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Paramount confesses that whitewashing controversy hurt Ghost in the Shell

04.05.2017

Brace yourselves, readers, I'm about to go on a bit of a controlled rant in just a few moments. Today, Paramount's domestic distribution chief Kyle Davies has released a statement regarding the lackluster box office performance and whitewashing of the live-action anime adaptation of Masamune Shirow's GHOST IN THE SHELL

First, let's take a look at the quote, and then we'll get into the nitty gritty of it all. In an interview with CBC News, Davies stated, "We had hopes for better results domestically. I think the conversation regarding casting impacted the reviews. 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."

First of all, "fanboys"? I happen to know a great deal of women who also adore the cybernetic capering of Major Motoko Kusanagi, so let's make an effort to be all-inclusive there, Kyle. Honestly, your film is already a bomb, you might not want to add alienating an entire gender with your narrow-minded terminology. Second, what you're basically saying here is that Scarlett Johansson was allegedly cast to draw big numbers, but that then implies that an actress of Japanese or Asian heritage stood no chance of bringing in the big bucks for your film ... that is based on a legendary Japanese anime. Perhaps it would have been best for Paramount to clear the drawing board and really think this one through, instead of prioritizing a presumed bottom line with no regard to the cultural fallout GHOST IN SHELL could and would create. 

As it stands, GHOST IN THE SHELL opened with a staggeringly-disappointing return of $19 million in box office receipts for its opening weekend. Considering that the film cost a reported total of $110 million to make it's safe to say that this feature is dead on arrival with very little hope of being resuscitated in the weeks to follow. 

Be sure to read up on our own Chris Bumbray's review of the film here. You can also peep Arrow in the Head's review by Eric Walkuski as well. 

While I realize that the dual-purpose of Hollywood is to both entertain and make money from its audience members, it's my opinion that studios are going to need to adjust to the cultural climate of today's audience if they want to see huge returns on properties featuring characters of color and so on. We live in a time when internet backlash can make or break your project before it's even had a chance to hit theaters - that's a fact. It's time to smarten up, and to start casting and planning your films accordingly. Be the change that Hollywood needs. Either you're a part of the problem or a part of the solution. Your audience will thank you both in dollars and praise. Let's make it happen!

GHOST IN THE SHELL is in theaters now

Extra Tidbit: This is just my opinion, but this movie should have never been made in the first place - the same goes for AKIRA, I don't care who's being tapped to direct it.
Source: CBC News

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