Carl Rinsch is the latest commercial helmer to have been entrusted with a big-budget studio production - the 3D Samurai epic 47 Ronin, starring Keanu Reeves - following in the footsteps of Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy). The former is a protegé of Ridley Scott who was going to helm the Alien prequel (before Scott turned it into Prometheus) and was onboard to direct a Logan's Run remake, before he abandoned that project in favor of Reeves' Japanese blockbuster instead.
Reports emerged last week claiming that Rinsch's term serving as the director on 47 Ronin was a rough one, so much that Universal pulled him off the project once reshoots were complete. However, we're now getting conflicting reports stating that Rinsch remains actively involved with post-production on the film.
It became apparent that 47 Ronin was having problems when Universal pushed the film back from an originally-planned November launch date to a not-encouraging February release. The studio delayed it once again a few months later, setting the Reeves vehicle to debut during the competitive (but more-promising) Winter Holiday Season in 2013. Nonetheless, the question remains: was that move a sign of increased confidence, or meant to allow more time for Universal to salvage the project?
The latest from Deadline indicates the answer may, in fact, be 'both.' Rinsch, according to the site, has not been kicked out of the editing room on 47 Ronin, but has been working closely alongside Universal for the past week. Moreover, "studio sources" are asserting the film's budget will not cross $200 million, despite last week's report that the cost has already ballooned past $225 million. As the article puts it:
"[Universal] has taken a more active hand in [editing], which is unusual for that particular studio but hardly unheard of with a first-time director who doesn’t have final cut. Rinsch... has opinions as strong as his visual sense. That doesn’t endear one to the crew, which is probably how these rumors get started. He’s new to the game of mounting a huge film and the studio has every right to protect an investment that is at least a $175 million 3D film..."
Now, it's no secret that big-budget studio fare isn't always fun to make (see José Padilha's struggle with the RoboCop remake, for proof of that). Dredd 3D, however, is an excellent example of a film that endured what was rumored to be a terse post-production, but has become a critical favorite - though, weak box office makes that a silver lining - and Deadline points out last year's critical and financial hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes as another "rumored tough shoot."
47 Ronin, in other words, is neither doomed to become another costly flop, nor is it guaranteed to prove lucrative enough for Universal to make its investment back. Production woes aside, though, there are enough parallels between 47 Ronin and Snow White - both are Universal projects helmed by a commercial director, with a script co-written by Hossein Amini - to suggest Rinsch's film, like Sander's, might just end up occupying that frustrating middle-ground (in terms of quality).
How about it - do you think 47 Ronin will or won't prove to be worth all the fuss?