Los Angeles (Reuters) - Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures movie studio has taken unspecified writedowns for its costly Keanu Reeves film "47 Ronin" that opens on Christmas Day, the studio has acknowledged, anticipating its bleak box office prospects.
The film, a fantasy action film about a group of samurai in 18th century Japan, cost $175 million to make, according to people with knowledge of its budget.
It is expected to gross between $17 million and $20 million for the five-day Christmas Day holiday period through Sunday December 29, Hollywood experts have forecast, a particularly weak showing for a big budget film.
"Universal Pictures regularly evaluates its film slate for potential adjustment," said a Universal official. "In the case of '47 Ronin,' we adjusted film costs in previous quarters and as a result our financial performance will not be negatively impacted this quarter by its theatrical performance."
Universal did not disclose the size of the earlier writedowns.
The movie tells the story of a half-Japanese former slave, played by Keanu Reeves, who joins a band of outcast samurai intent on avenging the death of their master and who battle mythic beasts and shape-shifting witches.
"47 Ronin" was initially scheduled for release in November 2012, but was moved to February 2013 for more work on the 3D visual efforts, before it was postponed to Christmas Day.
The film has grossed an estimated $6.2 million in three foreign markets, including Japan and Singapore, Universal said.
Powered by hits "Despicable Me 2" and "Fast & Furious 6," the studio has had a successful 2013 overall, generating $1.4 billion in North American film sales, third behind Warner Brothers and Walt Disney, according to Box Office Mojo.
On December 23, Universal said it had pushed back its car chase movie "Fast & Furious 7" by nine months to April 2015 after co-star Paul Walker died in a car crash.
(Reporting By Ronald Grover; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)