The box office failure of Ghost in the Shell had nothing to do with Scarlet Johansson as the lead. Anyone that watched/read GitS understood that the ethnicity of the Major’s “shell” was inconsequential. No, it’s failure comes from the fact that animation (east AND west) is notoriously difficult to adapt to live action. And the fact they tried to adapt from the MOVIE of GitS. Which, in reality was not a good film.
Had they not focused on the Major, done a proper detective plot with section 9 and featured the Tachikoma’s. I think it would have done a lot better.
Full disclaimer: No I haven’t seen the film, I really don’t want to since the trailers make it look wholly unappealing.