Netflix has made sequels to their own films, but perhaps for the first time, they’re making a sequel to another studio’s movie. Not only that, a movie that’s not particularly good, 47 Ronin. The Keanu Reeves-led samurai epic was a disaster when it came out with bad reviews, a troubled production, costly reshoots, and audiences around the globe failed to show up for it. Now, surprisingly, Netflix is making a 47 Ronin sequel.
The Surprising Sequel
Ron Yuan, who stars in Disney’s live-action Mulan, is directing the upcoming sequel. It’s not a fantasy film set in the past, however, but a futuristic samurai tale. Honestly, it sounds so different, why not make a cyberpunk samurai movie set in the future that isn’t a 47 Ronin sequel? Whatever the case, Universal 1440 is producing the movie, which Netflix will distribute. In a statement, Yuan expressed his excitement:
“I’m incredibly excited to be working with Universal and the producing team on this genre-blending, martial arts, action, horror and cyber-punk film. This will be a fun, intense, supercharged thrill ride for viewers globally.”
Forgetting that it’s a sequel for a second, that description does sound rather cool. A samurai movie in the future featuring action and horror? Sounds good to us.
A Refresher on 47 Ronin
47 Ronin faced serious troubles before it reached theaters with reported tension between Universal and the movie’s director, Carl Rinsch. Rinsch was making his directorial debut with the very expensive fantasy film, and the very talented commercial director has yet to make a film ever since. Starring Keanu Reeves, 47 Ronin set the famous tale in a world of fantasy with monsters and witches. On paper, it sounded like good nerdy fun, but in execution, it was pretty to the eyes and not much else. With a budget of around $200 million, the action movie made only $151 globally.
You Never Know
The 47 Ronin sequel will begin shooting early next year if all goes according to plan. In the past, Universal has made surprising direct-to-video sequels to some of their hits, like a Jarhead 2 or Backdraft 2. The recognizable titles are enough to sell copies. Why Universal teamed up with Netflix instead of direct-to-video is a question, so why Netflix? What got them interested? Hopefully, a cool vision, which it sounds like Yuan has for the movie. You never know. We rarely see great sequels to bad movies, but stranger things have happened.
Netflix’s Action Movies
Netflix is producing more and more action movies these days. They’re attempting to release more event movies, more action movies. They’ve had big success lately with the likes of The Old Guard and Extraction. Both have been gigantic hits for the streaming giant. Perhaps Netflix sees the 47 Ronin sequel as another potential event, as opposed to one of the many movies they quietly release and borderline hide in their library.
The studio recently took a big step by investing the most money they ever have in an action movie from the duo behind Avengers: Endgame, Joe and Anthony Russo. Netflix wants them to produce for them what could be their very own James Bond-esque franchise, starring Ryan Gosling. It’s the most expensive movie Netflix has produced thus far, which is saying something since they spent around $200 million on The Irishman. They also have a Ryan Reynolds–Dwayne Johnson action picture coming out next year, too, which didn’t come cheap. Netflix seemingly spends money faster than they make it, especially on movies that they don’t seem too invested in, but hopefully, the 47 Ronin sequel will turn out to be a gem in the streaming giant’s library.