Things aren’t so hot on the anime/manga adaptation front. Fans of the medium have been hungry to see some their favorite stories hit western shores in the live-action form, and for all intents and purposes, there has only been one real success. That comes in the form of Edge of Tomorrow, a film based on a Japanese light novel that didn’t do so hot in theater, but was praised by critics, and went on to garner enough of a following to warrant sequel discussions. Apart from that, films like Speed Racer and Dragonball: Evolution have either bombed at the box office or failed on every possible level as a piece of entertainment.
Ghost in the Shell seems destined to fall in with the majority of anime adaptations. Despite Scarlett Johansson’s name being attached to the film, it looks like you can add another check mark in the list of failed anime adaptations, at least at the box office level. The film didn’t kick things off too well. Last weekend it made around $18 million, well under what it was tracking at. At the time, we weren’t ready to call this a flop yet — films like Warcraft had made ends meet on its foreign box office when the domestic box office failed them. Ghost in the Shell could have been the same. However, the forecasts for Ghost in the Shell don’t look great.
Deadline is reporting that the film will likely be losing at least $60 million for the studios involved. Based on the film’s performance thus far, the outlet is projecting a $50 million domestic haul and a $150 million foreign haul, which would result in a total of $200 million. The film has a reported budget of $110 million, but there are claims that the actual budget could reach as high as $180 million. Between that, and print and advertising costs, you’re looking at $250 million-plus in costs needed to be recouped. In order for the film to reach anywhere near profitable (also taking into account the movie theater chains’ cuts of the cash), it would need to make near $400 million, and $500 million if rumors regarding an inflated budget are true.
So who’s the culprit here? Recently, we reported on comments from Kyle Davies, domestic distribution chief for Paramount, who blamed it on the casting controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson. While that could have been at least partially responsible for the film’s performance, it’s also possible that audiences didn’t want to see a serious-looking sci-fi movie, especially when it comes on the heels of crowd-pleasers like Power Rangers and Beauty and the Beast. Another reason is the fact that no one outside of a small niche group of people know what Ghost in the Shell is. At the end of the day, it looked foreign and different, and audiences don’t always like that. Finally, we can’t ignore the reviews. While we wouldn’t say the film was panned, they were, at the very least, underwhelming. In an age when we’re surrounded with content, audiences take critic scores very seriously.
Regardless of the reason, you can bet studios will take the most shallow interpretations. In their minds, they’ll see this as proof that anime adaptations don’t work. So for those who were hoping that Ghost in the Shell would usher in an age of anime and manga adaptations, I’m afraid that may delay things a bit. Most recently, there were talks surrounding Get Out director Jordan Peele potentially helming an Akira adaptation, but with Ghost in the Shell performing as poorly as it has, we wouldn’t be surprised if Warner Bros puts that project on hold for the time being. Still on the way to Netflix, however, is the Death Note film. We’ll have to wait and see if that turns things around.
What affect do you think Ghost in the Shell’s failure at the box office will have on the industry? Let us know in the comments down below!
Don't forget to share this post on your Facebook wall and with your Twitter followers! Just hit the buttons on the top of this page.