Ghost in the Shell is a film that’s been mired in controversy practically from the get-go. It was pretty much assumed by many that they’d cast a mostly-white cast, but nonetheless, that didn’t stop the controversy from hitting when it was announced that Black Widow herself, Scarlett Johansson, would be taking on the iconic role of the Major, a cyborg employed as the squad leader of a fictional division of the real Japanese National Public Safety Commission — though I’m assuming those details will be changed in favor of something less Japanese.
Yet despite all this controversy surrounding the races of the film’s leads, it’s still a film that carries a lot of anticipation. Like with video game adaptations, anime/manga adaptations are something Hollywood has tried in the past, but have thus far failed to do successfully. Dragon Ball Evolution was an embarrassment of a film, and Speed Racer never struck a chord with fans or critics (though I’d argue that movie is much better than it was given credit for). In the next year or so, anime and manga fans will be treated to two films. The first is the Death Note movie, which isslated to hit Netflix some time next year, and the second is Ghost in the Shell.
Last week, we finally got our first taste of the latter film, though it was in a way that no one could expect. Rather than create a short teaser, Paramount opted to release five 10-15 second clips. While these movies had a very distinct visual aesthetic — one that many anime-lovers would likely appreciate — it was very difficult to actually latch on to any particular aspect, as the scenes cut out just as we started to get our bearings.
The response to these clips has been interesting, as it’s been hard to gauge if it’s incited more conversation for the flick, or if it just unnecessarily confused potential audiences.
So what does Paramount have to say about this?
Speaking with Deadline, Megan Colligan, Paramount president of worldwide distribution and marketing, explained their reasoning behind this unique approach to their marketing campaign.
â€œ[â€˜Ghost in the Shell is] a movie about glitches and technology, and that fits well thematically with [TV Show] Mr. Robot. The great thing about season premieres and season finales is that theyâ€™re like live sporting events: People want to watch them in real time. Because of the social media explosion, thereâ€™s a fear of missing out or having a plot detail spoiled. We knew with the Mr. Robot finale weâ€™d get that extra boost of people who would be sharing on social.â€
â€œGhost in the Shell is so original in its own right that it had to have a special execution to kick it off. We needed a launch that was as unique and original as the property itself. Youâ€™ll soon learn about the glitch, itâ€™s one of the most important parts of the filmâ€™s storytelling. It was important to present the earliest advertising for this film as a glitch instead of something more traditional.â€
Well, I have to give kudos when they’re due. It’s easy for a studio just to rely on traditional, tried-and-true marketing campaigns for their film, so the fact that they’re putting in all this extra effort may seem to imply that they have a real faith in the film, and don’t intend to phone in the marketing. That being said, it’s difficult to tell whether or not this would work, as most moviegoers aren’t as forgiving as I am when it comes to the potential marketing missteps for a film. As someone who consumes quite a lot, I’ve done my best not to write films off too soon (plus, I’m a fan of the original film, so that helps).
What do you think of Colligan’s statements? Do you agree with their current approach to the marketing, and do you think it’ll work out for them in the long run? Let us know your thoughts down below!
Ghost in the Shell hits theaters on March 31, 2017.
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