“Ghost in the Shell,” the controversial live-action adaptation of the popular cyberpunk manga, faltered in its North American debut, ending the weekend with a mere $19 million.
The Paramount Pictures film finished at No. 3 at the domestic box office, behind DreamWorks Animation’s “The Boss Baby,” which bowed in the top spot with $49 million, and Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast,” which raked in another $47.5 million in its third weekend of release. That brings the musical’s domestic tally to $395.5 million.
Starring Scarlett Johansson, “Ghost in the Shell” has faced widespread criticism of whitewashing, for casting white actors in Japanese roles. Just last week the Media Action Network for Asian Americans lashed out at the film and its star, saying, “Apparently, in Hollywood, Japanese people can’t play Japanese people anymore.” Mamoru Oshii, director of the “Ghost in the Shell” anime films, gave the adaptation his enthusiastic endorsement, saying, “Scarlett Johansson playing Motoko from beginning to end has gone above and beyond my expectations for the role.I’m sure this will be the most gorgeous film in the series so far.”
Directed by Rupert Sanders, the film rolled out in more than 50 international markets, where it brought in an estimated $40.1 million, for a global debut of $59.1 million. Produced for about $110 million, “Ghost in the Shell” opens in Japan and China next weekend.
“Ghost in the Shell” represents a rare stumble for Johansson, the highest-grossing actress of all time. Her previous solo film, 2014’s “Lucy,” was a hit, earning more than $463 million on a budget of just $40 million.
“Ghost in the Shell” also stars Pilou Asbæk, Beat Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, Michael Pitt, Kaori Momoi, Rila Fukushima, Chin Han, Danusia Samal, Lasarus Ratuere, Yutaka Izumihara and Tuwanda Manyimo.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)