47 Ronin

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  • Directed By: Carl Rinsch
  • Written By: Chris Morgan, Hossein Amini
  • Release Date: December 25, 2013
  • Domestic Distributor: Universal
  • Cast: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki

Box Office Info:
Budget: $175 millionFinanced by: Universal; Elliot Inc.
Domestic Box Office: $38,362,475Overseas Box Office: $113,354,340


The budget for 47 Ronin was $175 million and Universal and Elliot Inc.’s mega-budget samurai picture ended as a $175 million write down, losing all but the marketing spend for one of the biggest flops of all time.  47 Ronin was a troubled production that was originally scheduled for release on November 21, 2012.  The picture was then delayed until February 8, 2013 and then delayed again because of a late ill fated decision to add 3D and additional reshoots, which sent its budget into the stratosphere.  Budget estimates go as high as $225 million, though Universal insists its closer to $175 million.  First time director Carl Rinsch was canned during post production and a slew of editors tried their hand at salvaging the film.

Between the cost of mounting this movie and an expensive global P&A spend, the movie would have to pull in unrealistic numbers just to break even.  47 Ronin was a classic example of a creative misfire that the studio continually throws more money at to fix, instead of cutting their losses.  Instead of being just a lousy big budget movie, they turned this beast into one of the most expensive lousy movies.

The film’s rollout began in Japan and did poorly with a $1,022,721 opening weekend and closed with under $3 million, but while that stirred a lot of negative buzz about a samurai film tanking in Japan, their market is not very welcoming to foreign films, as they have a strong local market of movies.  More troubling was the mediocre to poor numbers 47 Ronin posted everywhere else, with the exception of a strong $26,058,135 gross from Russia.  47 Ronin pulled in $113.3 million overseas.

47 Ronin opened in the US over a crowded christmas frame and bowed against The Wolf of Wall Street, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Believe and Grudge Match.  47 Ronin was tracking very poorly and received awful reviews.  It pulled in a troubling $9,910,310 and placed #9 for the weekend.  47 Ronin fell 49% in its second weekend over the New Years’ frame to $5,057,215 and sank 67.5% in its third weekend to $1,644,310 and promptly lost most of its theater count.  The domestic run closed with $38,362,475.

The worldwide total was $151.6 million, returning about $83.3 million to Universal after theaters take their percentage of the gross — covering most of the P&A expenses, but leaving a giant red gap of $175 million.

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