Ghost In The Shell

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  • Directed By: Rupert Sanders
  • Written By: Jamie Moss & William Wheeler & Ehren Kruger
  • Release Date: March 31, 2017
  • Domestic Distributor: Paramount
  • Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Juliette Binoche, Takeshi Kitano

Box Office Info:
Budget: $110 millionFinanced by: DreamWorks; Paramount; Reliance Entertainment; Weying Technology; Huahua Media; Shanghai Film Group
Domestic Gross: $40,563,557Overseas Gross: $129,238,364


The live action adaptation of the Ghost In The Shell manga began to actively move forward at DreamWorks in 2014.  The budget for Ghost In The Shell was $110 million.  It was financed by DreamWorks and their financing partner Reliance Entertainment also contributed coin and Paramount boarded the project as co-financier and handled international distribution.   DreamWorks’ domestic distribution was contracted with Disney at the time and the mouse house first dated Ghost In The Shell for April 14, 2017.  Disney soon shifted the date to March 31.  In September 2015, DreamWorks and Disney decided to not renew their agreement which was set to expire in August 2016 and in January 2016 Disney removed the movie from their schedule.  Paramount took over domestic distribution duties.

In January 2017, Paramount inked a one billion dollar slate financing agreement with Chinese companies Huahua Media and Shanghai Film Group and Ghost In The Shell would be one of the many movies covered under the arrangement.  Less than one month before Ghost In The Shell was set to open, very little money was allocated to Paramount from the two Chinese giants and the deal is currently in peril.  At this time it is unknown if Paramount will see any of the slate money to reduce their exposure on Ghost In The Shell.  This article will be updated after Paramount, Huahua and Shanghai sort out their wheelings and dealings.  Update: Paramount received the slate financing.  In August 2017, Paramount’s parent company Viacom is once again trying to salvage the deal with Huahua after their disappointing returns on Transformers: The Last Knight, Baywatch and Ghost In The Shell.  Huahua reported: “We have incurred losses for the first months of the current year.  These are not trivial losses; they are huge losses.” “Viacom needs to explain a better plan for how it spends [our] investment money.”

Less than two weeks before the film was set to open, Chinese movie ticket company Weying Technology took a minority investment in the picture and in return would see 10% of the global gross.

In the many months leading up to the release for Ghost In The Shell, a whitewashing controversy erupted about the casting of Scarlett Johansson for what should have been an Asian role.  Still, tracking was relatively strong and Paramount heavily invested in a domestic P&A spend.  As per iSpotTV,  $29.84 million was spent on national TV ads, plus millions more on other traditional means of advertising and distribution expenses.  The domestic P&A expenses on Ghost In The Shell are north of $45 million.

Reviews were mixed and as the picture was going into its opening weekend, tracking was pointing to a soft mid $20 million bow.  Ghost In The Shell opened against DreamWorks Animation’s The Boss Baby and it came in below expectations with $18,676,033.  More troubling was the 12.8% decline in attendance from Friday night to Saturday, which did not bode well for its longevity in theaters.  The film sank 60.9% the following weekend to $7,306,413 and lost 66.3% of the movie going public in its third frame to $2,463,906.  The domestic run closed with $40,563,557.

For its international run, Ghost In The Shell opened day and date in 52 markets and pulled in $40.1 million.  In its second overseas frame, the film was released in China to $21.4 million and the weekend haul was $41.3 million.  For its third session, Ghost In The Shell was crushed by The Fate Of The Furious, which took most of the global marketplace to itself and it pulled in just $8.3 million.

The picture had a decent start in Japan, where the source material is beloved and co-star (and icon) Takeshi Kitano was in his first western studio movie since the ridiculous 1995 film Johnny Mnemonic.  The Japan numbers were $3.3 million, placing #1 for the weekend.  The final gross came to $9 million.

The offshore cume came to $129.2 million. The worldwide gross was $169.8 million and about $93 million would be returned after theaters take their percentage of the gross.  This would not even cover the expensive global P&A spend.

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