This weekend, Keanu Reeves’ samurai adventure film 47 Ronin opened first in Japan…but not in first place. The movie, which cost Universal around $175 million (before marketing) to make, only grossed $1.3 million at theaters, putting it in 3rd place in the overall Japanese box office ranking.
Over the last decade, Japan has become a tough market for US films to crack, where even super heroes like Batman and The Avengers struggle to sell tickets, but the 47 Ronin seemed like it might have had a fighting chance given the movie’s subject matter (it is based on Chushingura, one of Japan’s best known, most loved tales of samurai folklore) and that the fact that the film is packed with Japanese stars like Rinko Kikuchi (Pacific Rim), Hiroyuki Sanada (Lost), and Jin "Yellow Gold" Akanishi. It’s not clear why audiences stayed away: could it be that they have their own samurai movies????
As it stands, the pic’s dismal opening in Japan does not bode well for 47 Ronin’s upcoming Christmas Day opening in America. Industry paper Variety hints at all but predicting a disappointing take in the US, too. Now all that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie! Some people though Titanic would be a bomb, too. But at least we know what to get Keanu Reeves for Christmas: your butt in a theater seat, or some comfort food as seen below.