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

09.20.2012

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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?

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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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