There was controversy surrounding the release of the live-action version of Ghost in the Shell from the minute it was announced, back in 2015, that Scarlett Johansson would take the starring role. Some of the criticism was valid, and some, not so much. Despite the criticism, the movie producers were hopeful that Ghost in the Shell would do well. Unfortunately, however, the fans let their pockets do the talking, and Ghost in the Shell was a flop both critically and commercially. Even though it came in at the number three spot over the weekend, it still took a huge financial loss.
Here, critics take a look as to why Ghost in the Shell took a proverbial bath at the box office.
Ghost in the Shell was a flop because of White-Washing
This is the most common criticism of the film. According to TooFab, even though Johansson is a major Hollywood star, she’s still a white woman. The source character of the film, and the story itself, was Japanese and based in Japan. Thanks to the increased awareness of diversity in the blogosphere, Ghost in the Shell was doomed to fail before it even got out of the gate.
“A lot of journalists – especially fan bloggers – who would normally breathlessly cover this kind of movie approached it with a lot of caution. No one wants to seem socially ignorant, so a whole lot of sites that generally provide free PR offered far less support. As a result, the movie got way less play online, and when Johansson did get interviewed, she often had to defend her casting.”
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) April 5, 2017
Ghost in the Shell was a flop because of the lack of support in the Japanese community
Refinery29 took it upon themselves to talk to some Japanese-American actresses about the film, and needless to say, what they had to say wasn’t very complimentary. Ai Yoshihara, known for her work in A Sea of Trees, said that the premise of “Major’s brain being Japanese the whole time” was nothing short of stupid, and it was merely a way for white people to try to shoehorn themselves into something that was distinctly Japanese.
Comedian Atsuko Okatsuka agreed and said that it wasn’t just Johansson’s character that was white-washed, which makes it even worse.
“The text at the beginning of the movie explained that Hanka Robotics is making a being that’s the best of human and the best of robotics. For some reason, the best stuff they make happens to be white. Michael Pitt used to be Hideo.”
Me: Still conflicted about GHOST IN THE SHELL’s visuals vs story. Really wanna go in-depth with this one.
Also me: pic.twitter.com/KOQmK608Ay
— Minty (@mintsanity) April 5, 2017
Ghost in the Shell was a flop because of social media
When a social media campaign starts against something, it’s very hard to stop it. That was the case with this film, which almost immediately got a Twitter campaign launched against it, thus encouraging the pack mentality of excoriation. Who could stand a chance against that?
But, according to Wired, it wasn’t completely unjustified. Aside from the story line being complete trash, the film suffered from sub-standard acting and a poor advertising campaign.
“Twitter didn’t kill Ghost in the Shell, exactly—the movie was a bloodless, great-looking snooze, and dropped into a weekend during which adults clearly had better things to do—but the service’s users countered the studio’s ongoing awareness-raising effort with a conscious-raising one, creating a stigma that no amount of marketing frippery or hypery could overcome”
Were you surprised that Ghost in the Shell was a flop? Leave your thoughts about Ghost in the Shell being a flop in the comments below.
[Featured Image by DreamWorks Pictures]