Touted as the first in a potential incoming wave of blockbuster anime adaptations, studio number-crunchers are paying very close attention to the box office performance of Ghost in the Shell. After all, it seems that everyone’s itching to find some new IP to exploit, with Akira apparently finally moving into production (I’ll believe it when I see it), Alita: Battle Angel entering post-production, and rumors of a Neon Genesis Evangelion revival being bandied around the industry. Of course, those plans could all be on hold if Paramounts’ Scarlett Johansson-starring cyberpunk action movie proves a flop.
Fortunately for fans, things are looking pretty good for Ghost in the Shell, which took in $1.8M in domestic previews on Thursday night. Projections put it behind Disney’s monstrous success with Beauty and the Beast (likely to hold the number one spot for the third week running) but ahead of Dreamworks’ The Boss Baby.
The obvious comparator for Ghost in the Shell is Luc Besson’s 2014 Lucy, a science fiction actioner also starring Johansson. That surprised everyone by taking $2.8M in previews and going on to far surpass projections with a global haul of $463M. Ghost in the Shell isn’t likely to do as well, so Paramount are encouraging us to compare it with 10 Cloverfield Lane, which took in precisely the same in previews and went on to a successful $24.7M weekend.
So, what to take away from all this? Ghost in the Shell, perhaps a little bogged down down by a slew of bad reviews (it’s currently sitting at 47% on Rotten Tomatoes and was given two stars here), is set to be a modest success for studio. As suc, directors and screenwriters angling to get their anime adaptations into production can probably breathe easy.