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Keanu Reeves' Biggest Box Office Bomb Isn't What You'd Think

Ever since 1999's "The Matrix" — and arguably even before that — Keanu Reeves has been a household name. Neo is, of course, an iconic character, but in recent years, Reeves's pop culture imprint has only grown, thanks to the popularity of the "John Wick" series, to say nothing of Reeves becoming a social media staple, as countless fans either share memes about him, gush over his looks, or reminisce about their favorite Keanu Reeves roles. 

On that note, Reeves has starred in quite a long list of major studio projects over the years, with varying levels of success. "The Matrix" series is undoubtedly some of his most successful work, with it being considered a science fiction classic, but he has also starred as a demon-hunting, DC Comics exorcist in "Constantine," and voiced the stunt motorcyclist action figure Duke Caboom in "Toy Story 4." He has been equally unafraid to lend his acting chops to non-blockbusters, resulting in some great performances in films that flew under the radar, such as playing Dr. Beckham in 2017's "To the Bone." He also voiced Johnny Silverhand in "Cyberpunk 2077" a 2020 video game that was met with mixed reviews (per PC Games). 

With such a long and winding filmography, Reeves' biggest box office bomb might surprise you.

47 Ronin didn't do so well at box offices

Keanu Reeves' biggest box office bomb is 2013's "47 Ronin." This action, fantasy combo was set in feudal Japan and follows the story of Kai (Reeves) a half-blood outcast who is taken in by Lord Asano (Min Tanaka). Devoting loyalty to Asano, Kai is horrified when Asano is killed in an act of treason by Shogun Tsunayoshi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) –- the ruler of a nearby province. This leaves Kai and Asano's samurai as ronin, or masterless samurai. However, among them is a tengu fighter who together helps them seek justice for the slaying of their master Lord Asano. 

So, on paper, the film sounds like it had all the ingredients to be an action-packed, box office smash. Unfortunately, "47 Ronin" wasn't exactly a hit, to say the least. During its opening weekend in the US and Canada, the film only brought in around 9 million compared to its 175 million estimated budget. Even more unfortunate, the film never gained back its budget, making 151 million gross worldwide (per Box Office Mojo). Money matters aside, "47 Ronin" did not go over well with audiences or critics, either: Rotten Tomatoes scores the film at 48% for audiences and a mere 16% for critics with the general consensus reading "47 Ronin is a surprisingly dull fantasy adventure, one that leaves its talented international cast stranded within one dimensional roles."

Thankfully for Reeves, the first "John Wick" film released the following year in 2014, and quickly buried the taint that "47 Ronin" could have left on his career. However, considering Reeves has built up such a successful repertoire of film work, the box office flop of "47 Ronin" is just a small bump in the road.