Hollywood screenwriter Max Landis has come under fire for seemingly defending decisions to cast Scarlett Johansson as the lead in the live action version of The Ghost in the Shell. He explains that the film would never get green lit had they cast an 'unknown Asian'. But hasn't it occurred to them to not make the film at all if they can't with an Asian lead? Rather than change the race of yet another character to white. This follows controversy at the casting from 'Exodus Gods and Kings' where Christian Bale was cast as Egyptian and Pan where Rooney Mara was cast as Tiger Lily.
Aside from the damage to its corporate soul, what if for every extra dollar casting Johansson pulls in at the box office, the studio loses two or three from all the negative publicity surrounding her casting? This is, after all, pretty much what happened to the JM Barrie prequel Pan, which is estimated to have lost Warner Bros $150m last year, and Gods of Egypt, which proved 2016’s first major box office turkey in February. Other examples of the disastrous financial effects of whitewashing include Cameron Crowe’s ill-fated Aloha, which failed to recoup its budget after casting Emma Stone as an ethnically mixed Hawaiian, and The Lone Ranger, which reportedly saw Disney write off $190m in 2013 after the studio decided Johnny Depp would make a great Tonto.