“Clearly the reviews didn’t help.”

Paramount Pictures has blamed Ghost in the Shell‘s failure at the box office on the controversy surrounding the film’s casting of Scarlett Johansson in the role of cyborg crimefighter The Major.

The Hollywood adaptation of filmmaker Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 anime classic has been accused of whitewashing by critics and organizations, including the Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA).

As CBR now reports, Ghost in the Shell – which was produced for an estimated $110 million – has earned just $21.9 million in North America and $62 million worldwide to date. Kyle Davies, Paramount’s president of domestic distribution, blames this largely on “the conversation regarding casting” which he believes “impacted the reviews.”

“You’ve got a movie that is very important to the fanboys since it’s based on a Japanese anime movie,” Davies told CBR. “So you’re always trying to thread that needle between honoring the source material and make a movie for a mass audience. That’s challenging, but clearly the reviews didn’t help.”

The film’s original director has defended the casting of Johansson. “What issue could there possibly be with casting her?” Oshii told IGN last month. “The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one.”

Read next: Ghost in the Shell review: A glossy update that misses the point but isn’t the disaster expected



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