Anime fans will soon have the chance to see Mamoru Oshii's 1995 classic "Ghost in the Shell" in theaters just weeks ahead of the scheduled release of the controversial live-action remake of the film starring Scarlett Johansson.
Lionsgate and Funimation Films announced earlier this week that the film will be shown in 110 theaters across the United States on Feb. 7 and 8. The movie tells the story of Major Motoko Kusanagi, a public security team leader who is determined to catch a mysterious hacker known as the Puppet Master.
The rerelease comes after months of discussion about the "whitewashing" of the cast of the upcoming remake, which is scheduled to be released on March 31. After it was announced that Johansson would be playing Kusanagi, more than 100,000 fans signed a petition calling on DreamWorks to reconsider the decision and cast an actor of Asian descent instead.
The original film's producers made no mention of the controversy in their statement announcing the rerelease, instead focusing on the film's place in anime history. "'Ghost in the Shell' is truly a seminal work in anime cinema and it helped firmly establish a market for the genre with U.S. movie audiences," Gen Fukunaga, the CEO of Funimation Films, said in a statement.