Keanu Reeves’ '47 Ronin’ Debuts at No. 5 at Japanese Box Office (Video)

Universal's samurai action fantasy finishes behind four local films with $1.3 million opening

Universal’s Keanu Reeves action fantasy epic “47 Ronin” made its debut in Japan over the weekend, and took in $1.3 million from 333 locations.

The debut by “47 Ronin” topped two other U.S. movies in their second week in the marketplace, “Captain Phillips” and “Red 2,” but Monday's final figurs put it behind four Japanese movies.

Most analysts believe it will struggle to find its footing in the crowded holiday marketplace in the U.S., but given its subject matter and Japanese stars Rinko Kiuchi, Tadanobu Asano and Hiroyuki Sanada, it was seen as having  potential to score in Asia. The U.S. release date was shifted from November of 2012 to February 8, 2013, and then again to Christmas Day, 2013.

Also read: ‘Frozen’ Skates Past ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ at Box Office

Directed by Carl Erik Rinsch, “47 Ronin” is a fictional account of the tale of 47 samurai in 18th-century Japan who avenge the murder of their master. The story – commonly referred to as Chusingura in Japan — is extremely popular in that country and has inspired numerous plays, books and film production.

The rollout of the $170 million epic, which began filming in 2011, has been a long time coming. Filming started in Budapest in March 2011; it moved to Shepperton Studios in London and was concluded in Japan.

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The film opens next in Singapore (Dec. 19), Malaysia (Dec. 19) and Indonesia (Dec. 20), with 15 more territories opening the last weekend of 2013, including the U.K. and Spain.

Overall this weekend, overseaswas dominated by “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Frozen,” as was the U.S. box office.

Lionsgate’s Jennifer Lawrence sequel brought in $44.3 million from 84 foreign markets to raise its international total to $336 million and its worldwide haul to $673 million. Disney Animation’s 3D family film took in $30.6 million from 24 territories to up its overall overseas total to nearly $60 million and its global haul to more than $190 million.

  • PNK

    Just saw a trailer on tv, it looks kinda good. Is that Gong Li in it? Sounds like her. And a good dude from ‘Last Samurai’ also featured in the trailer. One other woman who looked like one of the cast from ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ (in addition to Gong Li).

    Anyway, after I see ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ on Christmas, maybe I'll check out Keanu – he is lookin’ good!

  • Piper Ellie

    We can't wait for 47 Ronin!

  • David Ehrenstein

    “The Loyal 47 Ronin” is one of the oldest and most frequently told Japanese historical sagas. There are at least 3 silent versions. I don't have an actual count of the sound versions but they are numerous. The best known in the west is Inagaki's “Chushingura” During the war Mizoguchi was ORDERED to make a film of it as its story is is the essence of Japanese nationalism. Mizoguchi made it in two parts. Beautiful but cold as ice. Not spring as he didn't want to make it at all.zu was also ORDERED to make one but he talked the govenment out of it, arguing that it had nothing to do with is filmmaking style (to put it mildly) so they let him make “There Was A Father” instead. My guess is that today's Japan has no interest in a warhorse like “The Loyal 47 Ronin” in any form — even with Keanu.

  • gustave154

    Sucks for keanu.. No support from japan for a film based on a japanese story smh

  • Dee

    he's kind of a cardboard actor. good thing there are bright costumes.