'Boss Baby' Beats 'Beauty And The Beast' At Opening, 'Ghost in the Shell' Flops?

John Leuven

Folks at DreamWorks Animation and Fox Distribution knew that their movie Boss Baby was going to be a hit, but they did not expect it to be number one at opening, especially since Disney's Beauty and the Beast is still showing on theaters. But that is exactly what happened with the animation, raking $49 million at the box office on its opening day.

Although, in hindsight, it is not surprising that the family-friendly movie turned out to be a hit. You get Alec Baldwin voicing a baby in a suit, after all. What's not to like?

Beauty and the Beast remains to be a behemoth at the box office, raking in nearly $876.3 million worldwide in its first 17 days, according to a report by NY Daily News. However, it finished at $48 million on the day Boss Baby opened, and was essentially dethroned from its number one spot that week. Chris Aronson, chief of Fox Distribution, said "We expected a decent opening. We didn't expect to be number one."

Reviews for Boss Baby were mostly positive, and it helped that the 3D animation is marketed towards a more family-oriented experience. Praise has been given mostly to Alec Baldwin, who was said to have invoked shout outs to a 1992 film called "Glengarry Glen Ross," where he starred as the character Blake alongside accomplished actors Kevin Spacey and Al Pacino.

Aronson also noted how Baldwin's voice is "distinct." It may be remembered that Baldwin recently was getting publicity mostly because of his expression of distaste for current U.S. President Donald Trump. Baldwin also does well-publicized sketches of Trump in Saturday Night Live, which is probably one of the biggest reasons why his voice is becoming so recognizable.

Meanwhile, another live-action remake besides Beauty in the Beast took to the movies, but unfortunately did not do so well. Ghost in the Shell stars Scarlett Johansson as the protagonist in this live action remake of the acclaimed 1995 anime movie of the same title. The movie opened to $19 million. Not really much of a fanfare here, as the movie is reported to have cost $110 million to make.

Most of Ghost in the Shell's failure was attributed to the alleged trend of "whitewashing" in Hollywood. Given that the characters in the original movie are Japanese, it is not hard to see why some fans bear this sentiment. Even Kyle Davies, chief of domestic distribution at Paramaount, knows this. "I think the conversation regarding casting impacted the reviews," he said.

Davies also knows that it was not easy trying to please the "fanboys," although they had hoped for better results in the domestic showing. "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," he said.

Still, audiences who saw Ghost in the Shell seem to agree with the said reviews, which garnered a B on CinemaScore.

A more reasonable statement for its poor performance may be that Ghost in the Shell has a niche, albeit dedicated, audience. It simply is not as family friendly as the two mentioned movies. However, the original Ghost in the Shell was considered to be a milestone in animation; an important movie and was deemed to be one of the best Japanese animation has to offer. The $19 million opening is perhaps a little underwhelming.

In any case, creators of Ghost in the Shell hope that it will find a more stable footing as it opens in Japan and China. It should be noted that $19 million was the figure for its domestic performance; its international release garnered $40.1 million so far.

[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]