Ghost In The Shell, the legendary Anime classic, is ramping up its path to the big screen – especially thanks to Scarlett Johansson finally being locked into the lead role of Major Motoko Kusanagi. Of course, a lead actor being locked into a production doesn't always turn a film's production speed to "turbo," and the long in development adaptation is no exception. It pains us to tell you Ghost In The Shell fans that you're going to have to wait quite a long time for the live action version to hit the big screen.
Deadline has reported that Ghost In The Shell has officially been scheduled for the release date of April 14, 2017. This weekend doesn't currently present any competition for the film, but that's not a huge surprise given how far out it is. Still staking claims on release dates is a strategy that Disney has recently employed with another Scarlett Johansson project of theirs - the currently in-production live action remake of The Jungle Book (which has been slated for almost a year prior to the date Ghost In The Shell will now take its bow).
One Scarlett Johansson film opening in April is just a day at the races, but two Johansson flicks opening around the same time in two consecutive years? That's not a coincidence - that's Disney working to bank on the actress' ever-rising star. After all, last year not only saw big success for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but last summer's Lucy managed to make a huge splash at a box office facing off against Dwayne Johnson in Hercules (a match-up analysts predicted The Rock would win). Between Ghost In The Shell and The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Jungle Book, and any other future Black Widow ventures, Disney is pretty clearly big on the Scarlett Johansson business, and they're eager to make a killing.
It's strange and kind of cool that Johansson would be seen to have this kind of box office power. We used to live in a world where stars like Will Smith ruled the Fourth of July box office with films like Men In Black and Independence Day, but these days studios have a tendency to bank more on franchises than the people who are starring in them – though the stars are still important to keep the franchises going. That being said, if this pattern keeps up, we could see Scarlett Johansson become a rare star in modern Hollywood.
The extra time that Ghost In The Shell has in its schedule before the set release date is hopefully enough that any and all kinks the script can be worked out. It also gives Scarlett Johansson some time to do human thing like enjoy time with her husband and baby daughter in between press junkets and production schedules. Johansson gets to spend time with her family, Disney gets to develop the property in a manner that might not piss off fans of the original, and everyone gets to go home happy.
You can see Scarlett Johansson next in The Avengers: Age Of Ultron on May 1st.