Blockbuster movie season is officially upon us, kicking off this week with the release of Logan and continuing all month long with a flurry of major (no pun intended) titles: Beauty and the Beast, Kong: Skull Island, and, last but far from least, Ghost in the Shell — the live-action remake starring Scarlett Johansson, who has surprisingly (but delightfully) become the queen of sci-fi. We’re unlikely to get a new trailer between now and the end of March, but how about some new motion posters to help you get acquainted with the film’s cast of characters?
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SNL didn’t quite have its ducks in a row with the announcement that Hidden Figures star Octavia Spencer would lead the first March show; lacking a musical guest to accompany. Now, not only has NBC filled out the March 4 dance card, but so too will Scarlett Johannson make a return appearance the following week.
With increasing pressure on studios to hype their big blockbusters as much as possible before their release, some are pulling out some new tricks to keep the wave of excitement flowing. Paramount has announced that it’s offering a free preview, in IMAX, of Scarlett Johansson’s Ghost in the Shell, in fourteen cities nationwide before the film officially hits theaters.
The government is not to be trusted, not at present and certainly not in the trippy future Japan of Ghost in the Shell. Major Motoko Kusanagi (Scarlett Johansson) has been led to believe that she endured some manner of terrible accident in life, and the police department salvaged her body by augmenting it with cybernetic implants. In exchange for a second chance at consciousness, all she has to do is devote herself to fearlessly cleaning the street of crime and to surrender what’s left of her free will; naturally, she has some doubts about this. And when she meets an enigmatic stranger warning her that all is not what it seems, her whole understanding of who the bad guys are starts to shift.
Two movies steeped in the very same kind of controversy are about to hit theaters: The Great Wall, whose casting of Matt Damon in the lead role of a movie ostensibly about a fantastical spin on Chinese history is laughable at best, and Ghost in the Shell, which cast Scarlett Johanssen in a role that is, for all intents and purposes, a Japanese woman. Well, robot-woman. Both sets of actors from both films have tried their best to find ways around this whitewashing issue, with many involved in The Great Wall calling it a “cross-cultural” story of “an outsider.” Johanssen recently addressed accusations of whitewashing leveled at her own movie, and unfortunately she doesn’t really get it.
Ah, the Super Bowl: the one magical night each year in which the nation unites under the binding forces of domestic macrobrewed beer, buffalo chicken wings, and good ol’ American football. Everyone’s got something to enjoy at the big game, whether that’s the competition itself or, for those of us unable to enjoy sporting events due to PTSD over a childhood of getting picked last, trailers for a movie in which Scarlett Johansson plays a sexy police robot. The Super Bowl regularly doubles as the premiere for a handful of brand new previews of upcoming blockbusters, and Paramount has done us all the solid of giving us a three-day jump on the fun.
Before Scarlett Johansson launched a thousand essays by taking on the role of Motoko Kusanagi, the cybernetic crimefighter was nothing more than a drawing. The original Ghost in the Shell anime debuted in 1995 and blew audiences away with its futuristic cyberpunk aesthetic, influencing everything from The Matrix to the Star Wars prequels. In the film, the robotic government agent cuts through the dystopian world of 2029 in search of the Puppet Master, a sentient computer virus taking over human hosts and causing havoc. The film’s flashy Hollywood remake is only a couple months away on March 31, but before that, the original will infiltrate theaters in a special engagement.
Last week, Wes Anderson (with special guest Edward Norton) released a video promoting a charity campaign for his new animated project, Isle of Dogs. Every $10 donation to Crowdrise counts as one sweepstakes entry, and gives Anderson fans (Fandersons?) the opportunity to lend their voice to the film. That’s a pretty sweet deal, but if you’ve got $10,000 laying around, you can also snag a limited edition concept art print — which just happens to give us another look at Anderson’s new animated aesthetic.
With 2016 almost over, thankfully, it’s time to turn our collective attention to everything we’re excited for in the new year. Our staff even drew up a list of all the movies we’re most anticipating, and among those is the Ghost in the Shell adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson. To say that the movie remains controversial would be an understatement, but we can’t deny that it looks stunning. There’s even a new image from the movie to prove it.
Near the end of every year, Forbes releases their rankings of the top actors in Hollywood based on their box-office value and earnings (along with a list of the most overpaid actors, which is always interesting). This year, Scarlett Johansson tops the list of the highest-grossing actors in Hollywood, followed closely by Marvel co-stars Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr., who tied for second place. What makes Johansson’s ranking even more notable, however, is her earnings — while RDJr. placed ninth on this year’s list of the highest-paid actors with $33 million, Johansson ranked third on the actress list with $25 million.