Ghost in the Shell (2017 film)

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Not to be confused with Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie.

Ghost in the Shell
File:Ghost in the Shell (2017 film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rupert Sanders
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Template:Based on
Music by
Cinematography Jess Hall
Edited by
Distributed by Paramount Pictures<ref name=vi/></td></tr>
Release date
Template:Film date</td></tr>
Running time
106 minutes<ref>"Ghost in the Shell (2017)". AMC Theatres. Retrieved March 9, 2017. </ref></td></tr>
Country United States<ref>"Ghost in the Shell (2017)". AllMovie. Retrieved November 11, 2016. </ref></td></tr>
  • English
  • Japanese
Budget $110 million<ref>"Box Office: Can ‘Boss Baby,’ ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Top ‘Beauty and the Beast’?". Variety. March 29, 2017. Retrieved March 29, 2017. </ref></td></tr>
Box office

$169.8 million<ref name="BOM">"The Ghost in the Shell (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 26, 2017. </ref></td></tr></table>

Ghost in the Shell is a 2017 American science fiction action film directed by Rupert Sanders and written by Jamie Moss, William Wheeler, and Ehren Kruger, based on the Japanese manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow. It stars Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han and Juliette Binoche. Set in a near future when the line between humans and robots is blurring, the plot follows the Major (Johansson), a cyborg supersoldier who investigates her past.

Ghost in the Shell premiered in Tokyo on March 16, 2017, and was released in the United States on March 31, 2017, in 2D, 3D, IMAX 3D and 4DX.<ref>"5 reasons why you need to experience Ghost in the Shell in mind-blowing 4DX". March 17, 2017. Retrieved May 29, 2017. </ref> It received mixed reviews, with praise for its visual style, action sequences, cinematography and score, but criticism for its story and lack of character development. The casting of Caucasian actors, particularly Johansson, drew accusations of racism and whitewashing.<ref name="collider1">Michael Goldberg (March 31, 2017). "'Ghost in the Shell' is Racist in Unexpected Ways". Collider. Retrieved September 14, 2017. </ref><ref name="variety1">Ahern, Sarah (March 15, 2017). "Asian American Media Group Accuses Scarlett Johansson of ‘Lying’ About ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Whitewashing Controversy". Variety. Retrieved September 14, 2017. </ref><ref name="indiewire1">David Ehrlich (April 2, 2017). "Will ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Be the Last Racially Insensitive Blockbuster? — Critics Survey". Indie Wire. Retrieved September 14, 2017. </ref><ref name="idsnews1">Annie Halliwell (April 5, 2017). "Ghost in the Shell Review: Post Racism an Excuse for Asian Erasure". IDS News. Retrieved September 14, 2017. </ref> It grossed $169 million worldwide against a production budget of $110 million, and was successful on home video.<ref>"Live-Action Ghost in the Shell Film Takes #2 Spot on Disc Charts". Anime News Network. August 4, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2017. </ref>


In the near future, humans are augmented with cybernetic improvements to traits such as vision, strength, and intelligence. Augmentation developer Hanka Robotics establishes a secret project to develop an artificial body, or "shell", that can integrate a human brain rather than an AI. Mira Killian, the sole survivor of a cyberterrorist attack which killed her parents, is chosen as the test subject after her body is damaged beyond repair. Over the objections of her designer, Dr. Ouelet, Hanka CEO Cutter decides to use Killian as a counter-terrorism operative.

A year later, Killian has attained the rank of Major in the anti-terrorist bureau Section 9, working alongside operatives Batou and Togusa under Chief Daisuke Aramaki. Killian, who experiences hallucinations that Ouelet dismisses as glitches, is troubled by how little she remembers of her past. The team thwarts a terrorist attack on a Hanka business conference, and Killian destroys a robotic geisha after it murders a hostage. After learning that the geisha was hacked by an unknown entity known as Kuze, Killian breaks protocol and "dives" into its AI for answers. The entity attempts a counter-hack, and Batou is forced to disconnect her. They trace the hacker to a yakuza nightclub, where they are lured into a trap. The explosion destroys Batou's eyes and damages Killian's body. Cutter is enraged by Killian's actions, and threatens to have Section 9 shut down unless Aramaki keeps her in line.

Kuze tracks down Section 9's Hanka consultant, Dr. Dahlin, and kills her. The team links her murder to the deaths of other senior company researchers and realize that Ouelet is the next target. Kuze takes control of two sanitation workers and sends them to kill Ouelet. Batou, now with cybernetic eyes, kills one while the repaired Killian subdues the other. While they interrogate the worker, Kuze speaks through him before compelling him to commit suicide. Togusa traces the hack to a secret location, where the team discovers a large number of humans mentally linked as a makeshift signal network. Killian is captured and Kuze reveals that he is a failed Hanka test subject from the same project that created Killian. He urges her to question her own memories, then frees her and escapes.

Killian confronts Ouelet, who admits that 98 test subjects died before Killian, and that her memories are implanted. Cutter has decided that Killian is a liability and orders Ouelet to kill her after she returns to Hanka Robotics. Instead, Ouelet gives Killian an address and helps her escape. Cutter kills Ouelet, but blames Killian, saying that she has gone rogue. He informs Aramaki and the team that Killian must be terminated.

Killian follows the address to an apartment occupied by a widowed mother, who reveals that her daughter, Motoko Kusanagi, ran away from home a year ago and was arrested. Motoko took her own life while in custody. Killian leaves and contacts Aramaki, who allows Cutter to remotely eavesdrop on their conversation. Batou, Togusa, and Aramaki eliminate Cutter's men trying to ambush them, while Killian follows her memories to the hideaway where Motoko was last seen. There, she and Kuze meet and recall their past lives as anti-augmentation radicals who were abducted by Hanka as test subjects.

Cutter deploys a "spider-tank" to kill them. Kuze nearly dies before Killian is able to tear off the tank's motor, losing an arm in the process. Mortally wounded, Kuze offers to merge his "ghost" with Killian's, but Killian refuses. Kuze fades out, then a Hanka sniper kills him. Batou and the team rescue Killian, while Aramaki executes Cutter with Killian's consent. The next day, Killian, now repaired and embracing her true identity as the Japanese Motoko, reconnects with her mother and returns to work with Section 9.


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In the Japanese dub, Atsuko Tanaka, Akio Otsuka and Koichi Yamadera reprise the roles they played in the Mamoru Oshii films and the Stand Alone Complex television series.<ref>Hadfield, James (April 12, 2017). "Hollywood's 'Ghost in the Shell' remake misses the mark". The Japan Times. Retrieved April 13, 2017. </ref>


In 2008, DreamWorks (who handled U.S. theatrical distribution of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence through its Go Fish Pictures banner) and Steven Spielberg acquired the rights to produce a live-action film adaptation of the original manga. Avi Arad and Steven Paul were later confirmed as producers, with Jamie Moss to write the screenplay.<ref>Siegel, Tatiana; Fleming, Michael (April 14, 2008). "DreamWorks to make 'Ghost' in 3-D". Variety. Retrieved November 9, 2011. </ref> In October 2009, it was announced that Laeta Kalogridis had replaced Moss as writer.<ref>Siegel, Tatiana (October 22, 2009). "Kalogridis to adapt 'Ghost in the Shell'". Variety. Retrieved November 9, 2011. </ref> On January 24, 2014, it was reported that Rupert Sanders would direct the film, with a screenplay by William Wheeler.<ref>Bishop, Bryan (January 25, 2014). "Live-action 'Ghost in the Shell' movie signs the director of 'Snow White and the Huntsman'". The Verge. Retrieved March 3, 2014. </ref> Wheeler worked on the script for approximately a year and a half, later saying, "It's a vast enterprise. I think I was second or third in the mix, and I know there have been at least six or seven writers."<ref>McKittrick, Christopher (September 30, 2016). "Queen of Katwe: Expanding What a Disney Film Can Be". Creative Screenwriting. Retrieved September 30, 2016. </ref> Jonathan Herman also worked on the screenplay.<ref>Siegel, Tatiana (October 23, 2015). "'Straight Outta Compton' Writer to Tackle Scarlett Johansson Thriller 'Ghost in the Shell'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 8, 2017. </ref> Ultimately, credit for the screenplay was given to Moss, William Wheeler and Ehren Kruger.[citation needed]

On September 3, 2014, Margot Robbie was in early talks for the lead role.<ref>Fleming Jr, Mike (September 3, 2014). "‘Wolf Of Wall Street’s Margot Robbie Eyes ‘Ghost In The Shell’". Retrieved September 3, 2014. </ref> On October 16, it was announced that DreamWorks had made a $10 million offer to Scarlett Johansson for the lead role after Robbie's talks for the role fell apart when she was cast as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad.<ref>Gallagher, Brian (October 16, 2014). "'Ghost in the Shell' Movie Wants Scarlett Johansson for the Lead". MovieWeb. Retrieved October 17, 2014. </ref> In May 2015, Paramount Pictures agreed to co-produce and co-finance the film.<ref name=McNary>McNary, Dave (May 8, 2015). "Paramount Co-Financing Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Ghost in the Shell’". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2016. </ref> On November 10, 2015, Pilou Asbæk was cast in the film for the role of Batou.<ref>Kroll, Justin (November 10, 2015). "Pilou Asbæk to Co-Star With Scarlett Johansson in ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved November 11, 2015. </ref> According to TheWrap, Matthias Schoenaerts was circling the role of Batou that went to Asbæk.<ref>Sneider, Jeff (November 10, 2015). "Scarlett Johansson to Reteam With ‘Lucy’ Co-Star for ‘Ghost in the Shell’". Variety. Retrieved March 5, 2017. </ref> On November 19, 2015, it was reported that Sam Riley was in early talks to join the film for the villain role as Kuze, the leader of most dangerous criminals and extremists.<ref name=Jaafar>Jaafar, Ali (November 19, 2015). "Sam Riley In Talks For ‘Ghost In The Shell’ Opposite Scarlett Johansson". Retrieved November 28, 2015. </ref> But, on February 4, 2016, Variety reported that Michael Pitt was in talks for the role.<ref>Kroll, Justin (February 4, 2016). "Michael Pitt to Play Villain in Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Ghost in the Shell’". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2016. </ref> On March 3, 2016, TheWrap reported that Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano had been cast as Daisuke Aramaki, the founder and leader of the elite unit Section 9 tasked with protecting the world from the most dangerous technological threats.<ref>Snider, Jeff (March 2, 2016). "Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Casts Its First Japanese Actor". TheWrap. Retrieved March 3, 2016. </ref>

Principal photography on the film began on location in Wellington, New Zealand, on February 1, 2016.<ref>Friedlander, Monique (February 2, 2016). "Fitness fan! Scarlett Johansson cuts a low-key figure on training session in New Zealand as she takes a break from filming Ghost In The Shell". Daily Mail. Retrieved February 3, 2016. </ref> In April 2016, the full cast was announced, which included Juliette Binoche, Chin Han, Lasarus Ratuere and Kaori Momoi.<ref name=""/> In May 2016, Rila Fukushima was cast in a role.<ref>Kit, Borys; Galuppo, Mia (May 25, 2016). "'Wolverine' Actress Rila Fukushima Joins Scarlett Johansson in 'Ghost in the Shell' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. </ref> Filming wrapped up in New Zealand on June 3, 2016. Filming also took place in the Yau Ma Tei and Jordan areas of Hong Kong, around Pak Hoi Street and Woosung Street on June 7, 8 and 10 or 14–16.<ref>Tsui, Stephanie (June 2, 2016). ""Ghost in the Shell" Will Film in Hong Kong—and There's Still No Asian Lead". HK Magazine. South China Morning Post. Retrieved June 4, 2016. </ref>


Ghost in the Shell was originally scheduled by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures for an April 14, 2017, release through their Touchstone Pictures banner.<ref>McNary, Dave (January 13, 2015). "Disney Sets Several 2016 Release Dates". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2016. </ref><ref>Pedersen, Erik (January 13, 2015). "Disney Dates 'Ghost In The Shell', Moves Jungle Book Back 6 Months". Retrieved February 5, 2016. </ref> The film was part of DreamWorks' distribution deal with Walt Disney Studios, which began in 2009.<ref>Masters, Kim (September 2, 2015). "Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks to Split From Disney, in Talks With Universal (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 7, 2016. </ref> In April 2015, Disney moved the film's release date in North America to March 31, 2017, with Paramount Pictures handling international distribution.<ref name=McNary/><ref>D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 29, 2015). "Disney Moves ‘Ghost In The Shell’ Up Two Weeks". Retrieved February 5, 2016. </ref> However, it was reported in September 2015 that DreamWorks and Disney would not renew their distribution deal, which was set to expire in August 2016.<ref>McNary, Dave (September 2, 2015). "Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks to Leave Disney, Possibly for Universal". Variety. Retrieved September 3, 2015. </ref> In January 2016, Disney dropped the film from its release slate after DreamWorks' distribution deal with Universal Pictures was finalized in December 2015.<ref name=Stedman>Stedman, Alex (January 25, 2016). "'Ghost in the Shell' Moves to Paramount From Disney". Variety. Retrieved January 26, 2016. </ref><ref>Lang, Brent (December 16, 2015). "Steven Spielberg, Jeff Skoll Bring Amblin Partners to Universal". Variety. Retrieved December 23, 2015. </ref> Disney's distribution rights for the film were transferred completely to Paramount instead of Universal, with Paramount retaining Disney's release date of March 31, 2017.<ref name=Stedman/> Unusually, the film was not screened for critics before its release.<ref name="deadline1">Anthony D'Alessandro (April 5, 2017). "‘Ghost In The Shell’: Scarlett Johansson Movie Flop Will Lose $60 Million". Retrieved July 10, 2017. </ref>

Box office

Ghost in the Shell grossed $40.5 million in the United States and Canada and $129.2 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $169.8 million, against a production budget of $110 million.<ref name=BOM/>

In North America, Ghost in the Shell opened alongside The Boss Baby and The Zookeeper's Wife, and was projected to gross around $25 million from 3,440 theaters in its opening weekend.<ref>Fuster, Jeremy (March 27, 2017). "'Boss Baby,' 'Ghost in the Shell' to Battle 'Beauty and the Beast' This Weekend". TheWrap. Retrieved March 31, 2017. </ref> It made $1.8 million from Thursday night previews and $7.7 million on Friday. It opened to a less-than-expected $19 million, finishing third at the box office behind The Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast. attributed the poor opening to below-average critical reviews, an unclear marketing campaign, and no social media presence by Johansson.<ref>Anthony D'Alessandro. "Boss Baby’ Bullies ‘Beast’ With $50M+ Opening; ‘Ghost’ Shell-Shocked With Low $18.6M". Retrieved April 2, 2017. </ref> In its second weekend the film grossed $7.4 million, dropping 60.4% and finishing 5th at the box office.<ref>"‘Boss Baby’ Crawls Ahead Of ‘Beauty’ With $26M+; ‘Smurfs’ Lost In 3rd With $14M". Retrieved April 9, 2017. </ref>

Kyle Davies, domestic distribution chief for Paramount, felt the controversy around the casting had damaged reviews, and said: "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."<ref>Zulekha Nathoo (April 2, 2017). "Casting controversy, reviews blamed for Ghost in the Shell failure at box office - Entertainment - CBC News". CBC News. Retrieved April 6, 2017. </ref> Conversely, Deadline argued that the negative critical assessment was instead due to the film being "cold, boring, thoughtless, and the same old same old next to its futuristic ancestors The Matrix and Blade Runner" and suggested that Paramount held the film from review because they "knew they had a lame duck". Deadline also reported that the film is expected to lose at least $60 million against its total advertising and production costs of $250 million.<ref name="deadline1"/>

Compared to its U.S. gross during the same period, Japanese box office reception since the official release in the country in April 7 has been more positive, earning a modest $3.3 million in Japan during its first three days in theaters.<ref name="Lammers">Lammers, Timothy (April 8, 2017). "Ghost in the Shell: Japanese Response to Remake is More Positive". Screen Rant. Retrieved April 11, 2017. </ref><ref name="Schilling">Schilling, Mark (April 10, 2017). "‘Ghost in the Shell’ Opens Behind ‘Sing’". Variety. Retrieved April 11, 2017. </ref><ref name="Frank">Frank, Allegra (April 10, 2017). "Ghost in the Shell Beloved in Japan, Despite Box Office Blowout in the West: People Don’t Seem to Mind ScarJo as Much in the East". Polygon. Retrieved April 11, 2017. </ref> In Japan, Ghost in the Shell made it to second place just behind Sing.<ref name="Schilling"/><ref name="Blair">Blair, Gavin J. (April 8, 2017). "Japanese Fans React to ‘Ghost in the Shell’". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 9, 2017. </ref><ref name="Rusell">Edwards, Rusell (April 11, 2017). "Shell Shock: Scarlett Vehicle Top in China But for How Long? Ghost in the Shell Dethrones Kong: Skull Island in Mainland China; Sing Still Dominant in Japan". Asian Film. The Asia Times. Retrieved April 11, 2017. </ref>

In China, the film debuted at number one, grossing in $22.1 million and claiming the spot from Kong: Skull Island which held it for three weeks.<ref name="Rusell"/> Nevertheless, it performed below already muted expectations, leading to the Chinese media calling it a flop.<ref>Papish, Jonathan (April 10, 2017). "China Box Office: Meek 'Ghost' Stays In Shell". China Film Insider. Retrieved April 11, 2017. </ref>

Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Ghost in the Shell has an approval rating of 45% based on 223 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10. The site's consensus reads, "Ghost in the Shell boasts cool visuals and a compelling central performance from Scarlett Johansson, but the end result lacks the magic of the movie's classic source material."<ref name="RT">"Ghost in the Shell (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved June 25, 2017. </ref> On Metacritic, the film has a score of 52 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".<ref name="Metacritic">"Ghost in the Shell Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 6, 2017. </ref> Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.<ref name="CinemaScore">"Ghost in the Shell". CinemaScore on Twitter. March 31, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017. </ref>

Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times praised the film's visuals and production, saying: "Some of that ravishment arrives courtesy of the movie's setting, a stunning pan-Asian metropolis that makes boldly inventive use of the Hong Kong skyline, its tightly stacked buildings tricked out with enormous holographic billboards. (The cinematography and production design, both staggering, are by Jess Hall and Jan Roelfs, respectively.)"<ref>Chang, Justin (March 30, 2017). "The ravishing sci-fi noir 'Ghost in the Shell' is fascinating, and not without its glitches". LA Times. Retrieved April 1, 2017. </ref> Michael Phillips of Chicago Tribune gave the film 3/4 and said, "This isn't jokey, quippy science fiction; true to the source material, it's fairly grave about the implications of an android-dominated culture, though of course Ghost in the Shell is also about giant mecha spiders equipped with machine guns."<ref>Phillips, Michael (March 30, 2017). "'Ghost in the Shell' review: Scarlett Johansson gives life to controversial adaptation". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 30, 2017.  Template:Rating</ref>

Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2.5 out of 4 stars, saying: "Just about every scene in Ghost in the Shell is a visual wonder to behold—and you'll have ample to time to soak in all that background eye candy, because the plot machinations and the action in the foreground are largely of the ho-hum retread variety."<ref>Richard Roeper (March 31, 2017). "In 'Ghost in the Shell,' dazzling visuals support a drab plot". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved March 31, 2017. </ref> Evan Narcisse of io9 commented that the film failed to capture the feel of the source material, with the biggest problem being the Major asking the wrong sort of existential questions about herself.<ref>Narcisse, Evan (March 30, 2017). "Ghost in the Shell Delivers a Beautiful but Ultimately Empty Adaptation of an Anime Classic". io9. Retrieved April 1, 2017. </ref>

Cecilia D'Anastasio of Kotaku commented on the film's failure to adhere to the source material, saying: "Somebody misjudged how poorly American superhero movie tropes would map onto Ghost in the Shell", and that "[the] final scene tried to do that 'satisfying our need for closure' thing American directors think is kind, but is actually condescending."<ref>D'Anastasio, Cecilia (March 31, 2017). "Ghost In The Shell Really Bummed Us Out". Kotaku. Retrieved April 5, 2017. </ref> Brian Truitt of USA Today gave the film 1.5/4, stating: "Ghost in the Shell is a defective mess with lifeless characters, missed chances for thematic exploration and a minefield of political incorrectness."<ref>Truitt, Brian (March 30, 2017). "Review: 'Ghost in the Shell' revamp is in need of a better upgrade". USA Today. Retrieved April 1, 2017. </ref>

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times expressed disappointment at the absence of the original's "big, human, all-too-human questions" in contrast to the retention of action clichés such as chases and gun fights. Dargis also criticized the absence of the unique setting, stating that "The original manga takes place in what's described as a "strange corporate conglomerate-state called 'Japan,' while this movie unwinds nowhere in particular, just a universal megalopolis filled with soaring gray towers."<ref>Manohla Darqis (March 30, 2017). "Review: In ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ a Cyborg With Soul". The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2017. </ref>

Nicholas Barber of the BBC describes the film as "conceptually and visually breathtaking", being an elaborately designed and detailed dystopia which seems disturbingly real.<ref>Barber, Nicholas. "How good is the new Ghost in the Shell?". Retrieved April 14, 2017. </ref>

Peter Suderman of Vox and Emily Yoshida of Vulture criticized the removal of philosophical ideas from the story, feeling the movie westernized the story and changed the search for the idea of a soul to just finding individuality and memories.<ref>Williams, Jennifer (April 4, 2017). "The original Ghost in the Shell is iconic anime, and a rich philosophical text". Vox. Retrieved April 4, 2017. </ref><ref>Emily Yoshida (March 30, 2017). "'Ghost in the Shell' Movie Review: A Shoddy, Soulless Remake". Vulture. Retrieved April 4, 2017. </ref> Others call it an action movie that for once doesn't throw philosophy overboard.<ref>""Ghost in the Shell": Was vom Menschen übrig blieb - WELT". DIE WELT. Retrieved April 14, 2017. </ref>

James Hadfield of the Japan Times argued that the film missed the mark but was better than Hollywood's previous attempts at adapting anime for the big screen.<ref>Hadfield, James (April 12, 2017). "Hollywood's 'Ghost in the Shell' remake misses the mark". The Japan Times. Retrieved April 15, 2017. </ref>

The film currently has a 3.48 star (out of 5) rating on Yahoo Movies Japan, with four stars for its visuals and three for its story.<ref name="Blair"/><ref name="Yahoo_Japan">"Ghost in the Shell (2017)". Yahoo Japan Movies (in Japanese). Retrieved April 10, 2017. Template:Rating</ref> On April 10, The Hollywood Reporter noted that the adaptation's rating on Yahoo Movies Japan was higher than the 3.2 rating of the 1995 original anime film.<ref name="hollywoodreporter1">Gavin J. Blair (April 10, 2017). "Why Japan Won't Save 'Ghost in the Shell' From Being a Box-Office Flop". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 10, 2017. </ref><ref name="Frank"/><ref name="Lammers"/>

Home media

Ghost in the Shell was released on Digital HD on July 7, 2017<ref>"Ghost in the Shell (2017)". DVD Release Dates. Retrieved June 2, 2017. </ref> and on Blu-ray and DVD on July 25, 2017.<ref>"GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017)". On DVD Releases. Retrieved June 2, 2017. </ref><ref>"Ghost In The Shell Blu-ray, DVD Release Date Announced". Retrieved June 2, 2017. </ref>

Casting criticism

The casting of Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian / Motoko Kusanagi brought accusations of whitewashing.<ref name="Hero Complex">Brown, Tracey (January 10, 2015). "‘Ghost in the Shell’: Scarlett Johansson casting called ‘whitewashing’". Hero Complex. Retrieved April 14, 2016. </ref><ref name="Child">Child, Ben (January 16, 2015). "DreamWorks accused of 'whitewashing' Ghost in the Shell by casting Scarlett Johansson". The Guardian. Retrieved April 14, 2016. </ref><ref name="BBC">"Is Scarlett Johansson casting Hollywood 'whitewashing'?". BBC News. April 19, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2017. </ref><ref name="The Wrap">Fuster, Jeremy (April 14, 2016). "‘Ghost In The Shell’ Fans Not Happy About ‘Whitewashed’ American Remake". TheWrap. Retrieved April 14, 2016. </ref> Pavan Shamdasani of Asia Times wrote: "The original is about as Asian as things get: Japanese cult manga, ground-breaking anime, Hong Kong-inspired locations, Eastern philosophy-based story. Most of that's been downright ignored with its big-screen adaptation, and Scarlett Johansson's casting as the dark-haired, obviously originally Asian lead sent netizens into a rage."<ref name="Shamdasani">Shamdasani, Pavan (January 28, 2017). "Whitewashing the Great Wall: A short history of cinematic whitewashing". Asia Times. Retrieved February 2, 2017. </ref> In April 2016, ScreenCrush reported that the filmmakers had commissioned the use of CGI and other visual effects testing to alter Johansson's appearance to make her appear Asian,<ref>Sampson, Mike (April 14, 2016). "Exclusive: ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Producers Reportedly Tested Visual Effects That Would Make White Actors Appear Asian". ScreenCrush. Retrieved April 19, 2016. </ref> spurring further backlash.<ref>Flint, Hanna (April 17, 2016). "Max Landis says ScarJo's Ghost In The Shell casting wasn't whitewashing". Metro. Retrieved June 12, 2016. </ref><ref>Patch, Nick (April 18, 2016). "Ghost in the Shell just one example of all-white-everything Asian adaptations". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 12, 2016. </ref> Paramount stated the tests were short-lived and did not involve Johansson.<ref name="Child2">Child, Ben (April 18, 2016). "Max Landis: there are ‘no A-list female Asian celebrities’ who could have taken Scarlett Johansson’s Ghost in a Shell role". The Guardian. Retrieved April 18, 2016. </ref> Some fans and industry employees argued that the controversy was a symptom of Hollywood's fear that casting non-white actors would bring less profit.<ref name="Child2"/><ref>Chow, Keith (April 22, 2016). "Why Won’t Hollywood Cast Asian Actors?". The New York Times. Retrieved May 28, 2016. </ref>

In Japan, fans were surprised that the casting had caused controversy, as they had already assumed that a Hollywood production would choose a white actress. They felt the appearance of the protagonist was immaterial due to the franchise's themes of self-identity and the blurring of artificial and natural bodies.<ref name="Yoshida">Charity, Justin (March 30, 2017). "Lost in Translation". The Ringer. Retrieved March 30, 2017. </ref><ref name="Blair2">Blair, Gavin J. (April 19, 2016). "Scarlett Johansson in 'Ghost in the Shell': Japanese Industry, Fans Surprised by 'Whitewashing' Outrage". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 20, 2016. Some Japanese commentators on Twitter suggested that not too much attention should be paid to the physical appearance of the actress, because the dominant themes in Ghost in the Shell are the nature of identity and cyborgs used to host cyber-brains. 'There's been a lot of criticism from foreign fans about the casting of Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi in the movie adaptation of Ghost in the Shell,' wrote @janyojanyo. 'It's about artificial bodies, so you may as well think of it as her using a white cyborg...'. </ref> The Hollywood Reporter spoke to a group of female Japanese American actors, including Keiko Agena, about the film; the actresses argued that Japanese natives are not upset by the film because of white beauty standards held in Japan.<ref name="Sun">Sun, Rebecca (March 21, 2017). "'Ghost in the Shell': 4 Japanese Actresses Dissect the Movie and Its Whitewashing Twist". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 5, 2017. The movie opened Friday, and The Hollywood Reporter invited four actresses of Japanese descent to watch Ghost in the Shell on opening weekend and participate in a candid discussion about the film, its whitewashing charges and working conditions for actresses of color in Hollywood. </ref> According to Justin Charity of Ringer, "your average Japanese citizen's outlook on diversity is much less influenced by pluralism than the outlooks of many Asian Americans, who live in a country where popular culture rarely represents them well, if at all. Hence, many Japanese Americans may find Johansson's casting in a Ghost in the Shell movie distressing, while native Japanese observers make nothing of it."<ref name="Yoshida"/>

Paramount released a featurette of Mamoru Oshii, director of the anime films, visiting the studio, in which he says that Johansson exceeded his expectations for the role.<ref>Sheridan, Wade (November 11, 2016). "'Ghost in the Shell' featurette: Original director Mamoru Oshii praises Scarlett Johansson". Retrieved April 1, 2017. </ref> Oshii told IGN that as the Major uses an assumed body and name, there was no basis for saying an Asian woman must portray her, and stated: "I can only sense a political motive from the people opposing it, and I believe artistic expression must be free from politics."<ref>Osborn, Alex (March 21, 2017). "Original Ghost in the Shell Director Mamoru Oshii Has No Problem with Live-Action Remake". IGN. Retrieved March 22, 2017. </ref> During a launch event in Tokyo, director Rupert Sanders said of Johansson: "There are very few actresses with 20 years' experience who have the cyberpunk ethic already baked in. I stand by my decision—she's the best actress of her generation."<ref>Blair, Gavin J. (November 13, 2016). "'Ghost in the Shell': Watch the First Trailer". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 4, 2017. </ref> Addressing the controversy, producer Steven Paul referred to the film's setting as "an international world" with characters of numerous nationalities.<ref>Cheng, Susan (July 1, 2016). "'Ghost in the Shell' Producer Explains Why The Film's Approach Is 'the Right Approach'". BuzzFeed. Retrieved July 5, 2016. </ref>

Sam Yoshiba, director of the international business division at Kodansha's Tokyo headquarters, which holds the rights to the Ghost in the Shell series, said: "Looking at her career so far, I think Scarlett Johansson is well cast. She has the cyberpunk feel. And we never imagined it would be a Japanese actress in the first place... this is a chance for a Japanese property to be seen around the world."<ref name="Blair2"/><ref>Romano, Nick (July 1, 2016). "'Ghost in the Shell' producer comments on Scarlett Johansson’s casting". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 1, 2016. </ref> Johansson said of the criticism: "I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive. Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity. Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that—the weight of such a big property on my shoulders."<ref>Chavez, Danette (February 9, 2017). "Scarlett Johansson responds to Ghost In The Shell whitewashing controversy". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 31, 2017. </ref>

The film attracted further criticism for its ending, which reveals that Johansson's character was originally a Japanese girl.<ref name="Truffaut-Wong"/><ref>Opie, David (March 31, 2017). "Ghost In The Shell: Is Scarlett Johansson's Role Still Whitewashing?". Movie Pilot. Retrieved March 31, 2017. </ref> The Media Action Network for Asian Americans accused Johansson of lying when she said she would never play the role of a person of a different race than her own.<ref>Ge, Linda (March 31, 2017). "Scarlett Johansson Is 'Lying' About 'Ghost in the Shell' Whitewashing, Group Says". The Wrap. Retrieved April 1, 2017. </ref> Japanese-American actress Ai Yoshihara, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, said she felt the twist was "white people trying to justify the casting". Another Japanese-American actress, Atsuko Okatsuka, said: "Hanka Robotics [the corporation in the film] 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."<ref name="Sun"/>


The film has been nominated in two categories for the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA) Awards, and was also nominated for the 'Most Innovative Advertising' category at the Motion Picture Sound Editors' Golden Reel Awards.<ref>"Live-Action Ghost in the Shell Film Nominated for 2 HPA Awards". Anime News Network. September 28, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2017. </ref> It won the 12th annual HPA Award for 'Color Grading'.<ref>Giardina, Carolyn (November 16, 2017). "HPA Awards: 'Dunkirk' Wins Best Editing in a Feature". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 18, 2017. </ref> The film was on the Academy Awards shortlist for the category of Visual Effects,<ref>Pedersen, Erik (December 4, 2017). "Visual Effects Oscar Shortlist Is Out: From Blockbusters To Specialty Pics". Deadline. Retrieved December 5, 2017. </ref><ref>"'Star Wars,' 'Blade Runner,' 'Shape of Water' Advance in Oscars VFX Rac3". TheWrap. December 18, 2017. Retrieved December 19, 2017. </ref> and later ended up on the shortlist for Hair and Makeup.<ref>Pedersen, Erik (December 19, 2017). "Oscars: Makeup & Hairstyling Shortlist Trims Field To Seven With 'Bright', 'Guardians 2' & More". Deadline. Retrieved December 19, 2017. </ref> It was also nominated for Best Contemporary Make-up by the Make-Up and Hair Guild.<ref>Tapley, Kristopher (5 January 2018). "‘Darkest Hour,’ ‘Wonder,’ ‘Saturday Night Live’ Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 5 January 2018. </ref>

In popular culture

See also


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External links

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