‘Blade Runner 2049’ Disappoints in Weekend Debut Despite Harrison Ford Reprise

Print Email

“Blade Runner 2049,” the sequel to the 1982 cult classic about a dystopian future in Los Angeles, disappointed in its three-day opening, pulling in $31.5 million, which was below the lower end of expectations of industry watchers.

The new “Blade Runner” film, released by Warner Bros., in association with Alcon Entertainment and Sony, did top the weekend box office ahead of Fox’s “The Mountain Between Us,” which pulled in $10.1 million.

“Blade Runner 2049” was expected to bring in from $45 million to $55 million domestically, according to Box Office Mojo.

The film opened at 4,058 theaters in North America, and because it posted receipts of $4 million from Thursday previews, that suggested that the movie might be off to a good start. However, there was not as much interest in the $150 million production as expected, despite the fact Harrison Ford reprised his role as retired L.A. cop Rick Deckard from the original movie and that the film also stars Ryan Gosling.

Online movie reviewer Rotten Tomatoes said industry watchers expected the new “Blade Runner” to challenge the two biggest all-time October openings that are also sci-fi flicks: “Gravity” with $55.8 million and “The Martian” with $54.3 million. Yet despite star power of Ford and Gosling, the movie apparently only appealed to a narrower fan base of sci-fi watchers that tend to be more male-dominated.

Box Office Mojo said “Blade Runner 2049,” directed by Denis Villeneuve, was rated 89% by Rotten Tomatoes and received a positive A− CinemaScore. However, the audience skewed heavily male, playing to an audience that was 71% male versus 29% female. Sixty-three percent of the total audience was over the age of 35.

Internationally, “Blade Runner 2049” met overseas expectations, debuting with an estimated $50.2 million from 63 markets, and capturing the first spot in 45 of them, including the United Kingdom, where it did $8 million. The film will open in South Korea next week, in Japan on October 27 and in China on November 10.

The original “Blade Runner,” which was not a hit at the time of its release, has become a cult classic, a kind of noir sci-fi film, depicting a bleak Los Angeles circa 2019 that is choked by pollution and overrun by advertising excess and flying cars. The 1982 movie was directed by Ridley Scott and also was released by Warner Bros., and it has 90% freshness rating and gets 91% approval from audiences.