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Paramount Co-Financing Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Ghost in the Shell’

Paramount has come on board to co-finance and co-produce action vehicle “Ghost in the Shell,” starring Scarlett Johansson, with DreamWorks, Variety has learned exclusively.

Under the deal, Paramount will handle the international release of “Ghost in the Shell” while DreamWorks will release the movie through its output deal with Disney on March 31, 2017.

Variety reported on Jan. 5 that Johansson was set to star in DreamWorks’ adaptation of the popular anime title, with Paramount having the option to co-finance and co-produce.

The story follows the exploits of a member of a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission that specializes in fighting technology-related crime. During last month’s press day for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Johansson told Collider.com that director Rupert Sanders was expected to begin shooting early next year.

Avi Arad and Steven Paul are producing “Ghost in Shell” from a script by Bill Wheeler. Mark Sourian is exec producing.

Besides starring in “Ultron,” Johansson showed her box office clout as an action star with last year’s “Lucy,” which grossed $458 million worldwide.

Fox is co-financing DreamWorks’ Cold War thriller “Bridge of Spies,” starring Tom Hanks, with Steven Spielberg directing. Disney and Walden Media are co-financing DreamWorks’ “The BFG,” which Spielberg has been shooting in Vancouver.

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