Paramount Blames Ghost In The Shell Bomb On Whitewashing Controversy

04/05/2017 07:19 pm EDT

The phrase 'bad press is better than no press' might not be the case for the recently released Ghost in the Shell.

The film has been a topic of conversation ever since the first promotional photo for the film was released, revealing that Scarlett Johansson would be playing the Major, the lead character in the film. Within the original Ghost in the Shell anime, the character is known as Major Motoko Kusanagi, a native of Japan where the film takes place. This caused an outcry amongst many, accusing the film of blatant whitewashing months before the film was actually released.

Now that the film has been released, its box office performance has reflected that initial outcry. The film earned just $19 million its opening weekend, which is a significant loss given the film's reported $110 million budget.

According to an executive at Paramount, which released Ghost in the Shell, this negative response had a bit more of an impact on the film's revenue than the studio was expecting.

"We had hopes for better results domestically." Kyle Davies, domestic distribution chief at Paramount, told CBC News. "I think the conversation regarding casting impacted the reviews."

The film did make pretty significant changes to justify the casting of Johansson, but those changes have received a mixed response from those who have actually seen the film. Even critics - including our own Kofi Outlaw - have complained about the differences from the source material, causing the film to earn a 45% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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

Based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property, "GHOST IN THE SHELL" follows the Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic's advancements in cyber technology.

Ghost in the Shell directed by Rupert Sanders and written by Jamie Moss, William Wheeler, and Ehren Kruger. The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han and Juliette Binoche.

Ghost in the Shell is now playing in theaters. Seen it already? Let us know what you thought by giving it a rating below!

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of Paramount. Sign up for Paramount+ by clicking here.

(Photo: Total Film)
Latest News