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47 Ronin director barred from the editing room after the budget balloons to $225 million

Sep. 20, 2012by: Alejandro Stepenberg

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Carl Erik Rinsch, protege of Ridley Scott, was once upon a time meant to direct the project that eventually became PROMETHEUS.  So to all of you out there who loved the film, or even enjoyed it: you may want to kneel down wherever you are and thank the movie gods that Fox convinced Ridley Scott to take the gig, because the word on Rinsch's first feature film experience is not good.

Now I can't judge the man because I'm familiar neither with him nor with the situation - what I can do is make an observation or two in response to what inside sources are saying about his work on 47 RONIN.  And here's what they're saying: while Rinsch "seemed creative and competent" during preproduction on the 3D samurai epic, he "struggled to control the filmmaking process... [and] buckled under the pressure of the ambitious shoot."  The budget, once $175 million, has now "ballooned to $225 million," and Universal co-chairwoman Donna Langley "is now overseeing the editing of the movie instead of the director."  Universal of course denies that the budget has spiraled that high, but even at $175 million the promotional costs and further effects work are going to bump the movie's total cost close to half a billion.

Reportedly Rinsch would have already been outright fired, but Universal wanted to do reshoots that gave more screentime and action to bankable star Keanu Reeves and there's a Director's Guild of America rule that stipulates "if a director completes physical production he must also take part in the reshoots."  But now that the reshoots are done...

There's plenty of time between now and 47 RONIN's oft-delayed release date - at this point the movie's not meant to release until Christmas 2013 - for Universal to tinker around and run whatever damage control they feel is necessary.  In the meantime, what do you think about the situation? Should Universal be criticized for taking Scott's recommendation and gambling on a first-time director? Is an initial budget of $175 million extravagant even for a seasoned director? And do you even want to see 47 RONIN?

47 Ronin cast photo

Reeves and four of his co-stars that Universal seems to consider "not sufficiently bankable enough."  Well, maybe you should have thrown less money at this thing so that you could feel better about giving them their chance in the world market...

Extra Tidbit: The main focus of the reshoot period was to change the final battle sequence - whereas in the initial cut Rinsch put together Reeve's character of Kai was not present at all, the new scene has him face off against a supernatural creature amidst the battle. Universal also added a love scene, close-ups, and individual lines to bolster Reeve's presence.
Source: The Wrap

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6:06PM on 09/20/2012
$225 million for 47 Ronin by Del Toro couldn't get $150 million for At the Mountains of Madness starring Tom Cruise? (Shakes head.)

I'm not going to judge anything until the movie comes out.
$225 million for 47 Ronin by Del Toro couldn't get $150 million for At the Mountains of Madness starring Tom Cruise? (Shakes head.)

I'm not going to judge anything until the movie comes out.
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6:03PM on 09/20/2012

Is that the naked girl from Babel?

I feel like I have to see everything she's in after that. If I didn't, it would be the equivalent of not calling the day after.
I feel like I have to see everything she's in after that. If I didn't, it would be the equivalent of not calling the day after.
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5:53PM on 09/20/2012
So the studio decides to make an epic film based on a classic Japanese story.
Do they
A) Hire a Japanese director who might be honored to bring a famous story from his country to the screen with a huge budget.
B) Hire a Chinese director who might have experience in filming epic swordplay.
or
C) Hire a director with no film credit and likely little feel for the story. Also hire an American to star as a samurai warrior..
And now the studio suits are editing it?
Why do I see a future
So the studio decides to make an epic film based on a classic Japanese story.
Do they
A) Hire a Japanese director who might be honored to bring a famous story from his country to the screen with a huge budget.
B) Hire a Chinese director who might have experience in filming epic swordplay.
or
C) Hire a director with no film credit and likely little feel for the story. Also hire an American to star as a samurai warrior..
And now the studio suits are editing it?
Why do I see a future trailer for it with a rap song in it.
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5:00PM on 09/20/2012
Les Grossman: "Which one of you fuckfaces is Carl Erik Rinsch?"

Rinsch: Ah..that's me, sir. It's good to finally meet you at last, get some face-time.

Grossman: And who here is the Key Grip? You? You....punch that director in the face...really fucking hard!
Les Grossman: "Which one of you fuckfaces is Carl Erik Rinsch?"

Rinsch: Ah..that's me, sir. It's good to finally meet you at last, get some face-time.

Grossman: And who here is the Key Grip? You? You....punch that director in the face...really fucking hard!
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3:53PM on 09/20/2012

I'm STILL excited and interested in this film....

Mostly for the legendary real life story, though I understand that'll change a LOT to give it a fantasy supernatural vibe. And its not a new scenario in case of a big budget movie (Lone Ranger anyone?), the blame lay more on the studio for throwing miillions of dollars to an untested director or a bunch of actors instead of "stars" in the first place, and then gripe about being them not "bankable enough". Although, if that story about Keanu's character not being present at all at the climax in
Mostly for the legendary real life story, though I understand that'll change a LOT to give it a fantasy supernatural vibe. And its not a new scenario in case of a big budget movie (Lone Ranger anyone?), the blame lay more on the studio for throwing miillions of dollars to an untested director or a bunch of actors instead of "stars" in the first place, and then gripe about being them not "bankable enough". Although, if that story about Keanu's character not being present at all at the climax in the original version is true, I'd agree that it was a stupid decision.....Because if you're making a mega-budgeted action movie instead of an artistic samurai movie like 13 ASSASSINS, you SHOULD know that the audience would expect the only superstar to be in the front & center of the final battle. Whatever, christmas 2013 is still a a looong way to go and I'll hope even if only for my favorite Keanu's sake that all these initial damages will be controled for a kickass action epic in the end. It was a REALLY long time since we saw him in a blockbuster.
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10:27AM on 09/20/2012
I really want to see this, but judging from all the problems, I shall forget about it for now. All in all, I don't think it's his fault. I agree with rbevanx.
I really want to see this, but judging from all the problems, I shall forget about it for now. All in all, I don't think it's his fault. I agree with rbevanx.
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9:25AM on 09/20/2012
I think it's unfair to judge the guy.
In my view $175m is a lot for a newcomer and he shouldn't have been placed or considered in that position in the first place.
I think filmmakers should build their way to that sort of budget and they will learn the ropes on a smaller scale and less costly in terms of mistakes.

I think directing a 5 minute short is a very different beast to a 120+ min feature, never mind budget which is technically more in a short but also in narrative.
I think it's unfair to judge the guy.
In my view $175m is a lot for a newcomer and he shouldn't have been placed or considered in that position in the first place.
I think filmmakers should build their way to that sort of budget and they will learn the ropes on a smaller scale and less costly in terms of mistakes.

I think directing a 5 minute short is a very different beast to a 120+ min feature, never mind budget which is technically more in a short but also in narrative.
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9:07AM on 09/20/2012
As a film editor/VFX compositor, I can completely relate to this. One of the main reasons we don't allow writers into the editing room is because they obsess over every detail they've written.
As a film editor/VFX compositor, I can completely relate to this. One of the main reasons we don't allow writers into the editing room is because they obsess over every detail they've written.
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