Following a less-than-stellar opening weekend in the United States, the live-action adaptation of the popular anime Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson, is on its way to being a significant disappointment for Paramount, and stands a good chance of earning the dubious title of being the first major big box office dud of 2017.
The news isn’t too terribly surprising, as the movie has been embroiled in a whitewashing controversy since the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the Major. The generally poor reviews also likely played a role in the movie underperforming as it did. While the film is already slipping domestically, there was a small ray of hope for the studio, as the movie recently earned the top spot at the international box office.
As reported by Deadline, Ghost in the Shell pulled in $41.3 million overseas in its second weekend. The movie also opened No. 1 in Japan with $3.2 million. Overall, Ghost in the Shell was able to beat Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast‘s tallies.
The overseas haul is a good sign for the film but one that is likely due to the popularity of the source material and the continued international viability of its star. Johansson enjoys a significant profile overseas thanks to her roles in films like The Avengers and Luc Besson’s surprise sci-fi hit Lucy. While the box office numbers Ghost in the Shell pulled in internationally are a good sign, it is unlikely that even its overseas take will help the film turn a profit, as the studio reportedly expects to lose $60 million on the sci-fi adaptation.
For the film to see a significant change in its box-office fortunes it would have to be bolstered considerably by its release in international markets, meaning the film would have to stay at or near the top of the box office for a significantly longer period of time. With its world wide total currently sitting at $124 million, a successful run in theaters seems unlikely as of now. After all, the movie has a reported production budget of $110 million to help bring its ambitious visuals to life. At this point, the disappointing tally of the film makes it seem unlikely that Scarlett Johansson has launched the next big franchise of her career. While the film may still find a way to surprise financially — perhaps on the home video market — the chance of there being a sequel is fading fast.