There’s little doubt that Paramount had hoped to turn the film into a series of some sort. Given the history behind Ghost in the Shell, there is a large international audience who is interested in Masamune Shirow’s story. Still, a slew of executive and creative decisions made it difficult for the movie to land a solid audience.
Most publicly, the film faced backlash over its casting as audiences cried foul at the whitewashed cast of Ghost in the Shell. Not did the marketing for the blockbuster fail to give fans a clue about its storyline, but its reliance on Scarlett Johansson’s star status did not go as planned. The actress may be one of Hollywood’s go-to talents, but her being cast in a traditional Japanese role made fans feel uncomfortable. Numerous online petitions and social media campaigns were held in protest of the casting, and Paramount failed to address the concerns to the satisfaction of fans.
Beyond marketing, Ghost in the Shell suffered shortly before its release thanks to reviews. Paramount has asserted that the film’s biggest blip has come from its casting controversy, but the press was none to kind about the film’s meat. ComicBook’s Kofi Outlaw said the film was more style than substance.
“It's probably equally true, then, that this new Hollywood version will find a home with a niche pocket of cult admirers or fanbase loyalists; but in terms of bringing blockbuster Anime movies to the masses, Ghost In The Shell is pretty much D.O.A.”
Unfortunately, it seems like Outlaw’s right about that. Anime fans can only hope Hollywood gets anime right the next time around. We’re looking at you, Akira.
More Ghost in the Shell:
- How Hollywood Can Do Anime Right
- Ghost In The Shell Beats Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 In Social Media Buzz
- Scarlett Johansson Responds To Film's Controversy
Ghost in the Shell is now playing in theaters. Seen it already? Let us know what you thought by giving it a rating below!