Ghosts in the Shell: Hollywood Whitewashing

Hollywood whitewashing is by no means a new thing, just look back to the 1956 film The Conquerer, which stars John Wayne the star known for his westerns as Genghis Khan, and it even extends farther back in time from there to the earliest days of film; however, Hollywood whitewashing has received a lot of negative press over the last few years, between the oscars-so-white movement and recent films like Ghost in the Shell, which is led by Scarlett Johansen, despite the source material’s main character being Japanese. Indiewire reported that the film opened to just $19 million over its opening weekend, which was less than half of Dreamworks, The Boss Baby. Paramount executive Kyle Davies stepped forward after these results and stated that the casting of Scarlett Johansen in this role impacted the audiences reception and impacted the reviews for the film; moreover, he said, “you’re always trying to thread the needle between honoring the source material and making a movie for a mass audience.” This statement shows that studios continue to whitewash films as they cannot just make a film for those who love the source material for Ghost in the Shell, but need to appeal to a wider audience so they throw in an actor like Scarlett Johansen, who will have major box office draw; however, as this weekend shows, this isn’t always enough and that the increasing backlash against whitewashing films could lead to changes in how these films are cast in the future.


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