When fans of Ghost In The Shell first learned that Scarlett Johansson (a white woman) had been cast as Major Motoko Kusanagi (a Japanese cyborg), an audible groan swept over the internet as everyone realized that Paramount was going to whitewash the hell out of a beloved franchise.
Rather than acknowledge people’s concerns about on-screen representation and consider that the whitewashing might put Ghost In The Shell’s box office in financial danger, Paramount (and Johansson) insisted that people reserve their judgments until they saw the movie. Here’s the thing though—barely anybody went to go see it (as they warned the studio), the film raking in $18.6 million against an estimated $100 million plus budget. Boss Baby opened at no. 1 at the box office with $49 million in ticket sales.
And now, at least one Paramount executive has admitted that the (very literal) whitewashing is at least partially to blame.