'Ghost-Shell' Sells Sizzle Not Story In Flop

By Robert Marich
   April 10, 2017-Paramount Pictures and its financial partners will lose $60 million on big-budget fantasy Ghost in the Shell, which is the Hollywood remake staring Scarlett Johansson of a Japanese anime property. A Deadline analysis by journalist Anthony D’Alessandro cites too costly a film for “niche intellectual property,” flawed marketing and actor talent controversy in which Caucasians portrayed what were Asian characters in the foundation anime. Plus, the movie itself is mediocre.
   Regarding the movie’s marketing, TV commercials stressed “more style over substance,” writes D’Alessandro. “… You need a story to
Ghost in the Shell pulls a gun in marketing, so story slides

sell well beyond the visual shock and awe….The whole sci-fi flash dazzle should give Sony/WB/Alcon’s Blade Runner 2049 and Europa/STX’s Valerian concern in their recent trailers.”
   Having white Hollywood actors portray characters that in the Japanese anime are Asian created a bad buzz. “Paramount argues that the ‘whitewashing’ controversy fed into reviews and thus was responsible for plummeting its Rotten Tomatoes score from 71% to 45% in a 24-hour period between its Wednesday, March 29 all-media screening and its preview Thursday night,” writes Alessandro. “This, in turn, dinged the pic’s tracking, dropping its opening projections from $25M-$30M to $18.6M. However, most critics didn’t like Ghost because it was cold, boring, thoughtless, and the same old same old next to its futuristic ancestors.”
  The Deadline article estimates combined costs of $250 million for making Ghost in the Shell and also prints-and-advertising marketing costs (BoxofficeMojo estimates the movie itself cost $110 million). The PG-13 rated fantasy premiered March 31 in the U.S/Canada domestic market to lackluster boxoffice. Steven Spielberg-led DreamWorks Studio co-financed and Paramount that also laid off risk for its full film slate to Chinese financial partners, which so far have not kept up their side of the bargain claiming Chinese government slammed the door on foreign investment.
   Deadline’s single film analysis is fascinating when looking at both financial performance and marketing. The case study article garnered 175 reader comments after a few days, indicating its appeal.
For full text, click links below; this website’s text is searchable via searchbox at upper right of webpages: