It should’ve been one of 2012′s big hits. Instead, Keanu’s samurai epic is still sitting on the shelf.
Samurais. Monsters. Keanu Reeves. What more do you want in a movie? 47 Ronin promises all of these things. A movie adaptation of a Japanese legend about a group of samurai warriors who set out to avenge the death of their master, 47 Ronin also includes fantasy elements in a manner similar to 300. Historical accuracy be damned.
47 Ronin was originally penned for a November 2012 release, but has been delayed twice
The movie stars Keanu Reeves as Kai (a half-British, half-Japanese character created specifically for the film) and is the directorial debut of Carl Rinsch, a commercials director knowns for ads involving robotic women secreting beer. 47 Ronin was originally penned for a November 2012 release, but has been delayed twice – it’s now due to be released this Christmas. Production has been troubled, to put it lightly, with The Hollywood Reporter saying from the start that trusting a first-timer with such a huge project was a risky move. Keanu, why hast thou forsaken us?
Apparently, it is Keanu who has been forsaken. In an error that seems to defy logic, director Rinsch shot a rough cut of the movie where the main character was not the focus of the story. The finale even failed to capture Keanu’s involvement in the climactic battle at all (poor treatment for a man who has saved the world so many times). Rinsch also chose to shoot the movie twice, essentially, filming scenes in Japanese first, English second.
Unhappy with the product, Universal Studios took over post-production
Unhappy with the product, Universal Studios took over post-production of the movie and went ahead with re-shoots to include extra scenes highlighting Keanu Reeves’s Kai as the protagonist, including an all-important love scene. How can we know he’s the hero if we don’t see him bed the attractive female lead? (Heres hoping it doesn’t involve rave music).
The whole process has been lengthy and costly, resulting in the film’s release being pushed back a year and the budget being wildly overshot. The original budget was $175 million; reports suggest that the film’s cost has now gone up to $225 million, though Universal refutes these claims, insisting the film is still on budget. However, it seems that 47 Ronin will need to take at least $500 million at the box office to break even. This is dependent on a film about Keanu Reeves in ancient Japan fighting monsters and having sex in 3D becoming a Christmas hit. Watch this space.
Featured image: Bluegrass Films