Don't rule out Keanu Reeves in '47 Ronin' just yet

Why '47 Ronin' has potential

Universal's epic '47 Ronin' starring Keanu Reeves and top Japanese actors has earned $1.3 million so far in Japan after a weak opening, but there's reason for optimism.

Despite the negative outlook on the film's potential earnings in the US when it comes out on December 25th, we shouldn't simply look at Japanese box office figures and make predictions based on one market.

'47 Ronin' is based on one of Japan's most famous tales however it is produced by an American production company and stars Keanu Reeves who is clearly not Japanese. This alone is a big turnoff for Japanese audiences who may see this as un-original or unauthentic. It's an English movie, in a Japanese market, that is notoriously difficult to penetrate and it's likely we are not seeing a good global picture of this film's performance from just a single territory.

The debate about '47 Ronin' started over a year ago. We've seen some big early interest in this film, but there's a lot going on leading up to christmas and there has been some recent lost momentum.

Despite this, an early indicator for the film's US success is the trailer, which was released back in July and received over 7.5 million views. Of course there are plenty of other trailers on Youtube for '47 Ronin' but this example is just one of the positives.

So far, the film has a 6.9 rating on IMDB. That's not terrible. In fact, it's too early to really predict what audiences think about it, so we can't assume its bad. If it had been these ratings would be hovering around 4 just to start.

Another positive for this film is the Keanu Reeves fan base. This action epic puts us back into Matrix territory. It's new, it's visceral, and American audiences love that karate type action adventure.

47 Ronin features spectacular CGI

If we go back a decade, and look at how Warner Bros conquered the box office with 'The Last Samurai', it shows that a Japanese story adapted for American audiences can work. The film grossed $456 million worldwide and was a huge hit.

Some have predicted this film will tank and get no more than $10 million opening. Could this be one of 2013's most underestimated movies? Let's see what happens.

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