Ghost in the Shell did not have a great opening weekend. Things are not expected to improve from here. As such, it looks like Ghost in the Shell may be the first big box office bomb of 2017. It's going to lose a lot of money. Based on the current trends Ghost is expected to lose at least $60 million when it's all said and done.
Ghost in the Shell was unable to break $20 million at the domestic box office when it opened this past weekend and the film has only made a bit over $60 million globally as of now. Based on current tracking, including expected box office in countries where the film has yet to open, the high-end expectation is that Ghost in the Shell will finish up with about a $200 million take. Based on a $110 million production budget, with additional marketing and other costs added on top of that, that would mean the film will end up $60 million in the red. If Ghost doesn't even make it to $200 million, as Deadline reports some are predicting, the damage will be even greater.
Ghost in the Shell was a controversial film from day one as the casting of Scarlett Johansson was met with criticism by many who felt it constituted the whitewashing of a character who was originally portrayed as Japanese. It's impossible to tell just how much of an impact that had on the film's lackluster box office. Overall the film simply did not review well either, which also clearly did not help the situation.
The film is about to open in China, which has, on more than one occasion, brought financial success to movies that did not perform well in North America. However, science fiction doesn't necessarily do well in China, unless it includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, and even if the film opens well this weekend, with The Fate of the Furious set to open there next week, Ghost in the Shell is expected to wither on the vine after that.
For a lot of movies, $200 million globally would be a perfectly respectable number, however, the $110 million production cost is high for what is ultimately a niche project. While Ghost in the Shell is one of the most popular anime films of all time, the film was going to need to draw in moviegoers not familiar with the source material if it was going to be successful. Clearly, that did not happen.
There's still hope that Ghost in the Shell could outdo expectations and still come out ahead, or at the very least lose less money. We'll be keeping our eyes on this box office numbers to see how Ghost in the Shell ultimately turns out.