It seems that Universal’s Japanese epic 47 Ronin is in trouble. According to The Wrap, the studio has pulled director Carl Rinsch from the editing room and placed Universal co-chairwoman Donna Langley in charge. Individuals close to the project say the film has gone over-budget and described the production process as a “nightmare.”
Set to star The Matrix trilogy’s Keanu Reeves with a mainly-Japanese cast, 47 Ronin tells the story of a group of 18th century warriors seeking vengeance upon the treacherous overlord who killed their master. Reeves’ starring role as the character Kai in the film will be his first lead role in a tent-pole production in years.
An individual close to the film described the production process as a “nightmare” and said Rinsch, a television commercial veteran who had never directed a feature film before, buckled under the pressure. Previously, Universal was unable to fire Rinsch as the Director’s Guild of America requires that a director who has completed primary production on a project must also take the lead on the production’s reshoots.
Those reshoots were recently completed in London and reportedly served to put the film’s focus back on Reeves’ character, Kai, who the studio felt was marginalized. In fact, Reeves’ character was not supposed to be present in the film’s final battle scene at all, whereas in the new scene he will reportedly fight a supernatural creature.
Originally budgeted at $175 million, the film’s production costs have apparently grown to $225 million. That doesn’t include the millions more that the studio will have to spend marketing the film. A Universal executive denied the claim and stated that, despite the need for reshoots, the film has not surpassed its original operating budget.
Damage control? Maybe.
I’m usually hesitant whenever reports come from an unnamed individual, but there’s a ring of truth here. The film’s release has already been delayed several times and so far the only news that has come our way has been bad news. It’s a shame too because I was really looking forward to this film.
Is 47 Ronin a blockbuster bomb in the making? Let us know what you think in the comments below.