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

Variety logo Variety 4/11/2017 Mark Schilling
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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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