Keanu Reeves' '47 Ronin' delayed until 2013
Originally scheduled to come out Nov. 21, "47 Ronin," which stars Keanu Reeves, will instead come out Feb. 8, 2013, according to two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak about it publicly.
Universal executives were concerned they would not have a trailer ready to show this summer, when theaters are packed with audiences watching similar event movies.
Originally budgeted at about $175 million, the cost of "47 Ronin" may rise as additional footage is shot and other changes are made, according to a person close to the production who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. While rumors are swirling in Hollywood that the movie's budget has risen to more than $200 million, the person close to the production denied that.
In a year full of enormous risks for Universal including "Battleship" and "Snow White and the Huntsman," "47 Ronin" has stood out as one of the biggest gambles. Shot in 3-D by Carl Rinsch, an accomplished music video and commercial director who had never made a studio feature film, it features an entirely Japanese cast surrounding Reeves, who has not starred in a blockbuster hit since the "Matrix" trilogy nearly a decade ago.
"47 Ronin" is a new version of a Japanese legend about a group of samurai who avenge the death of their master and then commit ritual suicide.
It was to be Universal's biggest release of the holiday season. Instead, the studio now will have no movies opening in theaters between "The Bourne Legacy" on Aug. 3 and "Les Miserables" on Dec. 14.
The only other picture scheduled to debut against "Ronin" next February is Relativity Media's "Safe Haven," an adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel. The second weekend of February was a huge one for Hollywood this year, with "The Vow," "Safe House," "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" and the 3-D version of "Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace" all opening successfully.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: From left, co-stars Rinko Kikuchi, Tadanobu Asano, Hiroyuki Sanada, Keanu Reeves, Kou Shibasaki and director Carl Rinsch. Credit: Charlie Gray / Universal