GHOST IN THE SHELL Box Office Performance Was Hurt By Whitewashing Controversy Admits Paramount Executive

GHOST IN THE SHELL Box Office Performance Was Hurt By Whitewashing Controversy Admits Paramount Executive

In a surprising move, Paramount has conceded that the controversy surrounding the whitewashing of Scarlett Johansson's character in Ghost in the Shell did have a negative effect on the BO...

The perception that a movie needs a big-name star to succeed has definitely been called into question following the poor box office performance of Ghost in the Shell.

When Scarlett Johansson was cast in the lead role of The Major, director Rupert Sanders and Paramount Pictures fell back on the old excuse that name recognition was a necessary factor in funding/marketing the film - however, in the aftermath of GITS's disappointing $19 million opening weekend haul, the studio has now admitted that the whitewashing backlash did impact the critical reception, which, in turn, hurt the movie. “We had hopes for better results domestically,” Kyle Davies, Paramount's domestic distribution chief, told CBC News. “I think the conversation regarding casting impacted the reviews.”

While you could argue that a movie should be judged on its own merits and not preconceived notions on how it should/shouldn't have been cast, Ghost in the Shell really did itself no favors by adding a strangely self-aware twist, seemingly in an attempt to work the casting controversy into the plot. No spoilers, but let's just say it didn't quite work!

It remains to be seen if a major studio openly acknowledging that whitewashing hurt their film has any positive repercussions, but it's definitely a good start.
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