Los Angeles Times (US), August 15, 2012
Keanu Reeves' '47 Ronin' delayed for second time -- to Christmas 2013
by Ben Fritz
Universal Pictures' troubled big-budget film "47 Ronin," starring Keanu Reeves, has been delayed for a second time. It is now scheduled to come out on Dec. 25, 2013.
Originally set for Nov. 21 of this year, "Ronin" in April was pushed to Feb. 8, 2013, to allow time for reshoots and work on its extensive 3-D visual effects, which have not yet begun.
The movie, which stars Reeves along with an all-Japanese cast, is a retelling of the classic myth of a group of samurai who avenge the death of their master.
It has been beset with production problems, including conflicts between director Carl Rinsch and the studio. As a result, the first-time feature director, who made his mark with commercials and music videos, is being tightly monitored by the studio in the post-production process and the reshoot planning, according to a person close to the picture but not authorized to speak about it publicly.
The reshoots, scheduled to take place in London in late August and early September, are to focus on a key scene late in the film. The new version is to make the scene more about Reeves' lead character and less about the samurai ensemble.
Universal had hoped to begin reshoots earlier, but Reeves has been working on his directorial debut, "Man of Tai Chi," in China. In addition, the studio had to do the reshoots in either London or Budapest, Hungary, in order to preserve tax credits. Locations in Budapest were not available, and London locations were not available for a few more weeks due to the Olympic Games.
Though it would still be possible to deliver the reconfigured "47 Ronin" by Feb. 8, delays in editing mean that the bulk of the film's visual-effects work has not yet begun, the knowledgeable person said.
In order to begin promoting a Feb. 8 release, Universal would have to debut a trailer very soon. But Universal's marketing team does not yet have finished material that demonstrates the look of the picture.
The Christmas 2013 date would give the studio plenty of time to begin marketing, possibly with a teaser trailer on this Christmas' 3-D holiday releases "The Life of Pi" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."
Originally expected to cost $170 million, the sprawling samurai epic, which insiders have described as a cross between "300" and "Lord of the Rings," has seen its budget rise due to the delays. However, the knowledgeable person said the final budget should still be less than $200 million.
"47 Ronin" is one of seven high-profile pictures originally scheduled to come out this year that have been delayed. The others are "World War Z," which is also planning reshoots for this fall, along with"G.I. Joe: Retaliation,""Jack and the Giant Killer," "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters," "The Great Gatsby" and "Gangster Squad."
Universal now plans to use the Feb. 8, 2013, date to open the Jason Bateman/Melissa McCarthy comedy "Identity Thief," originally scheduled to open next May.
In addition, the studio said it is pushing up its 3-D re-release of "Jurassic Park" from July 19 of next year to April 5.
The Ryan Reynolds action film "R.I.P.D." is now to come out July 19, while the sequel "Kick Ass 2," is to take "R.I.P.D.'s" old date of June 28.