Japan Box Office: ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Opens Behind ‘Sing’

Ghost in the Shell
Courtesy of Paramount

TOKYO – “Sing” topped the Japanese box office chart for the fourth successive weekend, while “Ghost in the Shell,” Paramount’s live action adaptation of a Japanese anime, opened modestly in behind.

Its opening positions “Ghost” to be neither a thumping success, nor a thudding failure. “Sing” scored $2.8 million from 236,000 admissions on Saturday and Sunday. That lifted its cumulative total to $36 million for distributor Toho-Towa. “Moana” ranked second in admissions (with 187,000) and third by revenue with $2.25 million.

“Ghost” scored $2.5 million from 171,000 admissions over the comparable Saturday and Sunday weekend. And, with a Friday outing through Towa Pictures, it achieved $3.3 million in three days.

The so-called whitewashing controversy caused barely a ripple in Japan, where social media opined that no Japanese actress could have carried the role. Mamoru Oshii, who directed the original “Ghost,” voiced support of the casting of Scarlett Johansson, even though she is not a particularly significant box office draw in Japan. Indeed, by casting a westerner, rather than an actress from elsewhere in Asia, the film escaped the opprobrium heaped on “Memoirs of a Geisha.”

However, for all its long life as a multi-media franchise, “Ghost” has never broken out in Japan beyond its base of committed fans, known as otaku. The film is now forecast to reach $10 million which these days qualifies as a hit for a Hollywood title in Japan.

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  1. Who is surprised by a success in Japan of this film, shows great ignorance in Japanese culture, and as good American behavior of pride, believe that they are the center of the universe. Being a primitive market intellectually, the only thing that seeks in the cinema are effects and action without meaning, when they encounter movies, where they have to think and have a hidden philosophical theme, they get bored and criticize it, in the end a sample of the American cultural inferiority, which only measures success for money, a mediocre and decadent society …

  2. Another Poster says:

    Just for the record; Scarlett Johansson is in Sing as well as Ghost. She is the voice of an animated punk rocking porcupine. She is not the star of Sing, however, she is one of the more well known co-stars, who does get a lot of airplay in the film. Ghost in the Shell got terrible reviews, and I doubt if anyone could have done anything with the role. Yes, it was originally a Japanese animated production, however, the film is so horrible, it’s going to be one of the biggest box office failures of 2017, and a front runner for some Golden Raspberry awards, (Razzie).

  3. fubs says:

    And people said japanese people loved SJ, sad when you get beaten by a children`s movie that`s been out for a month.

    • ZeKe. says:

      Did you read the article? ScarJo was also in Sing, kinda makes your comment a little pointless. Not to mention cultures are different and just because anime comes from Japan doesn’t make it the top form of entertainment that everyone loves.

  4. adam says:

    So even in Japan, an animated kids movie beats out Ghost in the Shell. Sad.

  5. Thedude3445 says:

    Poor Ghost in the Shell. I’d say it’s just awful timing more than anything, because it had a ton of competition in Japan, China, United States, and likely most other major regions. The mediocre reviews didn’t help, but they really should have rescheduled this movie. When moviegoers can already watch Beauty and the Beast, King Kong, Get Out, Logan, and Power Rangers, this one just didn’t have enough demographic appeal to break out.

    • ManOfBronze says:

      its kinda funny though as GITS will make more money WW than Power Rangers yet the PR movie is seen as a hit??? Strange….

      • momotaroskp says:

        Would not surprise me if Power Rangers does better then Ghost in The Shell in Japan in July

      • Thedude3445 says:

        Power Rangers will probably be a much bigger hit in China and end up making… probably $300 million worldwide. Those aren’t huge franchise numbers and the way the film dropped like a rock in the US suggests a sequel will have a TMNT: Out of the Shadows-esque downturn, but it’s going to end up better than Ghost in the Shell, where it did badly in both China and the US.

        Of course if Power Rangers doesn’t become a hit in China, the whole thing’s doomed, so we will have to see.

  6. crossie says:

    Ouch.

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