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47 Ronin Loses Director After Re-Shoots

Expensive Fantasy Samurai Action Film Has Problems

While the 3D hype decreased a while ago in the US and cinemagoers favor the 2D variant of a movie, Europe and Asia mostly have no choice between 2D and 3D. In many cases, they get the more expensive format. That leads the US to believe that 3D is a big hit in foreign countries. For Europe, that's not the whole truth, while Asia loves 3D.

Furthermore, the Asian Markets apart from Japan and South Korea (especially China) are so huge by now that Hollywood studios often join local productions just like they do in Europe for some years. Co-productions that are intended to entertain both the Asian and American market (and the international market if the right stars are on board) are nothing new, though. The steadily increasing numbers of cinemagoers in some Asian countries in combination with the lucrative 3D sometimes motivate a Hollywood studio to risk more than they probably should.

One of those cases is the film 47 Ronin by Universal. Set in the 18th century, 47 former Samurai want to avenge the death of their master. While the main cast is formed by Japanese actors, Keanu Reeves also has a role that is supposed to function as a rooting anchor for the Western public. The films budget was initially estimated at 175 million Dollar. Much money on first sight but that can be explained since the film also features fantasy creatures like witches, giants and then some. Even though the story behind all this is a real one, the filmmakers obviously intend to place it more in the fantasy area. It is directed by the unexperienced Carl Erik Rinsch.

According to rumors, Rinsch was quite overwhelmed with the filming process and the budget costs increased considerably if the sources tell the truth. But even then it seemed that the end product was a film that satisfied Universal since they ordered re-shoots that were supposed to give Reeves a more important role within the film. As TheWrap reports, Reeves' character wasn't even in the showdown. The re-shoots are supposed to change that. Now, Reeves is facing a supernatural monster and has some more scenes throughout the film.

Rinsch, the director, was allowed to shoot these scenes (since the Director's Guild demands that) but isn't involved in the post-production. Universal called other people for that. Some sources estimate the total production costs at an eye-popping 225 million Dollars. And that is without the necessary marketing that's gonna be at an additional 100 million for a film of that caliber.

Since Asia doesn't really rely on more scenes with Keanu Reeves, it's currently unclear whether these changes apply to every version or just the Western variant. We remember: Looper also got an own cut in China (without the production issues along the way).

It's unclear as to when the finished 47 Ronin will hit cinemas. Initially planned was a release in November 2012 but then it was pushed back to February 2013 before it was ultimately set for a release on December 25th, 2013. However, insiders believe that this is just a placeholder date until Universal has figured out what to do with the movie. The film surely isn't that suitable for the christmas business. Maybe they think that it isn't a flop as long as it hasn't been released yet so they don't have to justify themselves for the high costs. Especially Universal had a rough time during the last years. Even though they had 1 or 2 big hits, other films tanked and took most of the profit.

Just like this year, the financial disaster with Battleship is surely decreasing the happiness caused by Ted. In 2013, Fast & Furious 6 is the probable moneymaker while 47 Ronin has the potential to be the exact opposite. Therefore, it's quite likely that they'll push it to 2014, even though they don't want to admit it yet.

Release: Sep 26, 2012 - Author: Doc Idaho - Translator: Mike Lowrey

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