Yesterday, we got word that Ghost in the Shell, the live-action remake of the famous anime and manga series, had lost its release date from Disney’s slate, leading many to wonder exactly what bit of business was going on with the anticipated movie. Well, after quite a bit of speculation, we received word today that the reason is rather bigger than the proverbial inside baseball: the film has moved from Disney to Paramount for its distribution. It’s a bit of a surprise, though Paramount was already signed up as a co-financier for the film, which will star Scarlett Johansson as Motoko, a cyborg cop looking to take down a dangerous hacker; Sam Riley and Pilou Asbaek will co-star.
For those who have seen Mamoru Oshii‘s original – easily one of the best anime films to ever see stateside release – you will no doubt note that the cop vs. hacker storyline barely scratches the surface of the grand philosophical, technological, and societal concepts that the film toys with within its runtime. (The film spawned one of the best sequels of all time, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, as well as a TV series and video games.) It may very well be due to the more adult themes and ideas that the film works with that the film moved from the more kid-friendly Disney to Paramount, the company that put out The Wolf of Wall Street.
Despite the drop from the schedule, the film is looking to keep its March 31st, 2017 release date at this point. As for the reasoning behind the shift, Disney hasn’t been above squandering a tonally or narratively coherent film to ensure that teenagers can see the film without parental supervision, but its possible that the film’s more strange and erotic passages are simply integral to the remake’s success. There’s also the matter of the director, Rupert Sanders, who has always leaned hard on gloominess and more macabre imagery, and this may be the perfect project for him to open up to more adult visuals and narrative turns. This is all speculation, of course, but that’s really all one can do currently until more information of this switch, and this promising film, come into the light.