As Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell enters its second weekend in theaters, it has already been deemed a box office bomb, with one report from earlier this week claiming that Paramount may lose between $60 million and $100 million on the movie. The project had been in development for nearly a decade before it hit theaters, and at one point during the development process, Margot Robbie was being eyed to star, before Scarlett Johansson would ultimately take over the role as Major. One of the artists who worked on the movie when Margot Robbie was attached shared some of his artwork, revealing what Margot Robbie would look like as Major.
Artist Jeff Simpson posted three pieces of concept art on Facebook, which show a depiction of Margot Robbie in her “shell” as Major. The artist revealed that he created these pieces in either 2013 or 2014, but it’s likely the latter, since it was first reported that Margot Robbie was eyeing the movie in September 2014. Here’s what the concept artist had to say about his work on Facebook.
“I spent a tiny amount of time doing pre-production work for the new Ghost in the Shell. These were done back in 2013? 2014? When Margot Robbie was gonna be the lead. Only spent a few days on it, but it was fun. Check out Nivanh Chanthara and Maciej Kuciara and Ash Thorp’s work, they did some really cool designs for the film.”
In October 2014, just a month after Margot Robbie was being eyed for the role, Scarlett Johannson was targeted, after talks with Margot Robbie reportedly fell through. That report revealed that Paramount had offered Scarlett Johansson $10 million to star in Ghost in the Shell, although it isn’t clear if the studio made Margot Robbie the same offer. Margot Robbie quickly moved on to Suicide Squad, which, like Ghost in the Shell, wasn’t a big hit with critics, although that movie did fare well at the box office. While Ghost in the Shell opened with an underwhelming $18.6 million debut, Suicide Squad earned $325.1 million domestic and $745.6 million worldwide, from a $175 million budget. Our report from earlier this week claimed that Ghost in the Shell would top out at $200 million worldwide. The production budget was reported at $110 million, but the combined production and publicity budget was reportedly $250 million, and other sources claim that the production budget was actually $180 million.
Even if Margot Robbie did win the role, it may not have changed the outcome for Ghost in the Shell, which was highly criticized for its casting of Scarlett Johansson to play The Major. In the original manga, the lead character was a Japanese female named Major Kusanagi, with Paramount distribution chief Kyle Davies admitting earlier this week that the whitewashing controversy likely did have a negative impact on the lackluster box office take. At any rate, take a look at these new concept art images that show you what Margot Robbie may have looked like as The Major in Ghost in the Shell.