After losing money on their big gamble of Battleship, Universal Pictures is reportedly struggling again with another major tentpole. It was fairly obvious things weren’t going well for the samurai epic 47 Ronin when the project was set to come out in just a few months, but then was delayed to February and now recently pushed all the way to December 25th, 2013. But as always, the story is much bigger than just a few release date switches and The Wrap has now uncovered a wealth of new details on the production process, so let’s dive in.

Directed by first-timer and commercial helmer Carl Rinsch, the only major Hollywood actor leading his film that follows a group of warriors is Keanu Reeves. Reportedly the budget has now gotten up to $225 million and due to projected marketing costs, the studio will now need around $500 million to just break even on the project. In an effort to achieve this, Universal co-chairwoman Donna Langley has taken over post-production from Rinsch on the film which has been described as going through a “nightmare” production process.

The director just came off some reshoots in London with the key goal to make Reeves’ presence much bigger in the film. Before we get into the details, one ponders why their only major star, an international box office draw, wasn’t prominent from the get go, but lets move on. These new sequences would give Reeves much more impact in a finale in which he wasn’t there to begin with. Thanks to these reshoots, not only were “key close-ups” and new individual lines from Reeves captured, but his character Kai is now back in the last major battle scene fighting a supernature creature.

Rinsch had been trying to get his first feature off the ground for quite some time, but it’s sad to see the direction its headed. The studio reportedly was not pleased with early cuts of the film and the director himself, while showing promise in the pre-production aspect, “buckled” during the extensive shoot. This caused the studio to come in and take over, but they could not fire him when it came time for reshoots due to DGA rules. Regardless, hopefully things still come together and as we have learned, after some similar reported post-productions problems with Dredd, that turned out to be surprisingly positive. Reeves has proven time and time again that he’s an international draw and with the added 3D perhaps this one will simply hang on to the foreign market not unlike Battleship or John Carter.

What do you make of the 47 Ronin struggles?

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