Carl Rinsch Pulled From 47 RONIN And Other Troubling News

Associate Editor, News; Toronto, Canada (@Mack_SAnarchy)
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Carl Rinsch Pulled From 47 RONIN And Other Troubling News

Troubling news has emerged from those close to the production of 47 Ronin. Sources have told that Universal Pictures has seized control of the film and director Carl Rinsch has been pulled from the project now that shooting has been completed. The editing of the film has been handed over to Universal co-chairwoman Donna Langley, who will oversee the completion of the film. The report also suggests that the budget for the film has blown past its $175 million projection to $225 million - largely due to reshoots and costs associated with post production. A Universal executive has denied the budget explosion and that the production has exceeded $175 million.

Reshoots took place in London so that Keanu Reeves' character, Kai, could feature more prominently in the climactic battle - which didn't originally feature him at all. These new scenes apparently pit Kai against a supernatural creature. The studio also added additional lines and a love scene to boost Reeves' presence in the film.  Damage control on the production has also included shrinking the post-production staff and only doing visual effects for what the studio knows will make the cut. So don't expect a lot of extras on the home video release.

If the budget has indeed blown past its original projection then The Wrap figures the production will have to pull in at least $500 million to cover its production and marketing budget just to break even. 47 Ronin will need an amazing run at the global box office in order to do this. In comparison, another film of this ilk, The Last Samurai, made just under half a billion dollars globally when it was released in 2003. Only $111 million+ of that was domestic. Adjusting for 2012, 47 Ronin is going to have to do near $150 million domestically, with a lower profile lead, and make up the rest overseas. But that is just the numbers game and while it is a big deal to the studio there are other disconcerting facts emerging about this film.

Who gives a first-time feature director a budget of $175 million? That's just silly. The report suggests that Rinsch simply couldn't maintain control of the large production, and for that we feel bad for the guy. We've been praising the smaller works of Rinsch for some time and we're still excited about his prospects as a feature film director. Perhaps he should have eased into feature films on smaller productions and proven himself there. You know what happens to the kid who gets the keys to the BMW when he first gets his license? He smashes the fuck out of it.

Fans of the original films also have more to gripe about with this inclusion of a 'supernatural creature' that Reeves' character will apparently fight at the end of the film. If this holds true it is a complete slap in the face to fans of Japanese Chambara Cinema and the original 47 Ronin films, however small a number we may be.

Clearly the studio doesn't give a rat's arse about how the nation of Japan will feel about this defacing of a national legend. But I can give you a hint how much this could hurt if the Japanese do not like this turn of events. For this I have to go back to The Last Samurai and the box office numbers again. A third of that film's global box office tally came from Japan. Of the $345 million+ the film pulled in from around the world, Japan ponied up nearly $120 million. The next country behind them was Spain with $23 million. Well done Universal. You're about to alienate potentially a third of your global box office take for this film. 

47 Ronin is clearly a production in peril. The film release date has already been pushed back twice, from this November to February 2013, then to next December. Universal Pictures has given themselves a full year to recover from this mess.

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More about 47 Ronin

HutchSeptember 20, 2012 4:17 PM

Well they certainly made a smart move to release it against the second Hobbit movie next year. It'll def. make it's money back. So smooth....

whateverSeptember 20, 2012 5:08 PM

I love it when gaijin speak for the "entire nation of Japan". Please tell us more, Round Eye! Your cultural appropriation isn't quite racist enough. Pour it on more! Tell us more about how the entire nation of Japan stopped liking supernatural elements in their films ... which must have happened in the last 5 minutes. The Hello Kitty Ronin phenom must have also passed your notice. Such a slap in the face... of Round Eye gaijin wannabes.

QinlongSeptember 20, 2012 6:48 PM

Wow cool down, he merely made an educated guess about the kind of reception this film might get in Japan. There's more racism in the word 'gaijin' you use, however ironically, than in this entire article.

Andrew MackSeptember 20, 2012 9:38 PM

You think the majority will be okay with the addition of this 'supernatural creature' to the story of the 47 Ronin? I think there is a time and a place for 'supernatural creatures', and Japanese cinema certainly will never run dry of them, but the story of the 47 Ronin ain't it.
Thanks for the 'D' Qinlong but there are worse words than Gaijin so I'm okay with it.

hutchSeptember 20, 2012 10:22 PM

What's racist is to think Asians want to see another heroic Westerner best them at their own culture.

hutchSeptember 20, 2012 10:26 PM

I'm pretty sure this article was the opposite of racist. The author clearly thinks Japan on the whole would like to see one of their most famous cultural stories respected. Apparently 'whatever' thinks it's not racist to change the well known story to make the Westerner much more heroic than the actual Asians.

Hiroaki JohnsonSeptember 21, 2012 8:25 AM

It's possible for sure... But I'm going to put my money on quality dictating it's box office draw over the offensiveness of supernatural elements personally. My impression of this was that it kind of already existed in a Tai Chi 0 sort of alternate fantasy world. I think there will be some conservative nationalists that will freak out, such as the mayor of Tokyo, but in the last 10 or so years there have been a bunch of heightened takes on historical events or classical stories. Granted outside of Gojoe it's mostly been anime, but this seems aimed at a younger audience anyway. Sad that it sounds like it completely spun out.

ShaolinWolfSeptember 21, 2012 10:13 AM

Well, actually, Fukasaku's version of the 47 Ronin (the Crest of Betrayal) incorporated elements from The Ghost Story of Yotsuya, and they also featured prominently during the final battle. So the whole supernatural angle for the 47 Ronin has been done before, but I do agree that Keanu fighting a "supernatural creature" is a bit disconcerting. Keanu vs Godzilla, anyone?

Chase RodgersSeptember 21, 2012 5:10 PM

slap in the face to the 5 films of before? really.. the whole supernatural bs would be a slap in the face to the whole historical value of the movie and story and legend of the 47 ronin. I always wanted this movie to be made with a big budget cause it couldve been like a Crouching tiger Hidden Dragon. Then when i heard it was being made i was excited even with keanu (he is half asian at least lol) but then i was Immediately turned away by a movie like this being in 3d. but they have complete ruined it all together now by adding the supernatural bullshit , the studio just kicked all the 47ronin in the dick in their graves. they should just take there loss on it and can it. This movie has the whole battleship feel now

I dont understand why the studios wanna put almost all movies these days in 3d. kinda ruins the film to movie

RAWRSeptember 23, 2012 2:52 AM

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon only had a budget of 17 million. This movie has more than 10x its budget.

Piper EllieSeptember 27, 2012 2:40 PM

I'm certain Keanu Reeves' fans are willing to do their part in hitting that target. Really want to see the film finished and rolled out Hollywood style.