'Ghost in the Shell' Anime Film Returning to Theaters

'Ghost in the Shell' (Lionsgate/Funimation)
‘Ghost in the Shell’ (Lionsgate/Funimation)

By Ashley Lee, The Hollywood Reporter

Ahead of the live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, the original 1995 anime film is returning to theaters.

Lionsgate and Funimation Films are partnering to release the Mamoru Oshii title in 110 theaters in the U.S. for two days only: Feb. 7 and 8. The first day will feature screenings of the original Japanese version with English subtitles, while the second day will offer the English dub of the film.

Lionsgate will also release a new, deluxe collector’s edition of the remastered original on Blu-Ray with Digital HD on March 7.

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Set in 2029, the initial Ghost in the Shell centers on a female cybernetic government agent, Major Motoko Kusanagi, and the Internal Bureau of Investigations who are on the hunt for “The Puppet Master,” a mysterious and threatening computer virus capable of infiltrating human hosts.

The special releases come ahead of Paramount’s reimagining of the title, which stars Scarlett Johansson as the franchise’s cyborg policewoman (who was renamed The Major from the original Motoko Kusanagi, after the whitewashing criticism of the casting). Takeshi Kitano also stars in the Rupert Sanders action flick, which hits theaters March 31.

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“We’re excited to be partnering with Lionsgate to bring the original Ghost in the Shell movie back to U.S. theaters,” said Gen Fukunaga, CEO and founder, Funimation. “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.”

Ghost in the Shell is an iconic property and it is great that fans will be able to watch it on the big screen for the first time in 20 years,’ said Kevin Carney, VP marketing, Lionsgate. “Many fans will be seeing the movie in a theater for the first time and Funimation has been a terrific partner to help make this possible.”