The Dreamworks-produced Ghost In The Shell finally received a release date, with the existential sci-fi drama set to officially open on April 14th, 2017. The film, a 3D remake of the 1996 Japanese anime, has suffered controversy as of late regarding the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the lead cyborg detective, Motoko Kusanagi.
In the meantime, Disney decided to push back the U.S. release date of Jon Favreau’s remake of The Jungle Book, sliding it from its October 2015 slot to April 15th 2016. The Jungle Book will be a 3D animated movie featuring the voice talents of Johansson, along with various talents Bill Murray (St. Vincent), Idris Elba (Pacific Rim), and Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island, Schindler’s List).
Ghost In The Shell’s release date has gained DreamWorks an advantageous distribution slot currently unoccupied by Disney, whose rivalry for top box office marks (in both live-action and animated film) is not a well-kept secret. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation and former CEO of Disney Studios, shares a checkered past with Disney’s ex-CEO Michael Eisner, who fired Katzenberg in 1994. That same year, Katzenberg went on to co-found DreamWorks SKG with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.
DreamWorks’ live-action version of the dystopian Ghost In The Shell, which ponders the definition of identity and the human soul in an age when cybernetics begin to overtake the human body, will be based off of the original 1989 comic written by Masamune Shirow, rather than the 1996 film version.
Having recently starred as powerful female “instruments” in both Lucy and Her, as well as the cool-headed Black Widow in the Captain America and Avengers franchises, the role of the Ultimate Woman is one that Johansson has mastered in the past decade. But many fans of the original anime are outraged over her association with the new Ghost In A Shell remake, claiming that the production is already favoring an English-only, whitewashed cast over a more authentic asian ensemble.
Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) was originally approached for the role of Motoko, but the actress turned it down in favor of playing Harley Quinn in the upcoming supervillain movie Suicide Squad. Johansson is the only cast member associated with Ghost In The Shell at this time.
The film will be directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) and written by Bill Wheeler (The Hoax) and Jamie Moss (Street Kings).