Back to IndieWire

‘Ghost in the Shell’ Box Office Was Hurt by Whitewashing Controversy and Poor Reviews, Says Paramount Executive

The film opened in third place during its opening weekend, far below "The Boss Baby."

Ghost In The Shell Scarlett Johansson

“Ghost in the Shell”

Ghost in the Shell” opened to $19 million last weekend, less than half what “The Boss Baby” made over the same three days. The film received backlash for the better part of a year due to its casting of Scarlett Johansson in the lead role, which Paramount executive Kyle Davies now admits played a part in the film’s disappointing financial take so far.

READ MORE: Why ‘The Boss Baby’ Trumped ‘Ghost in the Shell’ at the Box Office: Top 10 Takeaways

“We had hopes for better results domestically. I think the conversation regarding casting impacted the reviews,” said Davies, Paramount’s domestic distribution chief. “You’ve got a movie that is very important to the fanboys since it’s based on a Japanese anime movie. 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.”

READ MORE: Will ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Be the Last Racially Insensitive Blockbuster? — Critics Survey

First published in 1989, Masamune Shirow’s beloved manga was previously adapted as an anime film in 1995; Johansson’s character had always been portrayed as Japanese before. Read Davies’ full interview here.

Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged ,